Why Aren’t Men Becoming Therapists Anymore?
Curt and Katie chat about the lack of male therapists and the decreasing number of male students in the profession. We look at current statistics and reported experiences of men in the field. We also dig into what needs to change to balance gender representation and increase the number of men becoming therapists.
Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.
Click here to scroll to the podcast transcript.
In this podcast episode we talk about male therapists
Continuing forward within men’s health month, we are looking at the state of the profession for male therapists.
Statistics on men in the mental health profession
- Depending on license type, mental health professionals are between 60-90% female
- Men and women have fairly equal parity on compensation (especially when looking at similar roles)
- Men are less likely to seek out these jobs as the wages stagnate, the requirements become more onerous, and due to a lack of male representation and role models
What needs to change to balance gender representation within the mental health field?
“Men typically have privilege in other spaces… And yet I recognize in our field, that’s not the case. And so, it’s this weird, complex understanding of societal privilege, but not privilege within the field.” – Katie Vernoy, LMFT
- Understanding the difference between societal privilege versus professional privilege
- Identifying why the number of men is dramatically decreasing within graduate programs and all stages of licensure
- The impact of feminism on the conversations about the impact of white men on the field
- The perception of “male bashing” and the need to nurture male voices within the profession
- The challenge of identifying when men are being ignored or “soloed out”
- The problem of stereotyping, ignoring, or isolating male therapists and students
- Men being automatically pushed into leadership due to mentorship by male faculty and bias toward men as leaders
How do we get more men into the mental health profession?
“If we’re identifying that men need to go and get mental health treatment, and there’s no men to get it from, this then has the potential for reaching critical failure as a profession in being able to provide services.” – Curt Widhalm, LMFT
- Reaching critical failure in trying to provide services to men (if men no longer enter the profession)
- Recruitment strategies for graduate programs
- Making the profession sustainable for all individuals
- Pushing back against wage stagnation due to feminization of the profession
- Looking at retention and commitment for male therapists
- The importance of representation across the mental health profession
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Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:
We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!
Number of women vs men in grad programs: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2018/12/datapoint
Men’s experiences in the field:
Faculty experiences of teaching male students: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-015-0473-1
Recruiting men into the field: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259538918_A_Mixed_Methods_Study_of_Male_Recruitment_in_the_Counseling_Profession
Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:
Who we are:
Curt Widhalm, LMFT
Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie Vernoy, LMFT
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com
A Quick Note:
Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.
Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.
Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:
Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:
Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:
Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:
Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/
Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano https://groomsymusic.com/
Transcript for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast (Autogenerated):
Katie Vernoy 0:00
This episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide is brought to you by Thrizer. Thrizer is a modern billing platform for private pay therapists. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month with no extra work on your end. The best part is you don’t have to give up your rates they charge a standard 3% processing fee.
Curt Widhalm 0:24
Listen at the end of the episode for more information on a special offer from Thrizer.
You’re listening to the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe, and practice as human beings. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm, and Katie Vernoy.
Curt Widhalm 0:45
Welcome back modern therapists, this is the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast for therapists where we talk about things going on in our fields, the things that happen in our offices and our practices. And we are continuing to focus on men’s mental health as Men’s Health Awareness Month is still going on. We talked last week about working with men in therapy and some of the issues that have come up. And part of that discussion was about representation matters. And there are a number of more female therapists in our field than male therapists. And we wanted to separate out the working with men episode from the here’s us working as men in the field episode. So wanting to kind of separate those two issues out, we are focusing here on men being therapists and kind of what that means for our fields and the directions that that seems to be going.
Katie Vernoy 1:50
This is a really important topic. I did some research a while back and you know, I was going from that kind of the whole sacrificial helping syndrome thing, and I was finding that 60%, 70%, 80% I think you would more recently said 90% of our field are women. And you know, and from where I was coming from that was like, oh, you know, there’s a feminization of the field, which leads to wage stagnation or drops in wages. And so you know, I was coming from that angle. But after our conversation last week, and we’ve had this conversation before, it just is really apparent that if we don’t have an adequate number of men in the field, there is not representation. And I think there are problems with men getting adequate mental health services, if there’s not enough folks that can provide those services to them. So I’m looking forward to diving in because I think the stuff that I’ve seen in kind of my other angle is relevant here. But I think we, you know, want to make sure that we’re focusing in on what’s going on in the field, why is it a problem? And what can we do about it.
