Self-disclosure is a process of communication by which one person reveals information about themself to another. The information can be descriptive or evaluative, and can include thoughts, Intimacy in these relationships can develop only if the persons involved reciprocate disclosures. Intimacy will not develop if only one. Intimate. Relationships. Knowledge of yourself and the other person is basic to an intimate relationship. If you are both willing to disclose your true selves, the relationship deepens. If one or both of you keep large parts withheld, the relationship will be It takes energy to keep important information about yourself hidden. appeal of intimacy (disclosure) in services on—empathizing with me during the set-backs, and celebrating the The extent to which an intimacy appeal can be successful in .. “just as the interest in human potential has given rise to information promise a satisfying relationship (with guarantees).
Spouses feel responsible, in that they need to be responsive to their partners' self-disclosures, more so than they feel obligated to respond to the disclosures of people in their other relationships. The results show that the actual disclosures in the process of self-disclosure may not be the only factors that facilitate intimacy in relationships. Husbands' intimacy was most strongly predicted by self-disclosure, while perceived responsiveness to disclosure was the stronger predictor for wives' feelings of intimacy with their husbands.
Those who think their husbands are not sharing enough are likely to break up sooner. This finding links to the idea of positive illusions in relationship studies.
On the other hand, wives are thought to value more the feelings of being understood and validated by their husbands' responsiveness to their disclosures, and this is the more important factor in their feelings of intimacy in their marriages.
Similarly, the wives who rated their global satisfaction highest also had higher levels of daily intimacy. Greater marital satisfaction was found among those who had the higher ratings of intimacy. Further, couples with high levels of demand-withdraw communication rated their average daily intimacy as much lower.
This suggests a relationship between one's overall marital satisfaction and the amount of intimacy in a relationship, though no causation can be proven with the present research.
Likewise, less intimacy leads to more negative disclosures between partners. The breadth of disclosure decreases with decreasing intimacy as originally predicted, but couples actually disclose more deeply.
It is speculated that these results come about because a strained relationship causes spouses to restrict their topics of communication breadthbut that they are also more willing to discuss deeply intimate subjects: Thus, while they are sharing more deeply, it is mostly in a negative light.
The researchers then speculated that people might actually avoid disclosing very personal facts in the most satisfying relationships because they are fearful that their positive relationships will be negatively affected.
It is suggested that at this stage partners know each other quite well and are very satisfied with what they communicate already. Some speculate that disclosures and their respective responses from a spouse lead to intimacy between the partners, and these exchanges accumulate into global and positive evaluations of the relationship by the couple.
In support, studies show that couples who report greater levels of intimacy in self-reports of their daily interactions are also those who report increased global relationship functioning in their marriages.
As a group gets larger, people become less willing to disclose. Research has shown that individuals are more willing to disclose in groups of two than in larger groups and are more willing to disclose in a group of three rather than four.
The actual disclosures mimic the willingness to disclose as individuals disclose more in pairs than they do in the larger groups. There are also gender differences in disclosure depending on group size.
Men feel more inhibited in dyads, match the intimacy of the disclosure from their partner, and do not offer more information. Women, on the other hand, feel more inhibited in larger groups and disclose more personal information in dyads. Self-disclosure by the therapist is often thought to facilitate increased disclosure by the client, which should result in increased understanding of the problem at hand.
It helps to acknowledge the therapeutic relationship as a fundamental healing source,  as an alliance between client and therapist is founded on self-disclosure from both parties. In some respects it is similar to modeling appropriate social behavior. Establishing common interests between therapists and clients is useful to maintain a degree of reality. Immediate disclosure shows positive views of the therapeutic process in which the two are engaging and communicates self-involving feelings and information about the therapist's professional background.
Many see the benefits of this type of disclosure. Non-immediate disclosure, however, is the revealing of more about the therapist than his or her professional background and includes personal insight.
This type is rather controversial to psychologists in the present day; many feel it may be more detrimental than it is beneficial in the long-run, but there are significant findings that contradict this claim as well.
