Is Psychotherapy More Effective When Therapist

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Is Psychotherapy More Effective When Therapist Disclose Information



Is Psychotherapy More Effective When Therapist Disclose Information About Themselves?


In the world of psychology therapist raise a question whether or not they should disclose personal information during psychotherapy.  Several therapists have suggested that therapist self-discloser can have a positive impact on treatment. From this view, self-discloser by the therapists may elicit greater discloser by the client enhancing the possibilities for client self-exploration(e.g., Bugental, 1965, chap.  7; Jourad, 1971, chap. 17; Strassberg, Roback, DAntonio & Gable, 1977).  In addition, self-discloser is thought to encourage an atmosphere of honesty and understanding between client and therapist, fostering a stronger and more effective therapeutic relationship).  However many other therapist disagrees with that statement. They reply  psychodynamic theorist since Freud have generally regarded therapist self-disclosure as detrimental to treatment because it might interfere with the therapeutic process, shifting the focus of therapy away from the client(e.g., see cutis, 1982b; Freud, 1912/1958; Greenson, 1967, chap.  3). In addition, it is argued  that therapist self-discloser may adversely affect treatment outcome by exposing therapist weakness or vulnerabilities, thereby undermining client trust in the  therapist(e.g., see cutis, 1982b, 1981)


According to the journal These differences in identifying therapist self-disclosures may be of importance in the evaluation of their impact on treatment. For example, theoretical concerns about therapist self-discloser have emphasized the risk of shifting the focus of therapy away from the client.  However when therapist self-disclose, are in direct response to comparable client disclosers the presumed risk of alerting the focus of treatment is likely to reduced.



The study: clients
There are a total of 36 clients that participated in the study, 15 being men and 21 being women. All of the clients requested therapy and also the clients are over the age of 18.  Exclude from the study were clients exhibiting sings of psychotic behavior, disoriented thinking, or neurological impairment.  The mean age of the clients is 27, the range 18-42. The client presenting problem included issues such as depression, social or performance anxiety, relationship conflicts or lack of impulse control.  None of the client where aware of the study.  

The study: therapists
There were a total of 18 therapists that participated in the study 7 being men and 11 being women.  The mean age of the therapist is 28.5, the range is 22 42. All were doctoral students who had completed at least 2 years of clinical training (m= 3.6 years


,range 2-5 years). Before beginning the study, the therapist had conducted a mea of 1,319 hr of therapy (Mdn = 950 hr, range =400-5,000 hr).  

The study is scheduled one therapist for every two client. The therapists are separated in three parts of self-discloser 1-none, 2-mild, and 3-extreme.  Six psychology undergraduate students, who had not been informed of the treatment conditions, were trained to listen audiotapes of the therapy sessions and rate the frequency, duration and intimacy of disclosures that occurred during treatment. To prepare them for the reading task and judge the intimacy of each discloses.    The client judge their improvement in a 9 point scale 1- none, 3- little, 5- fair amount, 7- great amount, and 9- very great amount.
The study
Table I: Means for client measures in the increased and limited discloser conditions

Disclosure Condition
MEASUREIncreasedLimitedMSEF (1,15)  ofDifference
Therapist disclosure4.32.62.008.50*
Symptom distress1.61.90.117.40*
Liking for therapist6.75.71.126.30*





Table II:  mean number of therapist and client self-disclosures per treatment session in the increased and limited disclosure condition
Disclosure Condition
Source of disclosureIncreasedLimitedMSEF (1,15)  ofDifference
Therapist4.92.34.3013.18*
Client63.064.744.740.57

Table III:  mean levels of intimacy for therapist and client self-disclosures in the increased and limited disclosure condition
Disclosure Condition
Source of disclosureIncreasedLimitedMSEF (1,15)  ofDifference
Therapist2.62.00.268.87
Client3.63.60.100.03

The study: Results
According to the study therapist self-disclosure can influence the outcome of psychotherapy. When therapists were instructed to increase their level of self-disclosure, the clients they treated reported greater reduction in symptom distress than did comparable clients from whom therapist limited their level of disclosure. In addition



clients with reductions of symptoms distress, clients also liked their therapist more when therapist disclosed was increased.
My views

There is from the result of the clients and the observers it can be said that when a therapist even attempt to build a relation ship with a client, the client will be affected negatively or positive. However, I question whether I would want my