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So I have been hired on to do some minimal intervention work at an outpatient mental health clinic. I was told that I might not get many referrals because I am a male:eek: (this is the first time I was told this). The practice manager said that it is difficult for men in private practice, and compared to women, it can take them 3-5 times as long to get a flow of referrals and develop a reputation.

I did a quick literature search and found one decent article on the topic:
Kerssens, Bensing, & Andela (1997). Patient preference for genders of health professionals. Social Science & Medicine, 44(10), 1531-1540.

The article looked at various professions and essentially found that about 25% of women had a preference for a female therapist (73% had no preference), whereas only 13% of males had a preference for a female therapist (83% had no preference). It looks as though there is a clear preference (especially among women) and maybe my situation would be more difficult still because I work with children (and moms are more likely than dads to refer their child).

Has any of the guys out there thought about how this could hurt their ability to find work in private practice? Any thoughts from males in the field right now?
 

toby jones

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I found something along these lines the other day when I was googling 'empty couch'.

I'm not sure how artificial these findings are. I do know that there are a number of women out there who prefer to work with men (especially if they had a distant father) and women who might well prefer their children to see a male too - if they don't think the childs father is much in the way of a positive presence. But I suppose your being told this suggests that it might be a little more of a problem. I don't know. Surprised, I guess.
 

RayneeDeigh

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I found something along these lines the other day when I was googling 'empty couch'.

I'm not sure how artificial these findings are. I do know that there are a number of women out there who prefer to work with men (especially if they had a distant father) and women who might well prefer their children to see a male too - if they don't think the childs father is much in the way of a positive presence. But I suppose your being told this suggests that it might be a little more of a problem. I don't know. Surprised, I guess.
I would imagine that women with distant fathers would also be just as likely to NOT want male therapists.

I guess it's kind of like gynecology. When dealing with private stuff, women are sometimes more comfortable with other women.

I do think overall though that anyone would pick quality over gender.
 
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toby jones

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I guess I was thinking of women who had overbearing mothers and absent or distant fathers who they longed to be closer to. I'd imagine that would be a major reason behind females actively choosing to work with a male clinician. Or perhaps in an attempt to directly address their issues with men so they could go on to have healthy relationships with men. If men have issues with their identity as male then they might well prefer to see a male clinician too.

There are different ways of reading those stats. The majority had 'no preference'. Even if a person has a preference that doesn't mean that they aren't willing to see whether it would work out or not. With respect to the private practice thing... I dunno... I expect this is more of an issue with the person who told you this than with male clinicians. I know one clinical psychology program that actively tries to recruit males because they are relatively scare and in demand...
 

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as an aside, Logic, I just sat staring at your avatar saying "omg did that just move or was it me!?" til it moved again and I could reassure myself I wasn't hallucinating.
 

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I don't know about private practice, but I'm interning at a community reintegration center, and the one male therapist there is always swamped with patients (patients have input in the decision). The other five female therapists are just as swamped, but I know a lot of clients prefer the male therapist over the females.
 

Psyched77

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I think that some females prefer a female psychologist, because they want to feel like their psychologist understands their experience. This could be said to be true with any historically oppressed group. For example, a black client would likely prefer to see a black therapist. If one isn't available, they're likely to look for another racial minority therapist as a second choice. There was a lengthy paper about this sort of stuff about a year ago in the American Psychologist. Back to females...if you think about the high rates of child sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. that impact females, they are in a unique position juxtaposed to the male; plus, these realities often make them long for males to love them in their personal lives, but in a therapeutic setting, it makes sense that they'd prefer the "safety" of a female when talking about some pretty traumatic issues. (Traumatized females are quite obviously overrepresented in the therapeutic population.) Additionally, they are often dealing with completely different societal pressures (think: body image, etc.). I see it as pretty much intuitive. This is not to say that a male can not be equipped to deal with these issues; it's also not to say that there aren't male feminists that are intimately aware of the "female experience." (Hopefully, that goes without saying.) Plus, if you think about the rates of personal trauma experienced by women vs. men (non-military populations), it makes sense that the sheer number of females seeking care would influence the industry. (I note this because of the other thread that mentions the "feminization" of psychology.)

Now...I really don't want to start an argument or anything, but I can't bring myself to post this without including this: based on some of the things I've heard come out of the mouths of my male peers, & based on a few of the things I've read on these boards, I would prefer to see a female psychologist if I was seeking care. I know there are educated, gender sensitive, effective male psychologists out there, but I wouldn't want to risk "signing up" with someone who says (& thinks) the kind of crap that I view as part of the larger societal problem that hurts women. The article (that I mentioned above) addresses the need for mental health professionals to become more aware of & sensitive to the microagressions that subtlely occur within the therapeutic setting. (You'd have to read it to understand the full scope.) It's also true in the context of gender issues.

I think that if a lack of (or slow progress in acquiring) clients is an issue for a male psychologist, & he sees it as being impacted by the gender issues or preferences mentioned in this thread, he would do himself both a professional & personal favor to seek out training/knowledge/research specifically related to men effectively counseling women. Such efforts would surely translate themselves to the therapeutic setting, & he would build a reputation among female clients as a man who "actually" understands. (That'd be good practice anyway, since women are even more likely to use word of mouth advertising within their social & familial groups.)

