Date of Award
Dissertation (Campus Access Only)
Doctor of Philosophy
Jeffrey S. Berman
Heidi M. Levitt
Neil E. Aronov
Gilbert R. Para
In an attempt to make sense of contradictory findings, meta-analysis was employed to examine the experimental research of therapist self-disclosure (TSD). Sixty studies were coded for six analyses--TSD vs. no-disclosure control, intra-therapy vs. extra-therapy TSD, similar vs. dissimilar TSD, positive vs. negative TSD, female vs. male participant receiving TSD, and female vs. male therapist disclosing. TSD was found to have a slight favorable overall impact on participants. Specifically, TSD had a slight to small impact favorable impact on participants' perception of the therapist, including that of the therapist's professional attractiveness; level of regard for, and similarity to, the client; and personal attributes. Additionally, participants rated themselves as slightly more willing to disclose to a disclosing therapist. Compared to extra-therapy TSD, intra-therapy TSD was found to have a slight to small favorable impact on participants' perception of the therapist; specifically, on the perception of the therapist's trustworthiness, expertness, and professional attractiveness. Compared to TSD that expressed dissimilarity to the client, similar TSD was found to have a small to robust favorable impact on participants' perception of the therapist, including perceptions of the therapist as a good therapist, of the therapist's level of regard for the client, and of the therapist's empathy, congruence, unconditionality, professional attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertness. Additionally, participants who received similar TSD were found to have a higher level of allegiance to the therapist and were more willing to return to the same or a similar therapist. Findings were mixed for positive vs. negative TSD, with positive TSD showing a small favorable impact on participants' perception of the therapist's trustworthiness and on therapy outcome, and negative TSD showing a robust favorable impact on participants' perception of the therapist's level of regard for the client. Gender--both of the participant and of the therapist--was not found to be related to the impact of TSD. Clinical implications include that TSD, generally, may be beneficial for building rapport and strengthening alliance, for modeling, and for eliciting client disclosure, and that intra-therapy TSD and TSD that expresses similarity to the client may be especially beneficial. Implications for future research are discussed.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Henretty, Jennifer Rae, "The Impact of Therapist Self-Disclosure on Clients: A Quantitative Review of the Experimental Research" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2344.