The modern field of mental healthcare is young relative to other areas of medicine. In the past, the role of the psychotherapist was replaced by healers, priests, and priests, but the healing of the soul was never put on par with the problems of the body. Modernity, in turn, amazes with the rapid development of psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapeutic techniques, and approaches. However, although modern capitalist society does not have a rigid stratification, and most people can afford therapy and the services of a therapist, there is still a problem of privilege. Most importantly, in a situation where the process of forging a bond between therapist and patient is taking place, privilege can destructively affect communication on both sides.
The problem of privileges, the owner of which is the psychologist himself, is visible in the example of interracial and intercultural communication during the session. Contemporary counseling psychology emphasizes the enormous importance of multicultural and social justice frameworks in psychotherapy. This approach is necessary to avoid replaying the dynamics of privilege and oppression in the patient during the session. And, oddly enough, many patients turn to specialists for help because they experience problems directly related to social inequality, pressure from privileged persons, and the like. For example, there is a pattern that people of color have historically underutilized psychotherapy services and had a higher rate of refusal to continue treatment when they see a therapist. Interestingly, this happened despite the fact that they were more likely to face more sources of psychological stress. However, this phenomenon may well be attributed to the simple fact that white therapists were overrepresented in vocational and educational institutions associated with psychology and psychotherapy.
It is also important to note that modern therapists have been trained and practice theories of psychotherapy, developed mainly by white men. Thus, therapists form a system of counseling and communication that works for a specific but small group of patients. Thus, white therapists can harm their people of color clients and possibly their white clients. The latter may be harmed by using eurocentrically narrow conceptualizations and their treatment by the therapist. Based on the preceding, modern methods of treatment and approaches to communication between the therapist and the patient imply the leveling of the psychologist’s privileges through the correct intercultural framework in communication.
In considering the problem of privileges in the process of communication and psychological therapy, the effect of gender privileges is important. Current therapeutic approaches offer trauma theory a useful framework that therapists can use when working with women seeking help with mental health problems. Significantly, the concept of trauma has gained some popularity for its ability to recognize the social and relational determinants of women’s mental health beliefs. It is also beneficial to the process and the ability to challenge the dominance of the biomedical framework for understanding the emotional state of patients.
However, one should also understand how gender privileges directly affect the relationship between the male therapist and the female patient. This is often expressed in toxic masculinity, which implies the use of an extreme degree of independence and alienation on the part of the therapist, domination in relation to women. What is most dangerous are the methods of domination expressed in such things as violence and avoidance of femininity or weakness. This approach creates the strongest barrier in communication between doctor and patient. Many unskilled therapists and psychologists often promote material success in the communication and counseling of male clients. Typically, the methods of achieving what they call “success” are forced socialization, encouragement of aggression, and lack of interpersonal relationships. All this ultimately leads to severe psychological trauma. Such a relationship between the therapist and the person he is helping leads to the aggravation of existing problems and forms new, often stronger ones. Thus, a frequent problem of gender privileges at work is the toxic masculinity emanating from them, which destructively affects the relationship between the therapist or psychologist and the patient.
To summarize, we can judge that the modern mental health system has several practices, methods, and approaches to neutralize the influence of privileges in the dialogue between the therapist and the patient. However, counseling and therapy usually have many traces and immediate systems left behind by old and discriminatory institutions, such as racial-chauvinistic or patriarchal. The influence of skin color and social status influences how long a colored patient can continue treatment and whether they try to seek it in principle. Remnants of the white Eurocentric cultural paradigm in mental healthcare continue to destructively influence the vital element of psychological care – the dialogue between doctor and patient. But moreover, an important problem is the gender system of privileges, which affects the treatment even more, especially when the holder of gender privileges is an incompetent specialist. This demonstrates the phenomenon of toxic masculinity emanating from patriarchy and the privileges it engenders. Toxic masculinity is destructive and dangerous in the dialogue between the male therapist and his patients. The privilege of the therapist and the psychologist affects the effectiveness and the very possibility of dialogue for therapy and patient counseling.