Edit to add: I mentioned "non-military" groups above, but I should even give a disclaimer about that disclaimer. Here's a brief part of a paper I recently wrote: "In a 1990s study of sex workers in five nations, Dr. Melissa Farley and her colleagues found that two-thirds of the sex workers suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—twice the percentage of Vietnam vets suffering from the disorder. Interestingly, studies have found that strippers and electronic pornography workers have similar personal histories to prostitutes. Somewhere between 65 and 90% of all sex workers have a history of incest or childhood sexual abuse."
 
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Logic Prevails

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I think that if a lack of (or slow progress in acquiring) clients is an issue for a male psychologist, & he sees it as being impacted by the gender issues or preferences mentioned in this thread, he would do himself both a professional & personal favor to seek out training/knowledge/research specifically related to men effectively counseling women. Such efforts would surely translate themselves to the therapeutic setting, & he would build a reputation among female clients as a man who "actually" understands. (That'd be good practice anyway, since women are even more likely to use word of mouth advertising within their social & familial groups.)
I agree with much of what you are saying, but if a woman is wanting a therapist who is nurturing, empathic, socially intuitive, etc. (qualities that one could argue come more naturally to women), shouldn't our training and the nature of our profession be reassuring enough? I've done research in child & family development, divorce & separation, attachment, and my CV alone should cast me as a "touchy-feely" kinda guy (in a good way folks). I know that I will develop a reputation (as you say), as a man who "actually" understands... but that's just the problem... until I develop that reputation, I would not be getting any referrals. Apparently, 2 of the last 5 referrals to our clinic would rather sit on a month-long wait list than have their child be seen by a 'male' therapist.

I cannot apologize for being a male anymore than I can for being white. What's a fella supposed to do?:confused:
 

psy86

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...based on a few of the things I've read on these boards, I would prefer to see a female psychologist if I was seeking care. I know there are educated, gender sensitive, effective male psychologists out there, but I wouldn't want to risk "signing up" with someone who says (& thinks) the kind of crap that I view as part of the larger societal problem that hurts women. The article (that I mentioned above) addresses the need for mental health professionals to become more aware of & sensitive to the microagressions that subtlely occur within the therapeutic setting. (You'd have to read it to understand the full scope.) It's also true in the context of gender issues.
Agreed.
 

Psyched77

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I agree with much of what you are saying, but if a woman is wanting a therapist who is nurturing, empathic, socially intuitive, etc. (qualities that one could argue come more naturally to women), shouldn't our training and the nature of our profession be reassuring enough? I've done research in child & family development, divorce & separation, attachment, and my CV alone should cast me as a "touchy-feely" kinda guy (in a good way folks). I know that I will develop a reputation (as you say), as a man who "actually" understands... but that's just the problem... until I develop that reputation, I would not be getting any referrals. Apparently, 2 of the last 5 referrals to our clinic would rather sit on a month-long wait list than have their child be seen by a 'male' therapist.

I cannot apologize for being a male anymore than I can for being white. What's a fella supposed to do?:confused:
1. No one is asking you to apologize for either. I'm simply trying to provide some logic-based insight into the situation.
2. I did give more than one disclaimer about it not being all men.
3. What are you supposed to do? (Other than what I suggested...) CHANGE OUR SOCIETY!! :laugh: ;)
4. I understand your point about your training & how it should cast you in a different light, but I mentioned some of the things I've heard out of peers. I noted that to show that the training alone doesn't unilaterally remove someone from the roles in which they were raised. Additionally, you have to remember that the lay person doesn't necessarily understand our training or even psychology. A lot of people still think that psychology = Freud, & he has a pretty (to put it lightly) chauvinistic reputation. (And he's not the only famous psychologist with that reputation.) Potential clients don't just "know" or "assume" that you've got gender understanding in the bag.
5. As far as a mother choosing a therapist for her child...well, there could be a few things going on there. (a) Most (not all) child molesters are males. That makes mothers more leery of males in general...especially when it comes to who they can trust with their child. (b) Most children being referred for abuse histories were abused by males. This often makes the lay person assume that their child would be scared of or uncomfortable with a male therapist. I'm not saying these things are fair. I'm just suggesting that they are realities that play in to the dilemma you mentioned.
 

Psyched77

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BTW, I think that being able to understand a female's hesitation to see a male therapist is the first step in a progression of understanding. How can you intelligently reassure a potential female client of your abilities to effectively help her, if you can't even understand why she might be hesitant to see a male therapist in the first place? If you come across as defensive & annoyed in explaining to her why you'd be just as effective for her as a female therapist, it's immediately going to send her a message that she better go find a female therapist. And if you can't understand why she'd be hesitant to see you, then how could you possibly understand the more intensive nuances of the female experience?

(I don't mean any YOU in particular when I say "you" throughout this paragraph. It's just quicker to write & easier to read than inserting "male therapist" in place of every "you.")
 

