Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Countertransference (Psychology), Self-disclosure, Subconscious, Countertransference, Unconscious self-disclosure, Self-revelation, Unwitting self-disclosure


Unconscious countertransference disclosures (UCDs) are a unique kind of self-disclosure explored peripherally in the current literature. This exploratory study placed UCDs in the context of self-disclosure and countertransference as they have evolved conceptually over time. Thirteen participants, recruited through snowball sampling, responded to the focusing question: How do clinicians make meaning of unconscious countertransference disclosure? During a one-hour face to face interview participants responded to this question from the point of view of clinician and client. Consistent with what one might expect, participants attributed clients knowing what they had not consciously been told on a spectrum from the concrete (non-verbal cues) to the more metaphysical (spiritual or unconscious communications). Though it makes sense, it was an unexpected finding to hear participants consistently describe the type of client with which they were working, specifically clients with a trauma history, as a way to explain UCDs. This study also surfaced how challenging it can be for clinicians to work with UCDs as they can be "terrifying." Finally, research of clinical pairs (client and clinician) could further the understanding of the impact UCD's have on the therapeutic process and therapeutic outcomes.




iii, 61 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 46-48)