Direct disclosures grant the client information about personal feelings, background, and professional issues. Indirect disclosures are those not explicitly granted, such as pictures on the therapist's desk and walls or wearing his or her wedding band. The most common reasons are: The preferred therapeutic approach and the effectiveness of treatments are two of the most common.
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Many also reveal their views of raising children, stress-coping methods, items that convey respect for the client, and emotions that will validate those the client has expressed. Anecdotes about sexual attraction, dreams, and personal problems seem to be disclosed to subjects with the least frequency by therapists. Early psychodynamic theorists strongly disagreed with the incorporation of therapist self-disclosure in the client-therapist relationship.
Ferenczi notably maintained his belief that self-disclosure was of the utmost importance in children's therapy for traumas in that a neutral, flat therapist would only cause the child to relive the trauma.
Self-theorists believe much the same as object-relations theorists. Intersubjective and relational schools of thought encourage disclosure due to its ability to bring subjectivity into therapy, which they deem a necessary element to real healing. They maintain that therapeutic relationships cannot be initiated and changed without intentional disclosures from both therapist and client. Humanistic theorists want to trigger personal growth in clients and feel that a strong relationship with a therapist is a good facilitator of such, so long as the therapist's disclosures are genuine.
Seeing that weakness and struggle are common among all people, even therapists, is useful to clients in the humanistic therapy setting. In order for existential psychologists to help clients, they try to disclose their own coping methods to serve as sources of inspiration to find one's own answers to questions of life.
For therapists who value feminismit is important to disclose personal feelings so that their clients have total freedom to choose the correct therapist and to eliminate power fights within the therapeutic setting. The ever-popular cognitive-behavioral approach also encourages disclosure in therapy so that clients can normalize their own thoughts with someone else's, have their thoughts challenged, and reinforce positive expectations and behaviors.
Clearly, today's therapists are mostly supportive of disclosure in therapy, as the early psychoanalytic taboo of such is slowly being overridden through the recognition of many schools of thought. Most identify the benefit of self-disclosures in facilitating rewarding relationships and helping to reach therapeutic goals.
Certain types of disclosures are almost universally recognized as necessary in the early stages of therapy, such as an explanation of the therapeutic approach to be used and particular characteristics of the therapist. It is thought that disclosing the details of a traumatic experience can greatly help with the organization of related thoughts, and the process of retelling is itself a method of healing.
An understanding between therapist and client is achieved when the client can share his or her perceptions without feeling threatened by judgments or unwanted advice. Further, expressing emotions lessens the toll of the autonomic nervous system and has been shown in several studies to improve overall physical health in this way.
The Pennebaker Writing Disclosure Paradigm is a method commonly used in therapy settings to facilitate writing about one's experiences.How To Fix Your Relationship - The Art of Feminine Surrender
Exposure theory also offers support in that reliving and talking about a negative event should help the negative affect to be more accepted by the individual overtime through extinction. Supported heavily is the idea of mutuality: The modeling hypothesis suggests that the client will model the disclosures of the therapist, thereby learning expression and gaining skills in communication.
Some argue for the reinforcement model, saying that the use of self-disclosure by therapists is purely to reinforce self-disclosure in their clients. Lastly, the social exchange hypothesis sees the relationship between client and therapist as an interaction that requires a guide: Studies have also shown the disadvantageous effects of keeping secretsfor they serve as stressors over time.
Self-Disclosure and Interpersonal Communication
Concealing one's thoughts, actions, or ailments does not allow a therapist to examine and work through the client's problem. Unwanted, recurrent thoughts, feelings of anxiousness and depressionsleeping problems, and many other physiological, psychological, and physical issues have been seen as the results of withholding important information from others.
Therapy sessions for personality disordersbehavior disordersimpulse control disordersand psychotic disorders seem to use therapist self-disclosure far less often. Their likability was increased by their willingness to disclose to their clients. The three dimensions mentioned have been said to be of utmost importance when determining one's likability. Additionally, a therapist who discloses too frequently risks losing focus in the session, talking too much about himself or herself and not allowing the client to actually harvest the benefits of the disclosures in the session through client-focused reflection.
Research shows that "soft" architecture and decor in a room promotes disclosure from clients. This is achieved with rugs, framed photos, and mellow lighting.
