Men's reactions to variants of self-disclosure in male psychotherapists.
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In spite of the mounting evidence of the generally enhancing effects of therapist self-disclosure and the growing awareness of the critical role of gender as a mediating variable in psychotherapy, there has been little empirical research that examines self-disclosure as a gender-specific variable and no research incorporating the role of masculinity and male role orientation into this analysis. The aim of the current study was to explore self-disclosure as a process variable in psychotherapy with a male therapist-male client dyad to determine men’s preferences and ratings of different types of disclosure as well as to ascertain whether degree of gender role conflict influences how men rate self-disclosure. This study replicated and extended a former study by Jooma and Brooks (2011). Three-hundred male participants from an online sample watched an introductory clip of an analogue therapy session of a male counselor and male client. Afterwards, they watched and rated two disclosure approaches from the following: no self-disclosure (NSD), personal and intimate self-disclosure (PSD), and self-disclosure framed in a gender-context (GCSD). The study found that men prefer self-disclosure over non-disclosure, but that degree of client’s attachment to traditional male gender roles, as measured by the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRC), makes a difference in their ratings. Men with Low GRC stated that they would rather see a PSD therapist over an NSD therapist, while men with High GRC preferred a GCSD therapist. As opposed to non-disclosure, men with Low GRC found PSD to be more attractive and trustworthy, as measured by the Counselor Rating Form (CRF). Men with High GRC found GCSD to be more attractive and expert. Thus, it is found that in the male therapist-client dyad, therapist self-disclosure may be most clinically effective when appropriately matched to a man’s level of GRC.