Ollie123

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I actually find it a little surprising, but I wouldn't panic about not being able to find clients. Frankly, I've never heard of males having a problem, so maybe this is a unique situation with that clinic/population/etc.?

Even if a sizable portion of the population DOES prefer female clinicians, remember that we are in a profession where the number of females FAR exceeds the number of males (a trend that is still on the increase if I remember correctly). My point is just that there's far more to consider than the % who prefer a female clinician (and honestly, 25% doesn't sound like a lot to me anyways). A smaller percentage preferring a male clinician could potentially result in you having more clientele than female therapists if the 2% who prefer a male HAVE to come to you, whereas the 10% who prefer a female have many more options.

Though obviously, that depends on the actual numbers, the location, the number of clients, etc. Honestly, it sounds like it might be a bit tougher getting started there, but it sounds like a hurdle that can be overcome. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it. If it wasn't this, it would be something else - obviously male therapists are still managing so I'm sure it will work out.
 

psy86

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Now...I really don't want to start an argument or anything, but I can't bring myself to post this without including this: based on some of the things I've heard come out of the mouths of my male peers, & based on a few of the things I've read on these boards, I would prefer to see a female psychologist...
And to elaborate on my agreement (disclaimer: I am speaking only for myself; obviously I have no idea what specifically Psyched77 has read on these boards that is causing wariness)--

This seems as good a place as any to state that I'm really quite hurt and offended by the repeated decrying of the 'feminization' of psychology. I understand all of the arguments about the economic consequences and am really not looking to rehash that. But on a personal level, I'm very bothered that this is apparently how many of my male peers may view my presence in the field.
 
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Psyched77

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And to elaborate on my agreement (disclaimer: I am speaking only for myself; obviously I have no idea what specifically Psyched77 has read on these boards that is causing wariness)--

This seems as good a place as any to state that I'm really quite hurt and offended by the repeated decrying of the 'feminization' of psychology. I understand all of the arguments about the economic consequences and am really not looking to rehash that. But on a personal level, I'm very bothered that this is apparently how many of my male peers may view my presence in the field.
Agreed. I shared that conversation with some of my peers at a psych banquet last night.

What I have also seen on these boards are uses of words like "chicks." I've read sweeping generalizations about females. I've repeatedly heard/read males referring to grown women as "girls." And those are just some basics.
 

blindchaos

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Where I work (community mental health, NOT private prac.), the males are just as busy as the females, if not a little busier in regards to caseload. There are more female practitioners so if a client requests a male counselor, they're assigned to one of just a few options but if they request a female counselor, there are a lot more options.

The biggest 'preference' seems to be in regards to age - either real or perceived. I'm the youngest one (and I tend to look younger than my age) and some prefer that (typically adolescents and sometimes younger kiddos) whereas others insist on someone with more "life experience" (especially if they have children and/or grandchildren that are my age or older :p).

Anyway...that was slightly off topic, just wanted to toss in my two cents about preferences in general.
 

positivepsych

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I don't know, I hear it's a plus if you're a male in practice because it's becoming rarer these days.

The "feminization" of psychology is an issue, but it's not simply because there's too many women. The phenomenon is really the gender-imbalance of psychology. It's very strange for a traditionally male-dominated field to become overwhelmingly female. The other half of the debate that is being ignored is why males no longer want to enter the field?

The public perception of the therapist as playing a "supportive" role akin to a friend, instead of a clinician/scientist, I suspect has something to do with it. I'm sure the loss of income and the loss of prestige thanks to master's level clinicians also has played a strong role. Males interested in mental health tend to become psychiatrists these days, and it's unfortunate.

Psychology is becoming the equivalent of nursing these days, without the demand (and the pay is pretty equivalent nowadays, despite the doctoral degree).
 

PinkSoil

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Personally, you couldn't pay me to see a female therapist (I am female). I know quite a few women who have the same feelings as I do. I have been happily connecting with my male therapist for two and a half years now. I don't think you will have any problems.
 
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Logic Prevails

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The public perception of the therapist as playing a "supportive" role akin to a friend, instead of a clinician/scientist, I suspect has something to do with it. I'm sure the loss of income and the loss of prestige thanks to master's level clinicians also has played a strong role. Males interested in mental health tend to become psychiatrists these days, and it's unfortunate.
I agree, but I think it may have less to do with master's level clinicians than societies devaluation of working women and the professions they choose. If you look at a yearly graph citing psychologist income and gender, you would see that the pay was much better when it was dominated by men. Nearly all professions that have a large female representation have low pay.
 

toby jones

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Hmm... So women are responsible for the devaluation of psychology and psychology is becoming 'just like nursing' (which is implied to be a very bad thing). The public perceives women to be warm and fuzzy and nurturing whereas males do, what??? The hard line evidence based CBT approach? A little logical wrestle? Is this representative of male psychologists do you think? Because if so then I'm not surprised that people don't go to them more often!!!!!
 

toby jones

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Sorry but... I really do think that this thread might well be an expression of peoples own issues more than anything else. Our preferences... Our fears...

People have given the facts (stats) on how there shouldn't be too much of a problem. So... Methinks something else is going on...

