Is the paragraph below saying that when it comes to disclosing personal information, therapists shouldn't disclose their personal information OR shouldn't ask the client to disclose his/her personal information?

Advocates for cultural sensitivity believe that it is more effective to vary the therapeutic approach from person to person, depending on a client’s culture group, than to simply use the same standard treatment approach for everyone. Although therapists who practice cultural sensitivity may deviate from standard therapeutic methods, they must also adhere to their profession’s ethical guidelines, for example, when it comes to disclosure of personal information.

Psychology Today

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    It is standard practice not to disclose personal information about the client to anyone else. Dec 3, 2020 at 14:45
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    @YosefBaskin while that's true, I don't think that's what this is referring to based on the rest of the article, especially given that not disclosing the patient's information is the bare minimum expected from a therapist, rather than something that would need to be discussed or debated. I've elaborated a bit in my answer.
    – Ryan M
    Dec 3, 2020 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


From a purely grammatical context, it's somewhat ambiguous, and could refer to either—though usually if it were about asking the client for personal information, that would be described as a request for personal information, rather than a disclosure of it. So from this perspective, it's not clear, but suggests that it refers to therapists disclosing personal information. It's still ambiguous, though, whose personal information it's referring to—a comment on the question theorizes it could be about the client, or as you guessed, about the therapist.

From the context of the article, it's clearer: it refers to the therapist disclosing their own personal information to the client. A relationship with a therapist is supposed to be about the patient, so therapists will often avoid social contact with their patient outside of sessions, and generally keep information about their own life private. From the article:

Understanding and applying the cultural expectation of disclosing, for example, some personal information may help clients connect with their therapist.

It is suggesting that the therapist disclosing information about themself might help the patient connect with the therapist in some situations, thus improving outcomes.

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