Therapist self-disclosure

 I found the article, ‘Opening up to disclosure’ by Anna Ruddle and Sarah Dilks (June 2015) a refreshing reminder of the complex issue of how much, if at all, a therapist might choose to reveal about themselves to a client.

Of course, therapists self-disclose the minute a client walks into the consulting room. The therapist’s wedding ring, for example, might have particular significance for a client struggling with divorce or sexual identity. But, it is the purposeful act of self-disclosure that is at the heart of the matter.

Whilst self-discourse can undoubtedly serve as a positive therapeutic factor, it also offers the therapist an unhelpful avenue to self-indulgence cloaked in a belief that it is really for the good of clients. As Storr (1990) noted, therapists, just like clients want acceptance and understanding but a psychotherapy session is not the place to fulfill such needs.

Dr Alistair McBeath

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