521 Therapist Self-Disclosure

Janine RobertsJanine Roberts • Saturday Afternoon
Not so long ago, it was a clinical taboo for a therapist to utilize personal self-disclosure in therapeutic work. But in our more egalitarian therapeutic era, many clinicians today believe in sharing their experiences with clients to demystify therapy and reduce the power differential between them. What’s too often overlooked in this emerging practice is that disclosures have the potential to both heal and harm. This workshop will explore the benefits and risks of self-disclosure through case histories, discussions, and role-playing. You’ll learn when therapist transparency is legitimate and useful, and when it can interrupt the flow of therapy, cross boundaries, and trigger a client’s fear that the therapist isn’t really “there” for him or her. We’ll explore the difficulties of self-disclosure in couples or family therapy, when each person in the room may respond differently, and you’ll leave with guidelines for making self-disclosure a safe, clinically helpful part of the therapeutic process.

Janine Roberts, Ed.D., professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is the author of Tales and Transformations and Rituals for Our Times.

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