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Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Adoptees-Psychology, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Identity (Psychology), Self-disclosure, Adoption, Identity


One of the intentional purposes of this study was to expand upon the limited research that is offered from a clinical perspective regarding self disclosure, but with a concentration on adopted mental health professionals. This study: explored the nature of therapeutic relationship, investigated continued controversial topic of self disclosure and explored specifically adoption identity formation and self disclosure grounded in social constructivism.

Twelve female participants who identified as mental health professionals completed in person interviews. The goal was to recruit 16 participants evenly divided between clinicians who were adopted and non adopted. However because of limitations, the sample consisted of 11 non adopted clinicians and 1 adopted clinician.

Six themes emerged from analysis of transcribed interview data: (1) client focused self disclosure (2) therapist identity focused self disclosure (3) therapist theoretical orientation influence on self disclosure (4) Number of years of experience and use of supervision (5) identity as a therapist and as an individual (6) Need for connection and isolation as it relates to relationships and identity. Despite great efforts only one adopted clinician was recruited to the study; therefore the original research question provided valuable insight on self-disclosure in clinical practice and suggested directions for future research.




ii, 68 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma. 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 56-58)