Self Disclosure in Heath Care

The main objective of human service professional is to help his clients. During assisting process, human services need to communicate very carefully with his/her client to establish the trust so that they can build up good relationship as a client and helper. It is obvious to client to disclose information about themselves to the human services with the hope to get solution for their problems. In such situation, as a human service professional, it is highly recommend to express warm empathy toward the client, but however self-disclosing to the client can be controversial and can shift focus from their client to themselves.

Alternatively, self-disclosing something to client as human service might help to express that human services understand the aspect of their client’s situation in that moment.

Ed Neukrug confirm that “Kileinke (1994) identifies two types of self-disclosure: content self-disclosure, in which the helper reveals information about himself or herself; and process self-disclosure, in which the helper reveals information about how he or she feels toward the client in the moment” (77).

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In the case of Maria, who has just diagnosed with cancer learns about her Navigator Sonya also went through the same situation then it can bring positive hope as Sonya can set a very good live example of cancer survival after facing the entire obstacles. If they can reveal where they came from and communicate in Spanish to seek a common ground to build up relationship then why not it is an appropriate as human service to confess her about her being diagnosed with cancer in the past? In addition, Lawrene Shulman state that “when clients experience the worker as a real person rather than mechanical, they can use the worker and the helping function more effectively… The client who does not know at all times where the worker stands will have troble trusting that worker’” (Knight).

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In other words, if Sonya discloses Maria about her past experience then she can take Sonya as a real person instead of only helper which will encourage Maria to trust her. Hence, Sonya should share her own personal information to help Maria as it help them both to build good relationship. Whereas, self-disclosure can bring negative effect to client if it is not properly handle. Sonya situation as helper should always give her first priority and focus to Maria rather than herself. According to Knight, “Critics argue that self-disclosure inevitably leads to boundary violations, transforming the professional relationship into a more personal one and discouraging transference, Furthermore, it is argued that self-disclosure reflects lack of self-awareness on the part of the clinician and is manifestation of counter transference”(2012). Therefore, as service professional, Sonya should be very careful while sharing her experiences to Maria. Otherwise, She can lose her focus on her client and make her feel that she approached the wrong person which might lead Maria to seek for other human professionals and move away from her willingness to deeper sharing information with Sonya, At the same time, if human service can hurt their client by sharing large proportional of information about her.

For example, If Sonya mention her treatment took her really long to cure from cancer then Maria can be overwhelms and discourage. Thus, the amount of self-disclosure should be proportionally delivered to client at the right time. Therefore, Sonya by sharing her own personal information could also hurt to Maria if she feels put off by Sonya’s focus on self and express her own personal problems. Satisfied clients are the true advertiser of any services provided by human services. Self-disclosing is one of the tools that help human services to build up relationship with his clients which alternatively help human services to maximize his clients in future. Self- disclosing information to client can enhance the worker’s professional attractiveness and the client’s trust in the worker and willingness to self-disclose and be honest (Knight).In other words, Self-disclosure to client helps to form good relationship to human services and assurance their clients that they care about them which indirectly assist human services to spread the rumor about how well he did his best to comes up with solution to help his clients.

Furthermore, Edwards, Murdock and Hanson confirmed that “[r]esarch also indicates that clinicians are particularly likely to self-disclose to client similarities and parallel experiences to convey empathy and understanding and to disclose their qualification and credential to convey reassurance. According to Knight, Barnet and Berman stated that [t]ransparency also has been found to enhance the client’s feelings to trust in the clinician, convey normalization, validation and understanding of client feelings and result in a lessening of symptom distress. Hence, it is also true that self-disclosure to the client is the method of showing her genuine and humankind toward client which indirectly help human services to increase his/ her popularity. Maroda also believed that the practice of staying in control at all the times in front of client likely to lose touch with who we really are (Knight). That means, due to excising not to disclose and control the feelings of human services can lead to change the person who we are. So, in a way, disclosing about Sonya cancer to Maria can bring benefit for Sonya as it help her to be herself and build up trust with Maria which help to increase her clients in future. Sonya as counselor, revealing about her cancer to Sonya can be great source of inspiration but Sonya might not feel the same way as Maria as it can take her to those painful memories which might ruin Sonya’s day.

Domenici and Guthrie stated that Self-disclosure has been criticized as being disruptive forces in the working relationship and has been questioned on the ethical ground (Knight). In other words, it means that it can generate disruptive environment to stay focus on the client issues where as a service professionals lead more difficult to take decision on ethical ground. Furthermore, when Internist Howard Beckman try to inspire older patients by talking about his active 80 years old mother who was worked great until she get 94 years. By then his clients get use of asking his mother and when he tells them about how she is struggling for her life then his patient began to worry about his mother and wonder how good doctor be if he is not even able to keep his own mother healthy ( Rubin). Similar to Sonya, if she reveals information about her personal life, then there are chances that Maria could misjudge her.

In my opinion, if the client feels the service professional as a real person who act as mechanical then they can come out with solution more effectively and efficiently. Even in the case of Maria, if Sonya reveal her past experiences with cancer then Maria can realize that she was also went through her problem and she knows her best about her situation which help to bring them together to come out good solution of the problem. In addition, Roger stated that “[the] client who doesn’t know all times where the worker stand will have trouble trusting that worker.

Furthermore, according to Knight, Roger also stated that “personal self-disclosure that is therapeutically relevant-akin to self-involving disclosure- encouraged client self-disclosure and trust and conveyed empathic understanding” (2012). In conclusion, Self-disclosure to client as service professional is not black and white. It depends how and when to reveal about themselves with full awareness about the consequences to the client for their benefits. So, self-disclosing about Sonya cancer to Maria can be beneficial if she is aware of what and how much proportions of information should be shared and its future consequences.

Cite this page

Self Disclosure in Heath Care. (2016, Sep 10). Retrieved from

Self Disclosure in Heath Care

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