Do you feel devalued as a guy? I would have been a little upset with what that person said to me as well. Would have felt like she was trying to undermine me professionally...
 

Ollie123

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I agree, but I think it may have less to do with master's level clinicians than societies devaluation of working women and the professions they choose. If you look at a yearly graph citing psychologist income and gender, you would see that the pay was much better when it was dominated by men. Nearly all professions that have a large female representation have low pay.
This is a really interesting point. Its sort of a "chicken or the egg" situation to some degree (with regards to society devaluing the profession). As is often the case, I expect the truth lies somewhere in the middle, though the middle is quite a vast region in this case;)

Regardless, I still don't consider this a major concern (and wouldn't be even if I did want to do clinical work).
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I think there are two main issues here:

1. The gender shift of clinicians.
2. Our patient's preferences, needs, and what they look for (as they often can be 3 contrasting ideas).

I happen to work with and plan on working with a population where I am very much in the minority (male working with female ED patients), but I've found that I bring unique things to the table, and I've been told that there is always a need in the area.
 

Chuckwalla

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I happen to work with and plan on working with a population where I am very much in the minority (male working with female ED patients), but I've found that I bring unique things to the table, and I've been told that there is always a need in the area.
This is exactly the problem. You bring unique things to the table because you are male and the same goes for females. However, if you say anything positive about males you are sexist. Meanwhile, touting females and bashing males is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.

When people only hear what is great about females and bad about males, of course they will prefer females. The solution is accepting that both genders have positive traits.

From what I have seen psychology has become feminized. Though I am not a psychology student I have worked with a few psychologists on campus. The overwhelming focus is on women and their problems, particularly eating disorders. They should definitely be an issue, don't get me wrong. However, the complete lack of focus on men is bothersome.

The issue that most comes to mind is suicide. Most people have no idea how lopsided the gender ratio is, 80% of suicides are male. Whenever you bring that up you get the response, "Women attempt it more". As if attempted suicides are a more significant problem than completed ones. How anyone can make that argument is completely beyond my comprehension.
 
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Psyched77

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However, if you say anything positive about males you are sexist. Meanwhile, touting females and bashing males is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.
Wow. I don't know who you've been hanging around, but your description is completely absent in my world (& sounds very similar to the "reverse racism" argument). As a feminist, I don't personally see how anyone can really be a feminist without understanding the ways in which ALL gender roles, gender stereotypes, & gendered norms are damaging. I don't accept sexism against women OR men. Your blanket statement is not only a common myth about feminists, but it isn't helpful in encouraging extremists on either side to meet in the middle.
 

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Wow. I don't know who you've been hanging around, but your description is completely absent in my world (& sounds very similar to the "reverse racism" argument). As a feminist, I don't personally see how anyone can really be a feminist without understanding the ways in which ALL gender roles, gender stereotypes, & gendered norms are damaging. I don't accept sexism against women OR men. Your blanket statement is not only a common myth about feminists, but it isn't helpful in encouraging extremists on either side to meet in the middle.
I concur, and this is my experience as well. I say nice things about men all the time ;)

What's up with the "feminized psych" kick that the board has been on lately?
 

Chuckwalla

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Wow. I don't know who you've been hanging around, but your description is completely absent in my world (& sounds very similar to the "reverse racism" argument). As a feminist, I don't personally see how anyone can really be a feminist without understanding the ways in which ALL gender roles, gender stereotypes, & gendered norms are damaging. I don't accept sexism against women OR men. Your blanket statement is not only a common myth about feminists, but it isn't helpful in encouraging extremists on either side to meet in the middle.
I did not talk about feminists anywhere in my post.
 

erg923

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"From what I have seen psychology has become feminized. Though I am not a psychology student I have worked with a few psychologists on campus. The overwhelming focus is on women and their problems, particularly eating disorders. They should definitely be an issue, don't get me wrong. However, the complete lack of focus on men is bothersome."

Your personal experiences are not empirical studies. Drawing a conclusion that the "overwhelming focus of research is on women and their problems" and that their is a "lack of focus on male issues" is not warranted based on ones personal observation. Your N=1. The literature examining publication topics of psychologists would contradict your conclusion. Research in clinical and experimental psychology runs the gamut of psychological and psychiatric issues in both sexes.

"Women attempt it more". As if attempted suicides are a more significant problem than completed ones. How anyone can make that argument is completely beyond my comprehension."

As for this, no one is saying one is more important than the other, however, when one gender group is at a higher risk of the behavior than the other, mental health professionals tend to put a lopsided amount of effort into the group with the greatest risk of suicidal behavior. When one group has a statistically higher base rate of a behavior that can lead to death, that is cause for plenty of study IMHO. Bruce Bongar, Ph.D is well known for his study of the phenomena of suicide in both sexes, and has elucidated interesting data and discrepancies between the 2 sexes. Especially the phenomena of, and psychopathology associated with chronic para-suicidal behavior in females (and males) that is historically an understudied area.
 

