Women And Men Want Different Results From Psychotherapy: Talk Vs. Quick Fix

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Women And Men Want Different Results From Psychotherapy: Talk Vs. Quick Fix

According to a pair of new studies, men and women are seeking different results from psychotherapy. That is, women want to discuss their feelings, but men mostly just hope for a quick fix to the problem.

This outcome is probably no surprise to many, based on our general understanding of how male and female emotional expressions differ. However, this study reveals compelling evidence that clearly demonstrates these differences may be even more static that we thought.

Could it be that more men would seek psychotherapy if it were designed to appeal to their preferences, as well?

About The Studies

In the first study, which was led by Dr. Katie Holloway of the University of Portsmouth, researchers interviewed 20 therapists (including psychologists and psychotherapists) and asked them if they had noticed gender differences in any facets of their professional work.

As it turned out, every therapist identified gender variations in at least one aspect of therapy, and the underlying commonality was that women wanted to talk, while men just wanted things fixed.

Dr. John Barry, researcher from the University College London:

“One of the interesting findings was that 80 percent of the therapists showed a reluctance to talk directly about gender differences in the needs of their clients. This could be due to the culture in academia, where discussions of gender similarities are more acceptable than discussions of gender differences.”

Barry also added that “might be more effective in treating men if gender differences were taken into account more.”

In another study, researchers at Northumbria University surveyed nearly 350 participants in the general public, asking them what sort of therapy they would like to engage in if they required help.

About 50% of the participants reported having received some manner of therapy previously, and showed many similarities in preference. However, there were also notable differences.

For one, men were more likely to show preference for a therapy that included the sharing of advice in an informal group. Conversely, women were more likely to prefer psychotherapy, in which discussion is mostly based on emotions, feelings, and past events/trauma.


“Despite the fact that men commit suicide at three to four times the rate that women do, men don’t seek psychological help as much. This might be because the types of treatment on offer are less appealing to men because — many psychological interventions are more about talking than about fixing problems.”

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

References: The British Psychological Society

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