Recognizing the importance of sex and gender among Polish psychotherapists
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Pracownia Psychologii i Psychoterapii Systemowej Kliniki Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży CM UJ
Zakład Terapii Rodzin i Psychosomatyki Katedry Psychiatrii CM UJ
Submission date: 2017-09-15
Final revision date: 2017-11-13
Acceptance date: 2017-11-16
Publication date: 2018-01-04
Corresponding author
Barbara Józefik   

Pracownia Psychologii Psychoterapii Systemowej Kliniki Psychiatrii Dzieci i Młodzieży CM UJ, ul. Kopernika 21a, 31-501 Kraków, Polska
Psychoter 2017;182(3):15-30
Gender is the fundamental dimension of identity and therefore defining femininity/masculinity and the related roles by psychotherapists seem to be especially important in psychotherapy practice. The presented research is one of the first of this kind in Poland and therefore is rather exploratory and descriptive in nature. The purpose of the study was to find the answer to the question whether Polish psychotherapists, in the understanding their patients, refer to their own gender and sex-related experiences in the process of psychotherapy and supervision and – if yes–how they reflect them.

The authors prepared a questionnaire including 20 closed and one open-ended question. The study involved 144 heterosexual psychotherapists (70% of females, 30% of males).

The findings showed that psychotherapists in individual, family and couples psychotherapy refer to their gender-related experience particularly as a daughter/son, woman/man (younger therapist), mother/father (older therapist). For younger female and male heterosexual psychotherapists (up to 40 years old) working with an opposite sex, attractive patient is a challenge, which - in the case of male therapists - disturbs the process of psychotherapy, while in the case of female therapists may both disturb or – as they claim - facilitate it.

The life cycle of therapists and their sex seem to significantly influence the way they experience their patients and refer to gender issues of their patients. The results confirm the necessity of supervision due to the inner voices of psychotherapist related to sex and gender activated during psychotherapy.

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