Psyched77

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Drawing a conclusion that the "overwhelming focus of research is on women and their problems" and that their is a "lack of focus on male issues" is not warranted based on ones personal observation.
Right. Not to mention the fact that up until fairly recently in history, psychological research almost exclusively focused on men, as did philosophy, sociology, medicine, political science, etc. Females cut themselves a slice of the proverbial pie, & people get all foamy & rabid.
 

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Right. Not to mention the fact that up until fairly recently in history, psychological research almost exclusively focused on men, as did philosophy, sociology, medicine, political science, etc. Females cut themselves a slice of the proverbial pie, & people get all foamy & rabid.
The males of today do not deserve to pay for the sins of the males of yesterday, both real and perceived.
 

Chuckwalla

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erg923 said:
Your personal experiences are not empirical studies. Drawing a conclusion that the "overwhelming focus of research is on women and their problems" and that their is a "lack of focus on male issues" is not warranted based on ones personal observation. Your N=1. The literature examining publication topics of psychologists would contradict your conclusion. Research in clinical and experimental psychology runs the gamut of psychological and psychiatric issues in both sexes.
Empirical studies are not needed. Me trying to prove to you that there is exponentially more focus on women's health is like me trying to convince you that the sky is blue. All you need to do is open your eyes to it. Eating disorder awareness versus depression/suicide awareness, as I said is a prime example. If you have honestly seen more depression/suicide awareness I would like to know.

erg923 said:
As for this, no one is saying one is more important than the other, however, when one gender group is at a higher risk of the behavior than the other, mental health professionals tend to put a lopsided amount of effort into the group with the greatest risk of suicidal behavior. When one group has a statistically higher base rate of a behavior that can lead to death, that is cause for plenty of study IMHO. Bruce Bongar, Ph.D is well known for his study of the phenomena of suicide in both sexes, and has elucidated interesting data and discrepancies between the 2 sexes. Especially the phenomena of, and psychopathology associated with chronic para-suicidal behavior in females (and males) that is historically an understudied area.
Completed suicides are more significant than attempted suicides by light years. If I need to explain why then there is no convincing you of anything.
 

erg923

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Perhaps you could better articulate why "empirical studies are not needed" here? If they are not needed to answer quantifiable questions (i.e., the quantity and proportion of topics researched in modern psychology), then when might empirical studies be of use? The purpose of science is not to fall subject to every human's inherent tendency toward logical fallacies that create false impressions. In your case the availability heuristic/fallacy seems at play, no? Posibly sampling bias as well, since you report only working with psychologists in one environment and at one campus. Remember, your observation equates to a single study case design where the N=1. Case studies do not have external validity. I have an 2006 article from a peer reviewed journal citing research grants and surveying topics of study of clinical and experimental psych faculty at over 300 US universities and academic medical centers. Their data does not support your conclusion. Would you like a copy of it? Further, both a pubmed and psychinfo literature search using keys words "depression and women" versus "depression and men" for the past ten years yield hits slightly in favor of men. I also have statistics from the NIMH of the amount of grant money dedicated to depression research versus eating disorders. Would you like a copy? Statistics and hard data form the foundation of science....opening your eyes, looking around, and forming subjective impressions is the opposite of science. Subjective impressions are the highest forms of evidence in philosophy....in science however, they are the lowest forms of evidence. The easiest way to convince me that psychology is disproportionately focused on womens health issues would be to cite data supporting your conclusion. If your conclusion is so obvious and correct, then I'm sure a researcher somewhere has documented data on this, right? You would make a argument you cant back up would you?

On the second question, you are again thinking concretely and missing the point. Of course completed suicides are more serious? DUH! That was not the issue of contention. And there is plenty of research produced by psychologists and psychological studies examining etiology of the factors that contribute to completed versus failed suicide. The issue of contention between the 2 of us is how to properly research this phenomena. When you say you think there should be more research on competed suicide vs attempted suicide, what exactly do you mean by this? That is, what is research design of such a study, and what questions are you trying to answer and how would you answer them? Are you just using a bunch of case examples of individual who have completed suicide? That would yield low statistical power for your conclusions. Coming from a research scientist point of view, to fully understand the mechanisms behind completed suicide, you must also understand data that leads to uncompleted suicide. These phenomena do not occur in vacuums isolated from one another. To identify factors that contribute to competing suicide, you would have to have a control group. I think the best matched control group would be those who engaged in suicidal behavior, but did not complete. Point is, from a research design standpoint, it hard to study one group in isolation, because you do not have a control group for comparison. Studying both is necessary to derive meaning and identify risk factors for completion. Elucidating the preventive factors for suicide requires studies of both groups of patients. Perhaps you could articulate a methodologically sound study using one homogeneous group of suicide completers, or just postmortem case studies? What hypotheses would you be able to generate and answer with this data? How would it contribute to our existing literature and knowledge base on the subject? I look forward to your answers. And again, both a pubmed and psychinfo literature search for the past ten years using keys words "suicide and women" versus "suicide and men" yield hits slightly in favor of men.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Eating disorder awareness versus depression/suicide awareness, as I said is a prime example.
So women only have EDs? There is actually a rise in MALE Dx of EDs as of late.

As for suicide awareness.....I don't know about the general public, but on college campuses it is talked about frequently.
 
