Considerations for Intentional Use of Self-Disclosure for Family Therapists

Carissa D’Aniello, Hoa N. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


One of the most debated ethical issues in psychotherapy is that of therapist self-disclosure. In this article, relevant marriage and family therapy literature on therapist self-disclosure will be presented. The influence of practice setting, particularly in training clinics and private practice, on therapist self-disclosure is discussed. A distinction is drawn between intentional and spontaneous self-disclosure. Risks for excessive self-disclosure become amplified in private practice, whereas training clinics are more likely to discourage the use of self-disclosure as a clinical technique. Literature presented is intended to demonstrate that advanced training settings and advanced practice settings hold disparate positions on the issue of self-disclosure. This gap between advanced training and advanced practice may leave therapists open to ethical vulnerabilities. Recommended steps toward intentional and ethical practice are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Family Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • Intentionality
  • marriage and family therapy
  • self-disclosure


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