A Qualitative Analysis of Client Perceptions of the Effects of Helpful Therapist Self-Disclosure in Long-Term Therapy
American Psychological Association
Journal of Counseling Psychology
Thirteen adult psychotherapy clients currently in long-term therapy were interviewed twice, with semistructured protocols, about their experiences with helpful instances of therapist self-disclosure. Data were analyzed with a qualitative methodology. Results indicated that helpful therapist self-disclosures (a) occurred when these clients were discussing important personal issues, (b) were perceived as being intended by therapists to normalize or reassure the clients, and (c) consisted of a disclosure of personal nonimmediate information about the therapists. The therapist self-disclosures resulted in positive consequences for these clients that included insight or a new perspective from which to make changes, an improved or more equalized therapeutic relationship, normalization, and reassurance. Implications for psychotherapy are discussed.