Client Concealment and Disclosure of Secrets in Outpatient Psychotherapy
Baumann, Ellen Christina
Hill, Clara E
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This study investigated client motivations for concealing versus disclosing secrets in therapy as well as how this negotiation process relates to therapeutic process and outcome. About half of the participants had both revealed a secret and were concealing a secret in therapy. Disclosed secrets were most likely to be related to relationships and were disclosed because the clients felt they could trust their therapists and because they thought they could benefit from sharing the secret. Concealed secrets were most likely to be sexual in nature and to be concealed due to shame or embarrassment. Clients initially experienced comparable levels of negative and positive emotions when they first disclosed their secret. However, over time, their feelings about the disclosure became more positive and less negative. Concealment was negatively related to the real relationship.