The act of counselor self-disclosure has been regarded favorably by humanistic practitioners, while psychoanalytic figures have generally regarded the sharing of this type of information negatively. Counselor self-disclosure may be a useful means of eliciting reciprocal disclosure by the client or communicating that the counselor is willing to share therapeutic control with the client. In addition, self-disclosure can be used to help the client learn how he impacts on others and to normalize and support behaviors or feelings that the client may feel are unacceptable. By revealing information the counselor may be able to prime the client's expectations for changes; moreover, the counselor can manage the image he projects and derive personal benefit by discretely sharing aspects of himself. Different types of counselor disclosure can be identified in terms of their intimacy value, positive/negative value, and the degree to which the information is similar to the client's experience. Some types of counselor self-disclosure include demographic information, professional identity, world view, attitudes/beliefs, emotional responses, personal experiences, and counselor fantasies. The sharing of information by the counselor must be considered in light of the counselor's style, client expectations, and most importantly, the specific needs of the clients. (Author/NB)
Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).