Social Workers’ Attitudes Towards and Engagement in Self-Disclosure


This article reports on a study of social workers’ engagement in self-disclosure. Consistent with theory and research, participants
limited their use of personal self-disclosure but were more willing to be transparent with clients. Yet, the social workers
in this study did not always feel prepared by their education to appropriately engage in self-disclosure nor did they believe
their use of this skill was grounded in theory or research. Many of the participants also didn’t feel comfortable talking
about self-disclosure in supervision or with colleagues. Findings suggest that more attention should be devoted to teaching
social work students about appropriate use of self-disclosure, particularly its different manifestations and its indications
and contraindications. The findings also underscore the need for more open and direct discussion of this set of skills in
supervision and consultation.

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Original Paper
  • Pages 1-10
  • DOI 10.1007/s10615-012-0408-z
  • Authors
    • Carolyn Knight, School of Social Work, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
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