It may be a surprise to you that being a male therapist isn’t much different from being a female therapist, certainly in my view. From my training I noticed there were a few minor differences but once I qualified and working in the industry I realised that the only difference was the perception in the minds of others.
There are indeed advantages and disadvantages being a male therapist. Throughout my training it was clear to me that the industry is pretty much female dominated. I did feel a little bit awkward walking in to the first day of my training to be a complementary therapist. I noticed I was the only male within my class. Some described it a bit like walking into the Lion’s den, but these feelings soon eased when I got used to my new chosen career path. There was the odd snipe from my classmates regarding the changing room facilities and the often female orientated coursework but I realised that taking it in good humour was my method of approach and it that seemed to work for me.
As my course etched nearer to it’s conclusion my mind began to think about working for myself and although feeling a little bit daunted by this prospect, it became a welcome distraction from my impending exams. I remember the day when I received a notification that I had passed my course, it was a moment of joy knowing that it was a step closer to fulfilling my purpose. My path had been clear from the start and, as it was to continue, I would learn that there were more obstacles to overcome.
Starting work in the ‘real’ world, as a male therapist, I began to see where my place was and this settled my early feelings of self-doubt. My own mind had been conditioned by others who scoffed at the prospect of a male joining a female dominated industry. On the other hand I listened to other business owners and friends who would tell me that it was good to see a male therapist addressing the balance and that they wished to see more males in the industry. I was also told that some women prefer a male therapist as the approach is different. This mental challenge became my first obstacle.
I have never been shy to face my fears and, as difficult as it can be, I feel it’s the best way to move forward. Adopting this attitude and with renewed optimism I began working for myself and building my business. Naturally I felt nervous a little but I wasn’t too shy in dealing with both male and female clients, having had plenty of practice throughout my training. This allowed me to be comfortable and competent with my new qualified skills.
Inquisitive of what I do, I have often been asked the question by others “Do females not find it awkward being touched by a male?” Others may see it through the old stigma of sleazy massage parlours but for me none of these thoughts ever enter my brain. “I’m a professional and I have a passion of helping others” is always my response.
I occasionally get a puzzled look when describing my line of work, mostly by males, may I add. I can see their brain ticking over questioning my masculinity. I have experienced plenty of crude remarks within a group of males, I’ve not being taken seriously and experienced mild discrimination. These outdated stereotypes rarely play on my mind, but at one time did make me doubt myself. Being true to myself and continuing on my intended path keeps me focussed and grounded. Constantly questioning my belief holds no value and is a waste of my valuable brain power. If I needed my path tested, my subsequent training in Counselling resulted in me being the only male in that class too, being used to it by now I was more than comfortable being in amongst the company of females.
In conclusion, whilst I have highlighted certain differences on my journey, I realised that when working in my chosen path it’s been a highly rewarding choice of career and has many advantages.
I have come so far and achieved so much in such a short space of time and I’ll continue to shine as a male in a still very much female dominated industry. Maybe this post will act as an inspiration to other males as I would encourage those thinking of embarking on the same path as myself to follow your dreams and don’t be put off by old stigmas or outdated beliefs. Be true to yourself and don’t listen to those who may be too quick to judge you.
Males sometimes have a different perspective or approach
Females often prefer male company
The ability to create your own path
Lack of Acceptance
Harder to achieve credibility