ERIC Number: ED170667
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug-26
Male Therapists and the "Empty Couch" Syndrome.
Clamar, Aphrodite J.
Increasing numbers of women are turning to women therapists for help in meeting their psychological problems, causing an "empty couch syndrome" among male therapists who have long dominated the field. Women do not necessarily make better therapists, and the sex of the therapist is not the most important factor in predicting success or failure for the patient, but there are basic, important differences between male and female therapists. The subject has major economic importance to psychologists, because women constitute the major portion of the patient population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Reasons for the "empty couch syndrome," drawing on women's changing perceptions, roles and expectations, are lessening of the Freudian influence, downgrading of male experts, preference for a therapist with no sexual appeal, acknowledgement of women's long-repressed resentments toward males, and concerted effort by women to break the standard sex role stereotypes. Women therapists are encouraged to guard against becoming sexist in their own way, while remaining flexible and open to all possible lifestyles and options for their patients. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August, 1978)