Curt Widhalm 2:57
And maybe the most manly way possible, we’re going to start this off with some statistics, and…
Katie Vernoy 3:02
All right, then.
Curt Widhalm 3:03
Pulling some data from zippia.com. They say that there are about 146,000 Clinical therapists currently employed in the United States.
Katie Vernoy 3:13
And this is masters level, or masters and doctoral.
Curt Widhalm 3:16
Masters and psychologists.
Katie Vernoy 3:19
Curt Widhalm 3:21
So out of that 76.6% are women and 23.4% are men. And you bring up about wages. And this is a field where, on average, women earn about 96%, of what men do. Which is very different than a lot of other fields. Seems to be one of the more balanced fields here, still a little gap there. But they pull from Bureau of Labor and Statistics data, which has some problems with the way that they collect data. You know, it’s something where they extrapolate monthly kind of earnings into being full time and a lot of the things that make our fields very accommodating to women who tend to be female head of households, sort of things, flexible scheduling, being able to work a little bit less so that way you can take care of your kids. Seems to impact this and maybe a little bit more part time dragging some of those wages down, then it would necessarily if everybody was actually fully employed, like the BLS statistics would say that they would need to be. So…
Katie Vernoy 4:29
So you’re saying that there’s there is a difference. It’s not a huge difference, which is different from other fields. But in truth, we’re really looking at statistics that we don’t know that we can trust very much because, I mean, I think men and women potentially, you know, I think all genders probably have a little bit more flexibility as a therapist, but I think as we’ve talked about, men tend to have a different makeup of what they’re actually doing, I think than women and so the it’s not apples to apples necessarily.
Curt Widhalm 4:58
Katie Vernoy 4:59
Curt Widhalm 4:59
Men do tend to make more in fields, especially like education were like talking about like faculty in graduate programs and department chairs and that kind of stuff, which overall seems to be trending more towards equality anyway. And this seems to largely be remnants of men who have held these positions for decades. And back when it was a field that was largely more male dominated, of just being people who are much more experienced and holding those upper level positions that as they retire, those wages tend to be evening out in most places.
Katie Vernoy 5:37
So the wages are looking at everyone not necessarily looking at seniority or position. It’s just if you’re in the field, what are your wages, and they’re trying to compare it? You mentioned that there’s been, it seems like that kind of this pendulum swing of where it was a highly male dominated field, and now it’s a highly female dominated field. Why do we think that’s happening?
Curt Widhalm 5:59
In the 1970s. This is, according to both the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association, men made up about 70% of graduates in both the master’s level and doctoral levels for clinical facing work.
Katie Vernoy 6:18
Curt Widhalm 6:20
Those numbers in both fields reached a balancing point in the early 1990s. And since that point has trended more and more female. And much more so at the masters level than at the doctoral level, but both are rapidly becoming more and more female dominated than they already are. And this has contributed to, like any fields where it tends to become more female dominated, some of the wage stagnation stuff that you’re talking about.
Katie Vernoy 6:52
Curt Widhalm 6:52
That we’re no different than other fields that have seen as more and more women make up the workforce, the wages tend to go down for everybody.
Katie Vernoy 7:02
Which I’m just gonna say it sucks. Not that the topic of our episode, but I think just think that sucks.
Curt Widhalm 7:07
Yeah, absolutely. Part of what that does is it creates barriers for some of these societal expectations of men who are societally supposed to be the breadwinners of families tend to look towards other fields that tend to pay better. Especially for fields that don’t take as much of a investment in order to enter into the field. And we have plenty of discussions around, you know, the ever increasing number of classes that people need to take. The ever increasing amounts of work that needs to be done at low or no pay. That for men who are assigned to be the breadwinners are assigned to be the ones who help out, you know, their family of origins, or even launching their own families who need to have the stable paychecks to come in, tends to be a big barrier for men entering into the field in the first place. Just because of that wage stagnation that seems to happen.