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So I have been hired on to do some minimal intervention work at an outpatient mental health clinic. I was told that I might not get many referrals because I am a male:eek: (this is the first time I was told this). The practice manager said that it is difficult for men in private practice, and compared to women, it can take them 3-5 times as long to get a flow of referrals and develop a reputation.

I did a quick literature search and found one decent article on the topic:
Kerssens, Bensing, & Andela (1997). Patient preference for genders of health professionals. Social Science & Medicine, 44(10), 1531-1540.

The article looked at various professions and essentially found that about 25% of women had a preference for a female therapist (73% had no preference), whereas only 13% of males had a preference for a female therapist (83% had no preference). It looks as though there is a clear preference (especially among women) and maybe my situation would be more difficult still because I work with children (and moms are more likely than dads to refer their child).

Has any of the guys out there thought about how this could hurt their ability to find work in private practice? Any thoughts from males in the field right now?
Gender equality issues aside, there are so many people who need services that I find it unlikely that you will not be able to build a practice. Although I did encounter people who preferred female psychologists (here in my area the term "therapist" is not legally restricted to doctorate-holders or even psychologically-trained), I had no problem filling the billable hourse.

I don't know where the 3-5 times longer datum comes from. Don't eliminate the possibility that his warning is his own experience and applicable to no one other than himself. Drive on.
 
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Cosmo75

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Perhaps you could better articulate why "empirical studies are not needed" here? If they are not needed to answer quantifiable questions (i.e., the quantity and proportion of topics researched in modern psychology), then when might empirical studies be of use? The purpose of science is not to fall subject to every human's inherent tendency toward logical fallacies that create false impressions. In your case the availability heuristic/fallacy seems at play, no? Posibly sampling bias as well, since you report only working with psychologists in one environment and at one campus. Remember, your observation equates to a single study case design where the N=1. Case studies do not have external validity. I have an 2006 article from a peer reviewed journal citing research grants and surveying topics of study of clinical and experimental psych faculty at over 300 US universities and academic medical centers. Their data does not support your conclusion. Would you like a copy of it? Further, both a pubmed and psychinfo literature search using keys words "depression and women" versus "depression and men" for the past ten years yield hits slightly in favor of men. I also have statistics from the NIMH of the amount of grant money dedicated to depression research versus eating disorders. Would you like a copy? Statistics and hard data form the foundation of science....opening your eyes, looking around, and forming subjective impressions is the opposite of science. Subjective impressions are the highest forms of evidence in philosophy....in science however, they are the lowest forms of evidence. The easiest way to convince me that psychology is disproportionately focused on womens health issues would be to cite data supporting your conclusion. If your conclusion is so obvious and correct, then I'm sure a researcher somewhere has documented data on this, right? You would make a argument you cant back up would you?
Completely agree here.
 

Chuckwalla

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So women only have EDs? There is actually a rise in MALE Dx of EDs as of late.

As for suicide awareness.....I don't know about the general public, but on college campuses it is talked about frequently.
I never said that. However, it is an overwhelmingly female problem.

Now on to Erg. My comparison was about ED awareness and research versus suicide awareness and research. I simply said the idea that women attempt it more, was a way to squelch dialogue about the male suicide problem. So you completely missed my point.
 

erg923

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So, are you are suggesting there is currently more research literature on ED than Suicide in men? Pubmed lit search results also contradict this. Who is "squelching" research and awareness of male suicide? Do you have evidence or research to back this up? Do you have evidence of a disproportinate number of publications of male versus female suicide? Again, please provide your rationale for why subjective judgment is superior to empirical evidence in this matter.
 

Ollie123

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I'm also not sure where this is coming from. Many campuses have a suicide awareness day, and there are an incredible number of resources devoted to dealing with suicide.

Sure, plenty of people respond with "But women attempt it more" if you say males complete it more. Similarly, many people respond with "But males complete it more" if you say women attempt it more. Regardless, I'm not sure why this is a problem. There are definitely societal issues that marginalize mental health care for men (societal views that men are weak or less of a man if they seek help), but I'm not seeing any substantial evidence that psychologists or mental health workers are contributing to the problem. I'm all ears if you have evidence to the contrary though.
 

Chuckwalla

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So, are you are suggesting there is currently more research literature on ED than Suicide in men? Pubmed lit search results also contradict this. Who is "squelching" research and awareness of male suicide? Do you have evidence or research to back this up? Do you have evidence of a disproportinate number of publications of male versus female suicide? Again, please provide your rationale for why subjective judgment is superior to empirical evidence in this matter.
Pubmed search results do not constitute empirical evidence. A hit on pubmed says absolutely nothing about the effect a study had.
 

Chuckwalla

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I'm also not sure where this is coming from. Many campuses have a suicide awareness day, and there are an incredible number of resources devoted to dealing with suicide.

Sure, plenty of people respond with "But women attempt it more" if you say males complete it more. Similarly, many people respond with "But males complete it more" if you say women attempt it more. Regardless, I'm not sure why this is a problem. There are definitely societal issues that marginalize mental health care for men (societal views that men are weak or less of a man if they seek help), but I'm not seeing any substantial evidence that psychologists or mental health workers are contributing to the problem. I'm all ears if you have evidence to the contrary though.
First off, there is NO comparison between attempted suicides and completions. Giving them equal footing is completely off base.

