Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Virginia Burks Salzer, PhD

Second Advisor

Kate Tresco, PhD

Third Advisor

Katherine Baker, PhD


The study presented in this document examined school-based mental health practitioners’ views regarding the use of self-disclosure (the sharing of personal information or thoughts with their clients) in their current practice. This study also collected school-based mental health practitioners’ opinions concerning their graduate-level training and other preparation related to the use of self-disclosure. Research questions investigated whether school-based mental health practitioners engaged in self-disclosure, whether participants viewed self-disclosure to be ethical, and if participants had utilized self-disclosure, did they believe their graduate-level training adequately prepared them to do so. Sixty-five school-based mental health practitioners, self-identifying as school psychologists, school counselors, and school workers, responded to the 25-question survey pertaining to the topic (plus nine demographic questions). The results demonstrate that participants do indeed engage in self-disclosure. Participants reported that they employed self-disclosure in order to accomplish specific goals. Questions regarding participants’ perceptions about the quality of the preparation their graduate-level training provided to employ self-disclosure yielded diverse results. Considering the variability of participants’ views about the preparation their graduate-level training provided for the use of self-disclosure, and the proportion of participants who acknowledged utilizing self-disclosure in practice, graduate programs should formalize training about self-disclosure for future school-based mental health practitioners. Standardized training in the use of self-disclosure as a clinical technique will help to ensure that future professionals self-disclose within ethical parameters. The results of this study lend support for continued research into the use of self-disclosure by school-based mental health practitioners.

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