Katie Vernoy 8:07
I can see it also being something where as it becomes more and more female dominated, that this becomes looking like women’s work. And also just I’m not going to put up with this, even if I don’t need to make the amount of money I’m not going to put up with what you have to put up with in this field. Like it seems like men oftentimes are going to take that more into account potentially, because of societal expectations, or based on just kind of a different type of confidence or perspective, that women who are coming in to help people are willing to sacrifice more than men are. Maybe. I don’t know.
Curt Widhalm 8:47
Kind of, as we talked about last week with, you know, embracing more types of masculinities that even a lot of the people within our field, who are men tend to be not in the traditional masculine roles or the traditional masculine appearance of it. And so there’s not really the role models to entice more men to come into the field in the first place. Because as you’re saying, it has moved into more and more of kind of a women’s work. Not necessarily because it’s just what women do, but also because the discussions that we tend to have tend to be seen more in women’s emotionality in the way that we talk about feelings in our work. And we…
Katie Vernoy 9:38
Which is what we talked about last time.
Curt Widhalm 9:39
Exactly, yeah. And so, without a lot of great role models and great mentorship to encourage more men to come into the field, we tend to see this as a problem that continues to just double down on itself as: Okay. This is where wages are stagnating, this is where there’s more women coming into the room. More of the discussions ended up being led around feminism and feministic ideals that tend to isolate and shut down men’s ideas.
Katie Vernoy 10:13
Let’s talk a little bit more about that. Because I think when we’ve been approaching this conversation, I think the thing that I’ve been trying to grapple with is, men typically have, not all men, not all situations, but men typically have privilege in other spaces. They’re typically the focus of like medical research, there’s, there’s or historically have been, there’s this notion that men are constantly the focus. And yet I recognize in our field, that’s not the case. And so it’s this weird, complex understanding of kind of societal privilege, but not privileged within the field. And how do we navigate that? Because I think that’s the thing that gets hard for me to understand. Not not necessarily hard for me to understand, I think that’s oversimplifying it, but that’s the part where like, my head has to get around this idea that in our classrooms and our profession, that oftentimes men are marginalized. Like that feels weird for me to say. And so I think we need to talk about it in more depth, because I think a lot of women who have been in the position of marginalization typically may not see the privilege that they’re holding as women in this profession. And so I want to, I want to just be able to dig into it to really understand it more deeply.
Curt Widhalm 11:35
Sure. And to dive into that, it also it helps to look at just kind of where the numbers are at currently. That, you know, as we mentioned, it is becoming more female dominated. So we’re looking at 65% of enrolled PhD students being female, and that number continuing to grow year after year, . We’re looking at counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists being at 75% female, and that number continuing to grow. We’re looking at social work as a profession is at 90%, female for licensees. And 96%, female for social workers under the age of 35.
Katie Vernoy 12:21
Curt Widhalm 12:24
So I went to grad school around 2005. In my cohort, there was two guys out of a cohort of 20.
Katie Vernoy 12:34
Curt Widhalm 12:35
Katie Vernoy 12:36
Yeah, so we’re at that 90%.
Curt Widhalm 12:38
Yeah. I don’t know, what was your experience? Was there a lot of dudes in your program?
Katie Vernoy 12:45
There were a lot of dudes. I think it was probably 60/40. If I’m thinking about it. I don’t know that all of them became clinicians. And mine was a clinical psychology with a little bit like some folks went onto research after mine. So I think, you know, when we talk about where men land in the profession, it may make more sense. But I actually felt like, it felt fairly even to me, but it may have still been more female dominant, I had like 12 or 15, folks, and I’m trying to, it’s so long ago. It was like 2000, 1999-2000. And so I think it felt probably 60/40 Women in mine. If I think about it, maybe maybe at most 70/30. But there were seemed like there were a lot of dudes to use your, your terminology.
