Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Testing the Influence of Counselors' Self-Disclosure in Career Counseling: Does the Content of the Disclosure Matter?
by Sendrowitz, Kerrin A., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2011, 111; 3488301
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the degree to which counselor self-disclosure influenced the process and outcome of career counseling. The investigation was a one-session field intervention that used an experimental between-groups design, in which clients were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) coping-mastery self-disclosure: the career counselor disclosed having personally experienced a similar career-related challenge and described how he or she overcame that challenge, (2) similarity self-disclosure: the career counselor disclosed having personally experienced a similar career-related challenge, without describing how he or she overcame the challenge, and (3) no self-disclosure. The dependent variables were clients’ perceptions of the working alliance, the counselors’ social influence characteristics (expertness, attractiveness and trustworthiness), and session effectiveness.

Participants included 158 students who requested career counseling from the career services center at a northeastern university. Given the recent empirical support for modeling as a critical ingredient in career interventions (cf. Brown & Ryan Krane, 2000; Ryan, 1999), as well as the considerable support for self-disclosure in personal-social counseling and psychotherapy, it was hypothesized that when compared to the similarity self-disclosure and no self-disclosure, the use of coping-mastery self-disclosure would be associated with the most favorable client perceptions of the working alliance, the counselor’s social influence, and effectiveness of the session. Second, when compared to no self-disclosure, the similarity self-disclosure would be associated with more favorable client perceptions of the working alliance, the counselor’s social influence characteristics, and effectiveness of the session.

The primary hypotheses were not supported, with that the presence or type of self-disclosure had no significant influence on the total scores of the three dependent measures. However, post-hoc analyses indicated that self-disclosure had a significant impact on the clients’ perceptions of counselor-client goal agreement. Specifically, analyses revealed significant differences between the influence of coping mastery self-disclosure and no self-disclosure on the goal subscale of the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI-S; Tracey & Kokotovic, 1989). These results provided some support for the original hypotheses. Post-hoc analyses also revealed significant relationships among all dependent variables, which underscore the importance of the working alliance and perceptions of counselors in effective career counseling.

Although limitations are noted, the results of the present study are significant for several reasons. First, no previous study of any type of design was located that simultaneously examine self-disclosure, the working alliance, the counselors’ social influence characteristics, and session effectiveness. Second, because the present study is an investigation of actual career counseling, drawing conclusions from the results and generalization to other career counseling settings can be done with greater confidence.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jome, LaRae M.
Commitee: Friedlander, Myrna L., Miller, Matthew J.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Counseling Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Occupational psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Career counseling, Intervention, Self-disclosure, Working alliance
Publication Number: 3488301
ISBN: 9781267081919
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