Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Upon arriving at an outpatient clinic, many patients request to see a female psychotherapist. Yet little has been written on this topic. The aim of this study was to explore the demographic and clinical characteristics of such patients. We compared patients who voiced a preference for a female therapist with controls on the demographic variables of age, sex, race, marital and financial status and the clinical characteristics of diagnosis, history of sexual abuse, sexual preference, overt presence of sexual or social difficulties, history of prior treatment, gender of the previous therapist, and treatment drop out rate. A chi square analysis for categorical data was used to measure differences between the two populations. We found that patients who voiced a request for a female therapist were more often white, young, or had voiced sexual or social difficulties in their chief complaint. The treatment drop out rate of study patients whose request was granted was greater than control patients who received a female therapist. The request for a female therapist may be reflective of an age or race based comfort in expressing preference, or related to specific presenting complaints in the realm of sexual or social relationships. Granting such a request without an understanding of its significance may result in premature termination of treatment.

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