Curt Widhalm 13:31
And I can say, as a professor, what my experience has been over the last, I don’t know how long I’ve been teaching now seven plus years, that I don’t know that I’ve ever had more than three male students in a class. And that’s, you know, typically classes of 20 plus students. So these are trends that are, we’re very much stuck in. And part of this is also that there’s also just a lot of faculty that’s women. And some of this is problems that are in academia that as more and more programs rely on adjunct faculty who come in and teach a singular class that those contend to be where a lot of the women are in the education workforce. Tenured positions, I think, overall, tenured positions are kind of trending down anyway, as universities finds that you can just pay a bunch of adjunct faculty less. But there’s also because there’s fewer, those tend to turn over less and are kind of still dominated by people who’ve been in the field for a very long time, traditionally, you know, back to that argument of back when it was more imbalanced towards men in the field. But, again, if we’re talking about representation mattering, if a lot of the faculty is female, then you’re also not getting a lot of experience in the classroom of having the diversity of viewpoints that having male faculty would help to balance out some of the conversations. So, and we’re going to point to a couple of research articles here. And we’ll include all of our research that we’re citing in our show notes over at mtsgpodcast.com. But one article that I’m looking at here is, by Michel, Hays and Runyon, this is called Faculty Member Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Male Counselors in Training: A Social Cognitive Career Theory Perspective, this was from 2015 in the journal Sex Roles. And they interviewed faculty members and kind of separated them out as male and female faculty members. But in the discussions or in the views of how male students are treated, from a faculty perspective, that male faculty members tended to see things that push back against a lot of the narrative that a lot of the female therapists in our field tend to be portraying. And I’m going to put this in the category of like, there’s a lot of systemic things that we are wrestling with in our field, as far as the traditional roles of, you know, white men’s touch on things. And with that comes that a lot of female faculty are identified as holding that as a conversation in the classroom, surrounded by a lot of female students that can come across as male bashing, especially to the one or two or three male students in the room, who may have different viewpoints but feel outnumbered and can’t necessarily bring up those kinds of viewpoints, for fear of lack of social standing within their cohorts.
Katie Vernoy 17:01
So the question I have around that is there are true societal issues, right? There are societal issues that outside of our profession have skewed toward male privilege. And even within our field, as recently as 50 years ago, our profession was more highly male. And so to speak about the shift and to speak about what has happened around male privilege in the classroom, when the men in the classroom do not hold privilege in that space. How do you get, how do you have that conversation without male bashing? Without it being considered male bashing? Like how do you discuss the true complexity of the situation in a off balanced classroom? Without it being male bashing? Like I this is a legitimate question. This isn’t a gotcha. This is actually like, if we’re going to talk about the real societal issues. There are things that are, I don’t even like anti male also seems like male bashing, like it’s something where there are real things we need to discuss about the disparities in a room that the disparity is the opposite. And I don’t know how to do that in a way that’s going to welcome male voices.
Curt Widhalm 18:14
Well, and that speaks to the problem. Is, I’ve known you for several years, I think that you’re generally a decent person.
Katie Vernoy 18:27
You’re generally a decent person too. All right, yes.
Curt Widhalm 18:30
But this is where, especially in in the modern discourse of a lot of these uncomfortable conversations, that it’s also being able to nurture male voices. Now I get how immediately everybody’s bells are going to be ringing up, we need to nurture male voices here. Yeah.,
Katie Vernoy 18:52
Well in that space. i get nurturing male voices.
Curt Widhalm 18:54
We need we need to nurture any minority group’s voice. And it’s hard, I think, for a lot of the current discourse of diversity and inclusion, to recognize that just because privilege exists on the other side of a classroom door, the other side of a conference room door, the other side outside of a license, that this is a real minority within our profession.
Katie Vernoy 19:20
Curt Widhalm 19:22
And there needs to be voices nurtured and held within this space, because what’s at risk is continuing to alienate them and continuing to push them out of the profession.
