Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychotherapist and patient, Self-disclosure-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapy patients-Attitudes, Self-disclosure


This quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional study investigated whether the client prefers therapist self-disclosure or therapist non-disclosure during a therapeutic session. In addition, it examined whether the client's preference varied by demographic characteristics. Self-disclosure was limited to therapist self-revealing disclosures which are verbal revelations of a therapist's private life (e.g., experiences, religious beliefs) that are shared in-session with the client. Using a convenience sampling method, sixty adult respondents who had been clients between 2007 and 2012 were selected to provide demographic information and their preference for therapist self-disclosure on 36 close-ended questions. The survey was distributed using the snowball method and SurveyMonkey. Prior analogue studies hypothesized that clients preferred therapist self-disclosure during a therapeutic session. This study did not substantiate those findings. It found that a specific population of actual clients prefers therapist non-disclosure of self-revealing information. Caucasian women with advanced educational degrees who have depression, anxiety, and/or relationship issues prefer therapist non-disclosure. Since these findings reflected the preference of a specific sample, they are not generalizable to a more diverse population. Future research is warranted to explore the preference for therapist self-disclosure by a larger, diverse demographic sample of actual clients.




iv, 71 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 58-61)

Limited Access until August 2017