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An exploration of South Asian clients' experiences of therapist self-disclosure in individual therapy

Patel, S. (2016). An exploration of South Asian clients' experiences of therapist self-disclosure in individual therapy. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


South Asians' (SA) under-representation in mental health services is well-documented (Bowl, 2007; Greenwood et al., 2000), the reasons for which are many. Therapist self-disclosure (TSD) could be considered as a potentially significant part of a therapeutic encounter when providing effective therapy in a culturally diverse society. This study will attempt to explore SA participants’ subjective experiences of TSD in individual therapy. The study will attempt to discover how the participants make meaning of TSD, how they experience it and the impact it has on them and the TR. The majority of studies exploring TSD have been mainly quantitative in nature; however, a case can be made for using a qualitative approach as it provides a more detailed representation of the experience and allows for an in-depth understanding of the complexity and content of self-disclosure. Six SA participants aged between 24-33 years completed semi-structured interviews which were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the interview data: Understanding of therapist self-disclosure, Experience of therapist self-disclosure, Impact of therapist self-disclosure on self, and Impact of therapist self-disclosure on the therapeutic relationship. A compelling ‘connection’ dimension permeated throughout the accounts and their experience was found to be fundamentally relational in nature. The findings of this study put forward that TSD is but one way of facilitating client self-disclosure, and fostering and maintaining the TR within a cross-cultural counselling context for SA clients. A rich description of the SA client group experience of TSD in individual therapy is therefore presented. It is argued that the study provides insights into this lived experience that may be useful for counselling psychologists when working with this group, and perhaps other BME groups attending therapy. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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