Katie Vernoy 19:38
Curt Widhalm 19:38
So the way that you do it is the same way that you would do it for any other minority group in any sort of discussion and say, Hey, do you have something that you want to say? And teach everybody how to listen to that voice because it’s not something where it comes naturally. And so it’s like, all right. Make some space because just because we’re the larger group in a room doesn’t mean that we’re right. It just means that we’re maybe more popular within what’s happening here and escalating some of the voices.
Katie Vernoy 20:12
I hear you and I agree with you. I think that the challenge in this situation that I see is that speaking about male privilege, for some, even just as a fact, of male privilege outside the room, what our clients are dealing with, you know, the how they’re, they’re grappling with dealing with male privilege, as a man sitting in that room with a lot of women and other folks, is that, does that feel like male bashing? Or is that a conversation that can say, and what do you think about male privilege? And how clients of other genders are being impacted by it? Like, is that what you’re saying? Because I think some folks may have a hard time grappling with that. I mean, I see this more similar to not like any other minority group, because I think there is still inherent privilege that men hold, there’s still inherent pullovers that white people hold. I think it’s more being in a conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion, about white privilege in a room where I’m one or two white people in the room. Like that feels more equal than talking about, you know, the concerns around other minority groups. I mean, it just it because it feels more complicated than just nurture the voices because I think that there still is, there are conversations that need to be had, that may be hard for male therapists to sit with, regardless of how nurturing the facilitator of the conversation is.
Curt Widhalm 21:50
Right. Well, and this is my point is that the facilitators of the conversations are missing that it’s happening. And it’s and it’s bashing. You and I were at a conference this year, where I got soloed out by another attendee, as the I think the only white male in the room.
Katie Vernoy 22:10
Curt Widhalm 22:10
And, you know, I turned to look to you, and I’m like, How do I handle this, because I don’t want to interject myself within this conversation. And the speaker, the person running the microphones, had no idea that it was happening.
Katie Vernoy 22:24
Curt Widhalm 22:25
You know, this is not a unique experience to anybody. But this is an experience that people are having. And it’s weird, the juxtaposition that’s happening of we can point this out for any minority group, but we’re quick to dismiss it because in our field, privilege exists outside the room. And so there’s almost this pendulum swing counter, like, we’re going to dismiss your personal experience here, because you have privileged someplace else.
Katie Vernoy 22:55
And I want to clarify something because I think I think the the piece that I think is missing and how you’re talking about it, and for other folks to understand, I get it because I was there. You were soloed out in that room for sitting, you were not sharing an opinion, you were not doing anything, you were sitting there, and you were just called out for basically being a white male that could have privilege. And so in a specific way. And so I think, to me, I didn’t I didn’t I don’t know if that was bashing or not. Maybe it was bashing? I don’t know. But I think the the thing that you’re talking about is that your experience was completely ignored.
Curt Widhalm 23:35
Katie Vernoy 23:35
In that room? I think there’s there’s an argument that separate from you being soloed out for no reason at all. Your experience wouldn’t be relevant in that room, given that it was a conversation about a completely different marginalized population. And so I think it’s that piece of, of recognizing that moment, and how to acknowledge that moment. Because I think that’s what that’s what we’re missing is that moment.
Curt Widhalm 24:07
Katie Vernoy 24:08
We’re not, you’re not saying men need to be the center of conversation…
Curt Widhalm 24:12
No, I’m not.
Katie Vernoy 24:13
…in every space. It’s that men are being ignored and/or the conversation. And I think, I think what I think I’m answering my question.
Curt Widhalm 24:24
Not only are you answering the question, you’re going into kind of the other areas that this article by Michel.
Katie Vernoy 24:31
Yeah, me just finished really quick. The other point that I was going to make is that the dismissiveness and the kind of lack of nuance around kind of: men have privilege, men can be violent. You know, kind of the stereotypical stuff that can happen and just be accepted in the conversations that are primarily filled with female or other genders and non men audiences, basically. I think when men are sitting in those rooms is is male bashing versus talking about the nuance of male privilege and inviting men in the room to talk about their experiences, too? Is that what you’re saying?
