Let me tell you what I think - A critical analysis of therapeutic self-discolosures,


Frankel, M. & Johnson, M. J.


Client-centered therapists prior to 1957 did not offer self- disclosures or their views of the client's narrative even when requested to do so. The client-centered therapist did not interpret, advise or offer personal opinions or judgments. The self that engaged in ordinary conversation was not present. In this way the therapy bore no resemblance to any other helping relationship. In stark contrast, person-centered therapists are encouraged to offer their reactions to the client when appropriate. Indeed, person-centered therapists view themselves as more authentic "real persons" only if they are willing on occasion to disclose their thoughts and feelings. The self who engages in ordinary conversation is present. Despite these differences person-centered therapists claim that they have not restored the authority of the therapist. Indeed they insist they meet the client more on a person to person basis than the client-centered therapist. Brodley, more than perhaps Rogers himself, deeply appreciated that the autonomy of the client's narrative could be seriously undermined by any personal disclosures of the therapist. However even she justified the inclusion of the therapist's expression of feelings in certain contexts. This paper challenges Brodley’s justifications and shows that therapist framed responses do indeed run the risk of undermining the client's autonomy. The paper further proposes that the distinction between personal and therapeutic self-disclosures is a category mistake. Therefore, client-centered and person-centered therapies are not viewed as two tribes belonging to the same nation but two distinct nations.

Keywords: client-centered therapy, person-centered therapy, category mistake, self-disclosures, empathic reflections, empathic understanding responses.