Wk 2 Discussion – Self-Disclosure
Respond to classmate’s posts must be a minimum of 175 words:
Is self-disclosure an important component? Yes, but it has it’s time and place! Essentially, self-disclosure bonds the relationship between client and counselor. Along with not only unifying such relationship, it enables rapport to be built as well. If you think about it, trust is an important component in many individuals’ lives. This is something to be considerate of. If a person’s trust has been broken numerous times, they are less likely to be trustworthy of people they come in contact with.
Another form of “self-disclosure” that comes to mind happens in the informed consent portion of treatment. Informed consent involves providing honesty to guidelines one must abide by. I view this as a form of self-disclosure. Even though informed consent is required, I think this portion allows clients to see honesty given by their counselor and doesn’t leave them blindsided to the “can’s and cant’s” of treatment.
Going back to my response about self-disclosure having its time and place, is also relatable to why it’s essential to be mindful of such disclosure in the first place. We connect with people through our similarities. I believe this can be an effective tool used in the professional approach. With the stigma of mental illness, being vulnerable can be hard. However, sometimes it’s beneficial to know others (especially those you seek counsel from) also have suffered from relevant issues to yours, creating a likeness between the two. This is when I believe it is okay to disclose information, when it’s done mindfully to benefit the other person. Self-disclosure becomes harmful when a professionals discloses too much. Resulting in the client listening while the counselor does all the talking. Other forms of harmful disclosure involve: feelings of likeness between client and counselor spiral to inappropriate behaviors. Body language is huge, and sadly can be misused as a nonverbal form of self-disclosure. The actions of this may lead a professional to dual-relationships, intimate relationships, or causing harm to their client. Truthfully, disclosure is a complex topic. Being mindful of when and when not to share personal information is a tool needing practice each and every day.
The dangers of self disclosure are accurately summarized in your post. I want to note that I suggest that beginning counselors avoid self disclosure until experience is gained and a understanding of when and what type of self disclosure is appropriate. I have seen sessions with student counselors where a small insert of self disclosure took the session completely away from the client and then I could see the student counselor trying to ‘fix’ the area that had been self disclosed in the life the client – and we definitely want to avoid that.
The client’s problem: Joe has been married for eight years. Mary, his spouse, was his high school sweetheart. They married right after high school and had their first child. Four years ago, they had a second child. Both Joe and Mary believe they made a mistake in getting married so early. But they do still love each other. Lately they have found themselves talking about what it would have been like if they had dated other people before getting married. They have even considered a marital separation to test the strength of their love.
Develop an outline of questions that would assist you in identifying the following:
- Client feelings
- Client thoughts
- Client behaviors
- Client physical/somatic complaints
- Client interpersonal aspects