Therapist self-disclosure in cognitive-behavior therapy
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Although cognitive-behavior therapy emphasizes between-session change, therapist self-disclosure within the session can be an effective tool for strengthening the therapeutic bond and facilitating client change. After noting the use of self-disclosure in other theoretical orientations, we place self-disclosure in the context of cognitive-behavioral theories of reinforcement and modeling. Clinical vignettes illustrate the use of therapist self-disclosure to provide feedback on the interpersonal impact made by the client, enhance positive expectations and motivation, strengthen the therapeutic bond, normalize the client's reaction, reduce the client's fears, and model an effective way of functioning. Therapists need to observe appropriate boundaries when self-disclosing, and in particular, should consider their own motivations for self-disclosing. Although more research is needed on the effects of self-disclosure, cognitive-behavior therapists have found that self-disclosure can be a powerful intervention.
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