Format of Original
American Psychological Association
Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training
A review of the analog literature about therapist self-disclosure suggests that nonclients generally have positive perceptions of therapist self-disclosures. A review of the naturalistic psychotherapy literature indicates that therapist self-disclosure occurs infrequently, is used more often by humanistic-experiential than psychoanalytic therapists, is most often about professional background than about intimate personal details, is used for many different reasons, is used cautiously by therapists, and is helpful in the immediate process of therapy. Effects of therapist self-disclosure on the ultimate outcome of therapy are less clear. Limitations of the research (poor and inconsistent definitions and lack of a clinically appropriate methodology for studying self-disclosure) and guidelines for therapeutic practice are presented.