It is thought that this environment more closely imitates the setting in which friends would share feelings, and so the same might be facilitated between counselor and client. Further, a room should not be too crowded nor too small in order to foster good disclosures from the client  Effectiveness[ edit ] The efficacy of self-disclosure is widely debated by researchers, and findings have yielded a variety of results, both positive and negative.
A typical method of researching such ideas involves self-reports of both therapists and clients. The evaluations of therapists on the positive effects of their own disclosures is far less positive than that of clients' self-reports.
Clients are especially likely to assert that the disclosures of their therapists help in their recovery if the disclosures are perceived as more intimate in content. Much of these results, however, are linked to how skilled the therapist is in disclosing.
Therapists must choose wisely in what they disclose and when. A client who is suffering greatly or facing a horrific crisis is not likely to benefit much from therapist self-disclosures. If a client at any point feels he or she, should be acting as a source of support to the therapist, disclosure is only hindering the healing process. Further, clients might become overwhelmed if their initial ideas of therapy do not include any degree of self-disclosure from their counselor, and this will not lead to successful therapy sessions either.
It is also a risk to reveal too much about a therapist because the client may begin to see the healer as flawed and untrustworthy. Clients should not feel like they are in competition for time to speak and express themselves during therapy sessions. The American Psychological Association supports the technique, calling it "promising and probably effective".
Using "I" statementsa therapist emits a certain level of care not otherwise felt by many clients, and they are likely to benefit from this feeling of being cared for. In cases of a therapist needing to provide feedback, self-involving statements are nearly inevitable, for he or she must state a true opinion of what the client has disclosed.
These sorts of "I" statements, when used correctly and professionally, are usually seen as especially validating by clients. Largely, the use of self-involving statements by therapists is seen as a way of making the interaction more authentic for the client, and such exchanges can have a great impact on the success of the treatment at hand.
Spouses are encouraged, or even required, to disclose unexpressed emotions and feelings to their partners. The partners' responses are practiced to be nonjudgmental and accepting.
Therapists utilize techniques like rehearsal and the teaching of listening skills. Some fear that this is of little long-term help to the couple because in their real lives, there is no mediator or guiding therapist's hand when one is disclosing to another. Goals like these, as reported by young people fairly universally, can affect how they disclose to their parents to a large degree.
Some go so far as to use the rate of self-disclosure between parents and children as a dominant measure of the strength of their relationship and its health. When information is withheld, distance is created and closeness is nearly impossible to facilitate.
Teens pick and choose what to tell their parents, thus limiting their control over the teens' daily activities. Adolescents' unique preferences and interests are expressed. If these vary from their parents', they establish an identity of their own.
Thus, they moderate their parents' potential reactions. Because of this, it is important for parents to be aware of how they react to their children's disclosures, for these reactions will be used as judgment calls for the children's' future sharing. Other times a reason is that the children do not want their parents to worry about them, and this is called parent-centered disclosures. Doing so creates a sense of intimacy between the two of you that is crucial to a lasting and loving relationship.
After a while, though, it may seem like your lover may know everything about your childhood and past experiences and vice versa. That is when disclosing information between one another is more important than ever; express the chain of emotions you feel throughout the day or odd things that may have happened on your way to work.
Giving your partner insight into the littlest details of your life will strengthen your intimacy and love for another, no matter how long, or little, you guys have been together. People and situations are always changing, so it is crucial that you and your partner remain up-to-date on the details and adventures of each other's lives. There is nothing more intimate than truly knowing your loved one and giving them support and guidance during major moments in their life.
Do Something Together Nothing builds intimacy and makes you and your partner feel closer than ever like doing something new together. Whether it be a cooking class, throwing a holiday party, or taking a nice vacation together, it is important that you create occasions where you feel as a collective "us," instead of individuals.
The overall goal here is to focus on producing something together, as a team. Relying on one another and working to each other's strengths and weaknesses can create an intimate bond that draws you two even closer. Do something nice for friends and family, or choose to own a pet, as long as the two of you find yourselves in sync and working towards the same goal.