How are mental health workers responsible?

Here is a great example from the WHO.

http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/genderwomen/en/index.html

This article focuses on gender differences and all it does is talk about women. NOT ONCE does it mention the majority of suicides are male. It also says that the majority of mental health disorders in the elderly are women. However it does not say however that the overwhelming majority of the elderly population of women. Most of the men are dead due to much shorter life expectancy (about 6 years on average).

This is from the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, funded by the US government.

http://nostigma.org/adults_facts.php

Again, though it talks about suicide it does not mention it is overwhelmingly a male problem. However, they are sure to point out that eating disorders are mostly a problem for females.

This is common place in mental health awareness.
 

erg923

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"First off, there is NO comparison between attempted suicides and completions. Giving them equal footing is completely off base."

I'm a little confused about who said one was more important than the other. Please tell me who said this? I explicitly stated that the issue of contention here is that you seem to have the mistaken notion that you can study the and glean meaningful data on completion in isolation or without knowledge of factors involved in incompletion? You seem to view studies that discuss incompletions as somehow unrelated to informing our knowledge base about completion. Why do you have this misperception. Is this a lack of understanding of research design and methodology on your part? How can you research one without the other? Again, please articulate a methodologically sound study using one group in isolation, and tell me the questions and factors you would like to examine. Additionally, As I stated, publications as demonstrated by lit searches on pubmed and psychinfo are slightly tilted towards men, not women. Exactly what question about male suicide do you think is neglected because of this perception that the research favors men?

Second, you are getting better with the evidence thing, but far as I can tell, you have cited 2 (non-peer reviewed) writings that simply fail to mention some important aspects of suicidology. This is unfortunate. Yet, you conclude that this "is common place in mental health awareness. What is this particular conclusion based upon? You cited to articles that are examples of what what you are talking about, you did not cite anything showing demonstrable differences in publications, grant funding, or public awareness of suicide in men vs women, or Depression vs ED.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Okay....someone bust out some searches on "The Journal of Suicidology"....which has since changed to "Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior", but much like The College of New Jersey.....to some, it will always be Trenton State. :D
 

amavi

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In my own practice, I have found a very significant demand by many parents for a male therapist.
The parents present that in schools, the vast majority of the teachers, counselors, nurses, speech therapists and other support staff are female. They therefore strongly seek male exposure.

One person anecdotal experience.
 

Chuckwalla

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Even though the things I posted are not peer-reviewed, they are good representations of what the general public sees. This is the information that everyday people read and when important information is left out the data might as well not exist. That is my biggest problem, the information is not flowing to the people who need it most. If the general populace is not aware of the problem it will not be addressed.
 

Cosmo75

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Even though the things I posted are not peer-reviewed, they are good representations of what the general public sees. This is the information that everyday people read and when important information is left out the data might as well not exist. That is my biggest problem, the information is not flowing to the people who need it most. If the general populace is not aware of the problem it will not be addressed.
That's a whole other massive issue that extends well beyond the field of psychology. Junk science is everywhere.

While what you've cited may be what the general public is aware of (and I agree, that is an issue that needs to be addressed), fixing that issue won't happen if the so-called experts (us) perpetuate misinformation.
 

Psyched77

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The males of today do not deserve to pay for the sins of the males of yesterday, both real and perceived.
That was not at all what I was saying. I find it interesting that you keep talking about how extreme people are being (in favor of women), yet it seems to me that you're so far in the other direction, that you're having a hard time being rational. Let me try again; I was saying that so many sciences have historically (RECENT history, actually) been not only male dominated, but focused almost exclusively on the male perspective. Females as clinicians and/or as the study group were relatively invisible. Even when topics of females were addressed, they were addressed from the context of how males perceived females.

I did not suggest that society should rectify this by flipping the imbalance in the other direction. I was suggesting that the research focuses are not as imbalanced as you seem to think -- that perhaps some people perceive the research as female oriented, as they feel threatened by females (& their male supporters) attempting to create a balance. As they arrive closer to this balance, people who never saw a problem with the historical imbalance might feel threatened & be stuck reminiscing about "the good old days." (It's like when whites get angry about the 2 black families who have moved into their neighborhood & comment that "Those people are taking over everything these days!" In reality, the neighborhood is still 87% white, but the whites' perception of the changing balance overemphasizes the rate at which formerly oppressed groups are gaining equality.)

In short, I'm not suggesting that you pay for your father's "sins," as you called them. I'm suggesting that you seem to have an unrealistic perspective of what is really happening.
 

Chuckwalla

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That's a whole other massive issue that extends well beyond the field of psychology. Junk science is everywhere.

While what you've cited may be what the general public is aware of (and I agree, that is an issue that needs to be addressed), fixing that issue won't happen if the so-called experts (us) perpetuate misinformation.
Of course junk science is everywhere. The problem is it is not coming from Johnny's Psych Blog on MySpace. The lack of information is coming from people who are supposed to be authorities on the matter.
 

