To Self-Disclose, or Not to Self-Disclose?

Ken Hardy on Why Not Self-Disclosing Can Hurt Therapy

Rich Simon

It’s no secret that the world has become a much more informal place than it was just a couple of decades ago; bosses and their employees can be personal friends, email has replaced handwritten invitations and thank-you letters, and in many offices, every day is Casual Friday.

So where does that leave the practice of psychotherapy? Long held under a shroud of formality for various ethical reasons, psychotherapy has had some growing pains in trying to adjust and adapt to the new laid-back way of life.

While it used to be unthinkable that a therapist would ever share any of their personal information with a client, Ken Hardy—director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships—now feels that a little self-disclosure is a good thing.

Watch the clip below from Ken’s session in our webcast series, Ethics in an Age of Informality, to hear him explain why not self-disclosing is a real detriment to the therapeutic process.


This is just one of the many ethical issues that will be covered in our new webcast series.

Ethics in an Age of Informality:
Protecting Yourself When Boundaries Blur

Click here for full course details


Here’s a preview of what each session in this series offers you:

  • Lisa Ferentz on Countertransference: Probing the Heart of Our Ethical Dilemmas
    Examine the personal issues that can lead therapists to violate boundaries using clips from the HBO series, In Treatment.

  • Mitchell Handelsman on Beyond Good Intentions: Positive Ethics with Difficult Clients
    Explore the principles of ethical excellence and how to maintain the highest standards even with your most challenging cases.

  • Mary Jo Barrett on The Ethically Attuned Therapist
    Learn how to effectively establish boundaries from the very first session.

  • Frederic Reamer on The Ambiguities of Ethical Practice: Defining Our Clinical Role and Its Limits
    Get a clear understanding of how to protect yourself from potential ethical violations when the issue isn’t black or white.

  • DeeAnna Nagel on The Ethics of Online Therapy
    Address the ethical questions that arise when offering therapy online.

  • Kenneth Hardy on The Ethics of Self Disclosure
    Examine the benefits and risks of being more transparent as a clinician.


Ethics in an Age of Informality
Series Begins December 3rd

Click here for full course details

Topic: Challenging Clients & Treatment Populations | Ethics

Tags: ethical issues | attuned therapist | boundaries | Countertransference | ethical issue | Ethical violation | Mary Jo Barrett | online therapy | psychotherapy | self-disclose | self-disclosure | therapist | therapist self disclosure | therapists | therapy

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1 Comment

Friday, May 9, 2014 10:57:45 PM | posted by Susan
Should self disclosure help the client or be fun for the therapist? I don't need to know that your son got sex over the weekend or that your wife might wish you made more money. But that 's what I heard. Wow. Such weird stuff. My husband and best friend said someone has to be sick to constantly have too talk about himself. There was so much he said that truly didn't matter. I wish I could get my money back. I called him twice about what happened. First I got an apology. When I called on the worst thing he did he didn't apologize. My hubby wants to know if his wife has any clue about the trash he talks to married women in his office. Kinda like being hit on a little at a time. Almost so little that one wouldn't know for sure. But no one needs to comment on my looks 5 different times. That's just bad news. Karma isn't kind. I'm sure he got what he needed some how. .