It is crucial to remember at all times that you guys are on the same team. All relationships entail the occasional disagreement and arguments when planning or undergoing a task, and far too often do couples end up pitted against one another as enemies, or opponents.
Self-disclosure - Wikipedia
It is in these moments that you must remember why you chose to do this together and that you are both on the same team, wanting the same thing. And many times, that "want" is ultimate happiness between the two of you.
Appreciate The Little Things Not only should you and your lover ultimately be on the same team, but you should also be their biggest fan. Being your lover's biggest fan entails supporting them through anything, and praising them for their efforts -- no matter the outcome.
Theories of Self-Disclosure Social penetration theory Theory that states we engage in a reciprocal process of self-disclosure that changes in breadth and depth and affects how a relationship progresses. Depth refers to how personal or sensitive the information is, and breadth refers to the range of topics discussed.
Kathryn Greene, Valerian J. Vangelisti and Daniel Perlman Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,— Social penetration theory compares the process of self-disclosure to peeling back the layers of an onion. Balancing a dialectic is like walking a tightrope.
You have to lean to one side and eventually lean to another side to keep yourself balanced and prevent falling. The constant back and forth allows you to stay balanced, even though you may not always be even, or standing straight up. One of the key dialectics that must be negotiated is the tension between openness and closedness. Cambridge University Press, We want to make ourselves open to others, through self-disclosure, but we also want to maintain a sense of privacy. We may also engage in self-disclosure for the purposes of social comparison.
Social comparison theory Theory that states we evaluate ourselves based on how we compare with others. Owen Hargie, Skilled Interpersonal Interaction: Research, Theory, and Practice London: Routledge, We may disclose information about our intellectual aptitude or athletic abilities to see how we relate to others.
This type of comparison helps us decide whether we are superior or inferior to others in a particular area. Disclosures about abilities or talents can also lead to self-validation if the person to whom we disclose reacts positively. By disclosing information about our beliefs and values, we can determine if they are the same as or different from others. Last, we may disclose fantasies or thoughts to another to determine whether they are acceptable or unacceptable. We can engage in social comparison as the discloser or the receiver of disclosures, which may allow us to determine whether or not we are interested in pursuing a relationship with another person.
The final theory of self-disclosure that we will discuss is the Johari window, which is named after its creators Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. National Press Books, The Johari window Concept that can be applied to a variety of interpersonal interactions in order to help us understand what parts of ourselves are open, hidden, blind, and unknown.
To help understand the concept, think of a window with four panes. As you can see in Figure 6. The upper left pane contains open information that is known to us and to others. The amount of information that is openly known to others varies based on relational context. When you are with close friends, there is probably a lot of information already in the open pane, and when you are with close family, there is also probably a lot of information in the open pane.
The information could differ, though, as your family might know much more about your past and your friends more about your present. The bottom left pane contains hidden information that is known to us but not to others. By doing this, we decrease the size of our hidden area and increase the size of our open area, which increases our shared reality.
The reactions that we get from people as we open up to them help us form our self-concepts and also help determine the trajectory of the relationship. If the person reacts favorably to our disclosures and reciprocates disclosure, then the cycle of disclosure continues and a deeper relationship may be forged.
The upper right pane contains information that is known to others but not to us. For example, we may be unaware of the fact that others see us as pushy or as a leader.
Looking back to self-discrepancy theory from Chapter 2 "Communication and Perception"we can see that people who have a disconnect between how they see themselves and how others see them may have more information in their blind pane. Engaging in perception checking and soliciting feedback from others can help us learn more about our blind area. The bottom right pane represents our unknown area, as it contains information not known to ourselves or others.
To become more self-aware, we must solicit feedback from others to learn more about our blind pane, but we must also explore the unknown pane. To discover the unknown, we have to get out of our comfort zones and try new things. We have to pay attention to the things that excite or scare us and investigate them more to see if we can learn something new about ourselves.
By being more aware of what is contained in each of these panes and how we can learn more about each one, we can more competently engage in self-disclosure and use this process to enhance our interpersonal relationships. Facebook and Twitter offer convenient opportunities to stay in touch with friends, family, and coworkers, but are people using them responsibly?