Chuckwalla

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That was not at all what I was saying. I find it interesting that you keep talking about how extreme people are being (in favor of women), yet it seems to me that you're so far in the other direction, that you're having a hard time being rational. Let me try again; I was saying that so many sciences have historically (RECENT history, actually) been not only male dominated, but focused almost exclusively on the male perspective. Females as clinicians and/or as the study group were relatively invisible. Even when topics of females were addressed, they were addressed from the context of how males perceived females.

I did not suggest that society should rectify this by flipping the imbalance in the other direction. I was suggesting that the research focuses are not as imbalanced as you seem to think -- that perhaps some people perceive the research as female oriented, as they feel threatened by females (& their male supporters) attempting to create a balance. As they arrive closer to this balance, people who never saw a problem with the historical imbalance might feel threatened & be stuck reminiscing about "the good old days." (It's like when whites get angry about the 2 black families who have moved into their neighborhood & comment that "Those people are taking over everything these days!" In reality, the neighborhood is still 87% white, but the whites' perception of the changing balance overemphasizes the rate at which formerly oppressed groups are gaining equality.)

In short, I'm not suggesting that you pay for your father's "sins," as you called them. I'm suggesting that you seem to have an unrealistic perspective of what is really happening.
First off, race is a completely different issue. Do not compare the two.

The balance was achieved. The problem is the pendulum did not stop and continues to move in favor of women. I am not saying women's issues and perspectives are not valuable. It has nothing to do with feeling "threatened". I am going to guess you say men are intimidated by "strong" women.

I am saying that there is a complete lack of focus on men's issues, in this case mental health. The equality you talk about is not even close today. Most psychologists and mental health professionals are women and the number is growing. As hard as you say women have they make up over 70% of psychology students. This is obviously going to increase the already substantial focus on women.

For someone who believes so strongly in equality, you should have a problem with this.
 

erg923

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"I am saying that there is a complete lack of focus on men's issues, in this case mental health."
Please provide EVIDENCE! You can not keep making conclusions based on your personal perception without documenting studies/evidence. I have already articulated the inherent fallacies that occur when judgments are based reasoning, rather than evidence(availability heuristic/fallacy, illusionary correlation, sampling bias, etc.). Shall I repeat them?

Please tell me the percentage of women psychologists you think are doing research on "womens issues." I think the ral number will actually shock you! If 70 percent of the field is women (which is correct actually), but only 10 percent of those women are researching exclusively on "women issues" then I don't think we have to worry about lopsided foci, because it would mean 90% of the research by women is not focused on an exclusively "womens issues"...right? You seem to be big on your perception, and not the actual hard data and numbers
 

Therapist4Chnge

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In my own practice, I have found a very significant demand by many parents for a male therapist.
The parents present that in schools, the vast majority of the teachers, counselors, nurses, speech therapists and other support staff are female. They therefore strongly seek male exposure.

One person anecdotal experience.
I worked within a school system for a year, and I was the first male therapist any of my kids had. I was also able to model positive male behavior, as many of my clients came from tough family lives where male roles were often not healthy.

There is definitely a need, though that isn't to say there aren't many highly qualified women available, there is just less diversity.
 

Psyched77

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First off, race is a completely different issue. Do not compare the two.
...in your opinion. Last time I checked, you weren't the dictator of what parallels could or couldn't be drawn or of the analogies that could or couldn't be made.

The balance was achieved.
According to...........??? If the fact that 70% of psych students are female, but only 37% of tenured track faculty are is representative of your brand of balance, then there is no point in continuing the conversation. (Plenty of other examples, like pay, could be listed, but in the interest of time...)

The problem is the pendulum did not stop and continues to move in favor of women.
According to...........???

I am going to guess you say men are intimidated by "strong" women.
Wow. Brilliant. No stereotypes there. No anecdotal data there. Yes, my cage fighter husband is SOOOOOOOOOO intimidated by me, because I'm a strong woman. You're right. That's the VERY next thing I was going to say. Thanks so very much for saving me the energy. :rolleyes:

I am saying that there is a complete lack of focus on men's issues, in this case mental health. The equality you talk about is not even close today. Most psychologists and mental health professionals are women and the number is growing. As hard as you say women have they make up over 70% of psychology students. This is obviously going to increase the already substantial focus on women.
Do you not realize that you're talking about two completely different things here? The demographics of psychologists vs. the populations that are being studied by said psychologists. You can't coherently make your case unless you can follow some logical organizational patterns in your arguments. On your claim about who is being studied, I completely disagree. On your claim about the demographics of psychologists, the 70% is correct, but doesn't even come close to telling the whole story. (Plus, look at the demographics of CEOs, stock brokers, & biologists. Should I be pissed? And are you as pissed about the demographics of teachers, nurses, & the part-time workforce as you are psychologists? Why do you care so much about psych when you're not even in psych?)

For someone who believes so strongly in equality, you should have a problem with this.
I was already very clear about my strong convictions regarding equality for both sexes & the damaging properties of gender roles. As a woman with a husband & son, I am personally vested in the psychological well-being of men, as much as I am for women.
 
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