Curt Widhalm 25:11
Yeah. And and from the Michel article, you know, some of the categories that these commentaries fall on as you’re describing, one is anti male beliefs that fall under stigma of this is what all men do. And this guy just…
Katie Vernoy 25:27
Curt Widhalm 25:27
Katie Vernoy 25:28
And very negative.
Curt Widhalm 25:30
Or what also ends up happening is being just kind of held invisibly of, okay, it’s just a student, and they don’t have issues. And so what it leads to, is from the student end of things, it and this is highlighted in a 2021 article in current psychology by Kim, Santana and Daheim is that a lot of the male experiences in classrooms tends to be where you tend to go to other people who look like you. And because not only are you potentially isolated out in the conversations within the classrooms, but you’re also left out from all of your cohorts who go out for girls night. You’re not invited along to all of the extra social things that makes it to where you’re really bonded within the other, you know, ways of what a more balanced, classroom or program might end up being. And so if you tend to go to where there’s other people who look like you, you know you automatically become best friends with the other guy in your program. But then you also tend to start hanging out with faculty more, because those are the ones who look like you. And it leads into this All right, well, there’s this privilege within our field, because the male students then get into a lot more leadership roles. But really, it’s also just because they’re being excluded in a lot of other ways, just in the socialization aspects.
Katie Vernoy 27:05
I mean, that seems like a broad generalization. I mean, is that something that’s actually in the research that there is a lot of this happening? Or is that that was that your experience?
Curt Widhalm 27:18
It’s a little bit of both here. That I mean, men tend to get pushed into leadership roles, because they’re the ones we’re talking to the people who know about leadership roles.
Katie Vernoy 27:30
I think that I mean, I don’t think we can argue, though, that men are often more naturally seen as leaders too.
Curt Widhalm 27:36
I mean, you wouldn’t say you can say that that’s a masculine trait. And that’s one of the things of Alright, if we need to embrace more masculinity in our field, that’s one of the things is, we can’t just pick and choose, like, the best parts of our favorite men, like we have to embrace all of the things that come along with masculinity here.
Katie Vernoy 27:59
Well, I will refer folks back to our episode on, you know, executives and emerging leaders, because I think we do need to have more diversity in leadership. But I think there is still a bias toward choosing men as leaders because of how we’ve defined leadership for a very long time. So I think in one of the articles you showed me, that that’s kind of this glass escalator of men are seen more likely to be leaders, they’re hanging out with faculty, they’re doing those things. And so then it’s hard to as someone with a different gender to say, like, oh, well, he’s being marginalized, because there’s, there’s potentially still a little bit of privilege there. Right? I mean…
Curt Widhalm 28:38
There’s, there’s also, there’s also the pressure to take on leadership roles, because you’re a man.
Katie Vernoy 28:44
Okay, fair enough.
Curt Widhalm 28:45
I mean, so, and this is where, I think in a lot of the, the gender and diversity classes and workshops that I’ve taken across my career, have tended to blame all research as being bale focus. But I think that there really hasn’t been a broad research into what masculinity is. And that is missing, and it’s playing out in our field, and then it’s playing out into people not actually necessarily seeking out our services.
Katie Vernoy 29:20
Curt Widhalm 29:21
And so this leads us into how do we get more men into the field? And it’s, you know, really something where we’re, maybe identifying it, the professional organizations, APA, American Counseling Association, other organizations like that are identifying these trends as happening, but just kind of seem to be throwing their hands up and saying, Yeah, this is happening.
Katie Vernoy 29:49
Yeah, just reporting on the issue.
Curt Widhalm 29:53
And it doesn’t seem to be something where it’s being seriously looked at of all right, what does this look 15 years from now? When you know, all of the fields aren’t 90% women, I’m I’m going to create maybe a worst case scenario here.
Katie Vernoy 30:10
Curt Widhalm 30:11
But if that is where, again, going back to a point from last week of if we’re identifying that men need to go and get mental health treatment, and there’s no men to get it from, this then has the potential for reaching critical failure as a profession in being able to provide services.
