Date of Conferral





Human Services


Lillian Chenoweth


Self-disclosure is used by feminist, humanistic, client-centered, and a variety of other counselors to build therapeutic alliances with clients. However, little research has been conducted on counselors' perceptions of their preparedness to use self-disclosure. This exploratory multiple-case study used attachment theory as a framework to explore the perceptions of novice licensed professional counselors' preparedness to use self-disclosure. The 12 participants who participated in face-to-face interviews practiced as licensed professional counselors in Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The participants described how they learned, practiced, and used self-disclosure. After analyzing interview data through cycle coding and peer review, themes emerged showing participants' life experiences, clinical practices, education, and supervision as having prepared them to use self-disclosure. Participants perceived they were prepared to use self-disclosure through their educational experience but primarily learned to self-disclose through trial-and-error. Participants reported learning to self-disclose by taking a chance and practicing the self-disclosure skill with clients after receiving their license. Professional counselors, supervisors, and counselor educators who are the gatekeepers for future counselors may use the study's findings to improve understanding of and training in self-disclosure. The findings can be used to enhance the training of how to prepare counselors to use self-disclosure, therefore, minimizing harm to the clients. Learning more about training counselors to use a skill that is of use with or without intent is of significance to the field of mental health counseling.