1st Edition

Self-Disclosure in Psychotherapy

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ISBN 9781593853235
Published August 24, 2006 by Guilford Press
242 Pages

USD $39.00

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Book Description

Drawing on empirical research as well as theory and clinical experience, Barry A. Farber provides a highly readable examination of self-disclosure by both therapists and patients. He explores when sharing personal experiences is beneficial and what kinds of disclosure may not be helpful; why either party may fail to reveal important information; and how to use what is disclosed (and what is omitted) to strengthen the therapeutic relationship and improve patient outcomes. He also discusses the reasons why disclosure in therapy is currently such a prominent issue. Rich with clinical material, the book offers valuable insights for therapists of any orientation. A special chapter addresses self-disclosure issues in supervision.

Table of Contents

1. The Nature of Self-Disclosure
2. Clinical Perspectives on Patient Disclosure
3. Research Perspectives on Patient Disclosure
4. Patient Disclosure: The Outcome Controversy
5. Multicultural Perspectives on Patient Disclosure
6. Historical Perspectives on Therapist Disclosure
7. Research Perspectives on Therapist Disclosure
8. Clinical Perspectives on Therapist Disclosure
9. Supervisee and Supervisor Disclosure
10. Conclusions

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Barry A. Farber, PhD, received his degree in clinical psychology from Yale University. Currently, he is a Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has twice served as chair of the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department at Teachers College, and has been the program coordinator and director of training in the Clinical Psychology Program since 1990. Dr. Farber serves on the editorial boards of several professional journals, and maintains a small private practice of psychotherapy in Mamaroneck, New York. His three previous books include the coedited volume The Psychotherapy of Carl Rogers: Cases and Commentary. Dr. Farber has written articles on stress and burnout, psychological-mindedness, therapist and patient representations, career motivations of therapists, and the therapist as an attachment figure. He is currently working on a book about psychologically astute rock and roll lyrics.


This is the best book on psychotherapy I have read recently--it is incredibly well written and easy to read. Farber provides a much-needed integration of theory, research, and practice related to self-disclosure, which, he argues, is a fundamental component of the psychotherapy process. He places the current interest in self-disclosure in a historical and multicultural context, and offers compelling arguments about both the positive and negative reasons for, and impact of, self-disclosure. Farber is able to blend his clinical experience with psychotherapy research findings in a way that both complements and helps us go beyond previous knowledge on this topic. This book is 'must' reading for all clinicians and psychotherapy researchers.--Clara Hill, PhD, University of Maryland, College Park

Farber provides a refreshing, up-to-date review of the research on the effectiveness, purpose, benefits, advantages, and disadvantages of both patient and therapist self-disclosure. He offers a remarkable and significant perspective on the culture and changing nature of psychotherapy. For instance, therapist self-disclosure has become more common and accepted across disparate therapeutic orientations. This scholarly yet compassionate examination of a significant element in treatment is a valuable resource for graduate students to experienced professionals.--Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, past president, American Psychological Association Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology)

Compelling, thought-provoking, well written and well referenced, this text is a significant contribution. Accessible and chock full of clinical examples, it is bound to fuel discussion in a class on the practice of psychotherapy.--Suzanne Bender, MD, Harvard Medical School

Self-disclosure is a very hot, current topic. This well-written work is far more comprehensive than the usual contribution in the area. Rather than simply attending to clinical indications or contraindications for therapist disclosure, Farber considers the matter from the standpoint of the therapist, the patient, and the supervisee/supervisor dyad, and brings research as well as clinical considerations to his discussion. Clinical examples abound and add to the clarity of the work. Although the focus is on psychotherapy, there are also considerations from other areas of study, such as social psychology, and applications to the person outside of the therapy relationship. Various modalities and orientations are considered, and a welcome and unusual multicultural dimension is included.--George Stricker, PhD, American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Washington, DC

Hands down, the most thoughtful, penetrating, and practical book I have seen on self-disclosure in psychotherapy. Not since Sidney Jourard’s The Transparent Self has anyone seamlessly integrated clinical wisdom and empirical research on the quintessentially human desire to tell and the countervailing forces not to tell. Farber brilliantly addresses self-disclosure from therapist, patient, multicultural, and even supervisory perspectives. He embraces the complexity of self-disclosure while simultaneously augmenting our effective use of it. Bravo!--John C. Norcross, PhD, University of Scranton
An epic exploration of the whole topic: how people disclose, why they do it, how much they do it, how much they hold back, what effect it has on them, and who thinks what about it....The text approaches the subject from historical, clinical, research, and multicultural perspectives....Farber writes in an easily accessible style and enlivens the text with quotes and examples from contemporary songs and plays....I would recommend the book to anyone—whether trainee or experienced practitioner—who is interested in client/therapist relating.
--Therapy Today, 7/19/2006ƒƒ
Farber provides a tremendous service to the field by bringing together the extant literature in this area in his book, Self-disclosure in Psychotherapy....Farber's book provides a thoughtful and thorough review of what we know and what we do not know regarding self-disclosure in psychotherapy. The book is also very evenly balanced in terms of offering perspectives from different theoretical orientations....Both seasoned and beginning therapists as well as graduate students in psychology and other mental health professions would benefit from reading this thorough examination of self-disclosure in psychotherapy....Given the extensive review of the literature Farber provides and his suggestions for future work, this book will likely stimulate much needed research in this area.
--Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 7/19/2006ƒƒ
This book will be of interest to therapists, researchers, supervisors, and therapists-in-training. Farber's discussion of self-disclosure offers a nuanced perspective on the dilemmas involved in the process. By highlighting the features of self-disclosure across patients, therapists, supervisees, and supervisors, Farber enriches understanding of the phenomenon and encourages empathy for the perspectives of those in other roles....Farber has successfully synthesized work from various perspectives to create an illuminating review of self-disclosure in . The book condenses a broad range of literature into clearly organized and digestible chapters. The integration of research and theory with clinical vignettes, quotations from books and movies, and popular song lyrics make this work an unusually engaging and accessible read.
--Psychotherapy, 7/19/2006ƒƒ
Farber succeeds in creating an easily digestible work that is both readable and a compendium of research related to self-disclosure and psychotherapy. He displays an ability to draw conclusions to guide clinical practice from a diverse mix of research studies....An impressive, successful attempt to synthesize the major research on the impact of self-disclosure on the therapeutic process....It is a solid overview and is highly readable.
--PsycCRITIQUES, 7/19/2006