How to Find a Therapist Who Specializes in Women’s Issues

Finding a Therapist specializing in women's issues

For many people, gender has a significant impact on the way they experience the world, as well as the challenges and traumas they face. Finding a therapist who specializes in providing therapy for women’s health issues can improve the overall outcome of treatment.

Introduction: Recognizing the Importance of Specialized Therapy

Everyone can benefit from therapy, regardless of their life experiences, perceived mental health and overall sense of well-being. Connecting with a mental health provider can help you manage your unique mental challenges, stress and life changes. However, finding the right therapist takes more than a one-size-fits-all approach – different therapists have different interests, scopes of experience and training.

Particularly for women experiencing challenges directly or indirectly related to their gender, specialized therapy provides the key to effective outcomes. Hormonal shifts that happen during pregnancy, the postpartum period, perimenopause and menopause can bring on or exacerbate mental health issues, many of which present differently in women than in men. Additionally, women face unique societal pressures, self-esteem problems and career challenges that some therapists may not connect with.

Common health issues that women face include:

  • Stress: Many studies have shown that women report higher levels of stress than men. Social environment and genetic factors, such as the comparatively low sensitivity to stress-managing hormones, put women at a disadvantage when it comes to experiencing and managing symptoms.
  • Depression: In general, women are about two times more likely to develop depression than men at some point during their lifetime, and they are 33% more likely to attempt suicide (though men die by suicide at a higher rate).
  • Anxiety: Once they enter puberty until they reach menopause, females are twice as likely as males to develop an anxiety disorder. This is at least partially due to differences in brain chemistry, with studies showing that estrogen and progesterone cause the fight-or-flight response to activate more easily and stay activated for longer.
  • Disordered eating: Of the roughly 70 million individuals worldwide living with an eating disorder, about two-thirds are females.
  • Domestic violence: Males and females are both vulnerable to domestic violence, with one study showing that about 19% of males and 23% of females experience assault from their partner at least once in their lifetime. However, domestic violence can become significantly more dangerous to women.
  • Sexual trauma: About one in five women in the United States experience an attempted or completed rape at some point during their lifetime, with 33% of incidents occurring between the ages of 11 and 17.

By finding a clinician who has the training to provide therapy for women’s issues, women can be more confident that their genetic, social and physiological factors get proper consideration.

Researching Options: Exploring Methods for Finding Suitable Therapists

Finding a mental health professional who specializes in providing therapy for women’s issues can be empowering, and it’s the first step to getting help tailored to your needs and situation. Fortunately, online resources make it easier than ever to educate yourself on therapy types as well as the credentials therapists most commonly have.

Several methods can help you connect with the right therapist for your needs:

  • Review online directories. Find a directory that lists some therapists in your region. You can typically find this through reputable websites or your health insurance company, if you intend to use insurance to pay for services. In many cases, you can refine your search by specific concerns or areas of expertise.
  • Review therapists’ qualifications. Ensure that the therapist you choose has the necessary qualifications to provide the care you need. Lax laws allow virtually anyone to market themself as a therapist or counselor, so it’s important to do your homework and make sure the one you choose has the education and experience to provide effective care.
  • Get familiar with therapy types. Some therapy types may be especially beneficial for managing certain mental health issues, such as cognitive behavioral therapy for postpartum depression or neuro rehab for post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding the options that may be available to you can help inform your search for the right therapist.
  • Decide the type of setting you’re comfortable with. Are you looking for one-on-one therapy, or would you prefer to participate in group therapy with other women? Does your schedule allow for in-person sessions, or would virtual care be more sustainable?
  • Get referrals and recommendations. Friends or family members who’ve sought therapy for women’s health issues, as well as your primary care provider, can often point you in the right direction when you’re looking for specialized care.
    Finding the right therapist may take time, but it can make all the difference in your mental health journey.

Assessing Expertise: Identifying Indicators of Specialization in Women’s Issues

As you’re looking for therapists to help you manage gender-related issues, you can typically see a mental health care professional’s areas of interest or expertise in their online biography. This offers invaluable insight into the type of counseling they provide. For example, areas of interest to look for include:

Initial Consultation: Discussing Questions to Ask During the First Meeting

The initial consultation provides you with an opportunity to talk with a therapist and decide whether their experience, approach and methodology fit your needs. During this session, they may ask you questions regarding your goals for therapy, past experiences you’ve had with counseling, and whether there’s a family history of mental illness. To get the most from your first session, it’s a good idea to go in with some questions of your own.

Some questions to ask may include:

  • How long have you been practicing? Mental health is complex, and it’s important to find a therapist who has experience to draw from when creating your treatment plan.
  • What therapy techniques do you find most effective? Asking this question allows you to gauge the therapist’s style and get an idea of whether their techniques fit your goals.
  • How do you approach therapy for women’s issues? Every therapist brings a unique perspective, philosophy and background to their sessions, and the answer to this question can help you assess whether their approach is what you’re looking for.
  • What are your areas of specialization? Especially if you’re seeking therapy to help you navigate a specific issue, such as life transitions or gender-related career challenges, you want to be sure the therapist you choose has relevant experience.
  • How often should we meet? This helps you determine whether treatment from the therapist fits your schedule as well as your needs. You can also use this as an opportunity to find out whether the therapist provides virtual appointments.
  • Do you provide resources or homework for clients to work on between sessions? Homework and outside resources help many clients focus on establishing new mindsets and habits outside of therapy sessions.

Conclusion: Empowering Women to Seek Tailored Therapy

Women face a wide range of unique experiences throughout their lives. Whether it’s navigating trauma or discrimination in the workplace, managing the stress of having and raising children, or addressing hormone-related anxiety or depression, finding the right therapist to partner with through life’s challenges and changes can greatly enhance your well-being. Many therapists recognize the importance of tailored care and have dedicated their careers to giving women the support they need.

At Restore Mental Health, we treat women from all walks of life and help them build the strategies and resilience they need to handle challenges. To learn more about our programs and therapy techniques, contact us today.