Congruence Of Counselor Self Disclosure And Perceived Effectiveness

2081 words - 9 pages

The first research article I read for this assignment was Congruence of Counselor Self-Disclosure and Perceived Effectiveness by Scott J. Nyman, and Timothy K. Daugherty. This journal article documents an empirical study conducted by Scott Nyman and Timothy Daugherty examining the effect of counselor self-disclosure on the relationship between counselor and client.
Counselors and researchers differ in their opinions regarding the use of self-disclosure. Some consider it a means to establishing a more effective relationship with patients, especially those from “diverse backgrounds or alternate lifestyles”(Nyman p.269) While others view counselor self-disclosure as having “potentially hazardous patient outcomes” (Nyman p.270). They argue self- disclosure by the counselor “can burden the client with too much information and have a negative effect on the self exploration of the client”(Nyman, p. 270). They also claim counselor self-disclosure may have the potential to cause the client to lose his perceived sense of safety and trust in the counselor and in an extreme case, result in iatrogenesis by causing the client to recall a traumatic situation suffered in the past and ”jeopardize the counseling outcome” (Nyman, p. 270).
On the positive side, a study of long- term psychotherapy patients conducted by Knox, Hess, Peterson, and Hill in 1997, determined that counselor self-disclosure was seen by patients as being very positive and described their counselors as “real, human, and the relationship balanced” (Nyman p. 270). In addition other studies have found that “high self-disclosing counselors were viewed as being more expert and trustworthy than low self-disclosing counselors” (Nyman, p.270).
Although research regarding the effectiveness of counselor self-disclosure is conflicting, the results of some studies have led researchers to exam whether self-disclosure studies might point to the effectiveness of a specific self-disclosure. (Nyman, p.271). Surveys taken have shown the area of religion to be a credible subject for self -disclosure. “Of those surveyed, 83% of Americans stated that religion is important to them and 3 out of 4 respondents said they pray weekly.” (Nyman, p. 270). Based on these surveys, religion is considered a credible subject for self-disclosure.
This particular study, conducted by Nyman & Doherty, hypothesized that a counselor’s congruent personal self-disclosure (of a religious nature) makes a counselor appear to have more positive attributes, than an incongruent counselor making the same religious disclosure. (Nyman p. 271)
This study consisted of 67 participants between the ages of 17 and 21 years of age with a mean age of 18.82, the group included 24 men and 43 women, with 55 participants stating they were Caucasian and 12 stating they were of a non-Caucasian ethnicity. All were college students attending a United States university affiliated with the Lutheran Church. All...

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