act of sharing personal information


Accidental Self-Disclosure

incidental or unplanned outside a session

Unavoidable Self-Disclosure

obvious distinguishing characteristics like race, clothing, etc.

Self initiated / Client initiated

Client seeks out information about their counselor on print or online media such as biographies, social media

Deliberate Counselor Self-Disclosure

disclosure of personal information that a counselor makes purposely to a client to build rapport


  1. Rapport Building
  2. Clients will feel more at ease when they get to know their counselor
  3. To help clients not think they are alone in their struggles
  4. Clients may be intimidated by counselor’s credentials and status

Risks of Self-Disclosure

  1. A shift in treatment focus away from the client’s needs and treatment
  2. Client may see excessive self-sharing as self-serving; dampens the relationship
  3. Can trigger a client