Depending upon one’s clinical orientation, the use of disclosure has a number of positive and negative implications. On one hand, disclosure may be seen as too personal as it is merely a projection onto the client and has the potential to cause harm if not managed appropriately and timely. On the other hand, when used properly, disclosure may allow for an enhanced sense of trust as the client and therapist are able to contextualize thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as humanize all participants within a therapeutic session. Modern sex therapists need to be aware of some of the potential challenges that may exist in making decisions about self-disclosing to clients. When disclosure happens in sex therapy or in supervision, there exists the possibility of creating a more impactful and meaningful experience for clients to see the reflection of themselves and develop the capacity for empathy, compassion, and deeper understanding of the presenting issue and their role.
The same holds true when supervisors make decisions to self-disclose to supervisees. Sex therapist supervisors have the opportunity to join with supervisees in profound ways that may enable the supervisee to re-enact disclosure and process clients feelings. Conceptualizing, embracing, and using countertransference can be tool of empowerment for supervisors and supervisees.
Two case studies will be presented that highlight the impact of self-disclosure in therapy and in sex therapy supervision.
By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
Discuss clinical settings where disclosure can be transformative and impactful for clients
List 2 benefits for engaging in self-disclosure
Describe 2 challenges for engaging in self-disclosure
Explain one affective experience when discussing sexuality issues