Katie Vernoy 30:32
Curt Widhalm 30:35
There is one article that I came across. This is from 2013, again by Michel, this time with Hall, Hayes and Runyon about A Mixed Methods Study of Male Recruitment in the Counseling Profession. This is from the Journal of Counseling and Development. And they had a list of different things that could work, including targeting undergraduates, for more men to enter into graduate programs, particularly within the counseling fields. And letting men know that there are jobs available for them and roles available for them. And especially in areas where, and I’m a great example of a beneficiary of this, of serving particular areas of need, where people are seeking out more male therapists, my men, you know, I’m a guy who works with teenagers, that has been a really good space for me to work in. And it allows for us to create, you know, going way back to our episode on creating career pathways and fixing the mental health system of like giving people a career pathway to follow. This is where you could fit in. And this is where it could be potentially financially beneficial for you to work in this way.
Katie Vernoy 31:57
Yes, and I think about the pathways in. It still is a long slog before you’re making the good money, right. And I think that is something where my experience, at least I know, a lot of male therapists, I interact with you on a weekly basis. And I think it’s hard for folks to get their head around, working for free, working for very little for an extended period of time with a promise of potential financial stability or success six years down the road. I mean, I think there’s folks that will get past that. But I think this goes back to the bazillion episodes. And we can link to some of them in the show notes around trying to improve the profession to actually make it something that’s sustainable from the beginning. Because I think there’s a lot of folks that just if they’re the sole provider for their family, or the primary breadwinner, going through a lot of unpaid time doesn’t make sense. And so you see folks that potentially are working for agencies and making a salary and having benefits and doing all those things. But it’s not great wages, especially not to start. And so I think it’s that that element of we have to fix this. And part of it is pushing back against the whole feminization and wage stagnation. And I don’t know how we do that. I don’t know that there’s been a lot of professions and maybe this is something we can look into that have been able to turn the tide there.
Curt Widhalm 33:30
I think there there has been. And I think in some of the ways that our field has embraced, seeking out and retaining students of other diverse backgrounds. That there needs to be a commitment of also looking at getting the retention and commitment of getting male students across the finish lines too. And, you know, just like we’ve typed, targeted minority mental health therapists, we are seeing growing trends of that in our field, it’s going to take some time to play out. But there has to be a commitment from the field to be able to say, yes, men have issues. Those issues are going to be coming from people who probably want to see people like them as therapists. Yeah, we should probably say at some point in this episode that yes, men can go to female therapists too. But there is a, there is still that people want to go to therapists who look like them. And…
Katie Vernoy 34:31
Or similar lived experience, I think. I mean, it’s, it’s something where to me, I don’t know that we have to caveat it too much. I think that male therapists can help women. I mean, I think there’s there’s having more representation and diversity in our profession is good all the way around.
Curt Widhalm 34:49
Yeah. And this is an area where the trends are saying we are at risk of losing representation.
Katie Vernoy 34:58
Curt Widhalm 35:00
We would love to hear your thoughts on this episode and any ideas that you may have, you can follow us on our social media. Check us out in our Facebook group, the Modern Therapists group. Once again, our references will be over at mtsgpodcast.com. And if you want to continue to support us in the work that we do, please consider becoming a Patreon member or support us through Buy Me a Coffee. And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm, with Katie Vernoy.
Katie Vernoy 35:30
Thanks again to our sponsor, Thrizer.
Curt Widhalm 35:33
Thrizer is a new billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible and clinician should earn what they are worth. Every time you build a client through Thrizer an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the clients insurance. From there Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly and directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by cheque, confusion around benefits and obscurity with reimbursement status they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick and easy to get set up and it works great with EHR systems.
Katie Vernoy 36:14
Their team is super helpful and responsive and the founder is actually a longtime therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times. Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. Better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won’t be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free. You will get one month of no payment processing fees meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.
Curt Widhalm 36:49
Once again, sign up at bit.ly/moderntherapists and use the code ‘moderntherapists’ if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free.
Thank you for listening to the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide. Learn more about who we are and what we do at mtsgpodcast.com. You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter and please don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our episodes.