A phenomenological exploration into the personal experience and impact of therapist self-disclosure on the therapist

Marais, Genevieve (2019) A phenomenological exploration into the personal experience and impact of therapist self-disclosure on the therapist. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute.

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Abstract

Extensive research has been carried out on self-disclosure within the therapeutic relationship. The emphasis remains on disclosure offering therapeutic benefit for the client. Thus, the therapist primarily enters the therapeutic space in the service of healing for the client. However, it may be that they too (therapists) in their position as a ‘wounded healer’ (Jung, 1993) receive some relief, benefits, or discomforts to themselves regarding their unresolved deficits, traumas and emotional injuries as a result of their shared self-disclosures. Researching this topic highlighted a potential gap in this area, namely what was the impact and personal experience of therapist self-disclosure on the disclosing therapist? A Qualitative methodology encompassing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) felt appropriate as it allowed for non-intrusive enquiries whilst giving participants the flexibility and freedom to share their individual, unique findings and meaning-making in their purest form (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). This study was interested in exploring the impact and experience of therapist self-disclosure on the disclosing therapist. A sample size of five therapists was interviewed. The participants’ subjective and personal experiences of this phenomenon were explored and investigated via an in-depth, semi-structured interview. The data analysis and interpretation of the data produced three master themes: firstly, ‘what is self-disclosure’ - exploring the complexities involved in this phenomenon. The second master theme, ‘risks involved in therapist self-disclosure’ focused on explorations into professional and relationship risks. The final master theme explored ‘the personal impact and experience of therapist self-disclosure on the disclosing therapist’. This involved the emotional and psychological impact of therapist self-disclosure on the therapist, power awareness, the therapist’s use of self and the therapist as a ‘wounded healer’. This study highlighted the importance of therapists remaining cognisant of the complexities involved in therapist self-disclosure and its impact upon them (and by implication the client). In this way, they may honour the duality existing within this phenomenon. The findings highlighted that therapists are indeed impacted on a personal level by their self-disclosures. Thus, training programmes and supervision need to give greater focus to and guidelines for the use of therapist self-disclosure in relation to trainees and newly qualified therapists as these aspects all have implications for better practice, self-care, training and ethics.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 28163
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 11:44
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2020 10:11
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28163

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