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Self-Disclosure Concept In Social Work

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Self-disclosure is used by revealing information about yourself, this information can be positive or negative. Self-disclosure can reveal trust and build relationships. It is very inappropriate when it is one sided, it should often be give and take otherwise a relationship can suffer. Usually, when you reveal personal things about yourself others will often give information about themselves in return, this helps maintain relationships. As you can guess this technique has many uses in the social work field.

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One of these uses is building a connection, this can be built when you are able to relate to certain topics a helpee may disclose through appropriate self-disclosure. Self-disclosure can be a very useful skill, but only if used accordingly. This skill in counseling and social work is when the helper shares their own personal views or experience with a client with the purpose of improving the clients emotional or mental state. Though it is important mindful to be careful while using self-disclosure, you don’t want to over-disclose or the client will feel shutdown. Another benefit that comes along with self disclosure is, expressing feelings and emotions. When emotions begin to get involved this is when this is things can become more dangerous. Practicing this is useful for controlling emotions rather than burying them. Often times we spend so much energy hiding how we feel or what could be bothering us, and doing so is more exhausting than actually saying what’s on your mind. Using feelings and emotion and feeling can both me a blessing and a weapon. Some use it to manipulate for personal gain, others use it for clarity and honesty.

As an example of self-disclosure if a person were to come in and begin to share that they had lost a parent, and you self disclose that you too had the same experience, you can begin to empathize through self disclosure. They will have a sense that you burden to them, because they know that you have been through something similar they may begin to talk more in depth. They would be more comfortable with you knowing you can relate and trust that you could help guide them through mourning. I think a healthy amount of self disclosure is helpful in any type of interaction whether it is personal or professional. It is healthy for all kinds of relationship, and also healthy for one self. There are five main levels of self-disclosure. Rating from levels one to five, five being the most basic level and one being the most intimate. Starting with Cliché communication, this form is to ask the basic questions in the beginning of a conversation, like: “hello, how are you?” – “Pretty chilly out, isn’t it?”. They are small conversation starters. Second to that is, Facts and Autobiographical info for when you give out your name or hometown, where you’ve been, including your age. This kind of self disclosure is often used in greetings.

Thirdly, Personal attitudes and ideas falls after you’ve introduced yourself, you usually converse with your peers, giving out ideas without agreeing or disagreeing, And Personal Feelings consists of talking about your personal feelings and sharing how you feel, discussing your vulnerabilities with your peers and admitting how you feel towards yourself and others. Now for the last level of self-disclosure we have, Peak communication. Although very rare; you would usually use this level with people who are the closest to you, like your parents, friends or people you share romantic relationships with. Before utilising this level of disclosure, you must first of had to take the time to build trust and comfortability.

The Johari Window, also known as a ‘Disclosure/feedback model of self awareness’ is a simple model, a good tool to illustrate and better self-awareness, along with mutual understanding between two people or a group of people. The purpose of the Johari Window is to assess and improve the relationships in groups and/or other individuals. This practice was invented by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 1950s during their research for group dynamics. Since then the Johari Window focuses on behaviour, empathy, cooperation, interpersonal group and interpersonal development, it has become extremely relevant due to how much we have been using it. How this works is, each window can be changed in different sizes to reflect the accurate proportions of all different types of knowledge of an individuals in a team setting. Depending on who comes in to the group, the dynamics may change. If there is a group of people who already know each other well, almost all windows are big and open due to everyone knowing each other quite well, and their comfortability. Though, if someone new were to join the team, the open free region would become small because the others don’t know much about the individual. Same thing would happen to the blind area, so the other areas would be left affected since there was a change in the group. This is crucial to building relations. If I were to reflect on my own windows, I think all of them would be affected.

My comfort level with self disclosure is very closed off. I barely or never talk in circle ins, I will often only speak if spoken too. It’s a habit I built as a defense mechanism and therefore don’t have great experience making new friends. I may come off as tough and mysterious at first, but that’s just a mask I put on in hopes that I can avoid forced interaction. I often contradict myself because I want people to notice me, but I have a social fear. If someone does talk to me, I am either super awkward depending if I’m having a bad anxiety day or I will talk smoothly, it all depends on how I am, everyday is different. I would simply put into words that my windows are very contradicting. Communication has always been a struggle of mine. In my ‘Hidden Area’ is quite open, because I keep quite a bit to myself. I don’t speak or admit things unless asked depending if I’m comfortable sharing the topic, Also having a lack of self-discovery adds to my hidden self. For my ‘Unknown self’ they are quite open as well but not as much as hidden. There is no back to back communication, there for, we’re all still strangers, I have issues initiate. In my ‘Blind Area’ is big because people know little about me, due to my lack of self-disclosure in one on one or group interactions. In my open/free region could be smaller depending on who I’m with but for the most part, it remains open for the public. Only by mutual group discussion and experiences will this become smaller. To sum it all up, I am a really quiet and private person.

My personal change plan for self disclosure would be to be more involved in groups and be more talkative. It always been my biggest issue. It is my goal to interact with individuals and group interactions with ease and confidence, knowing how to and how much self disclosure is appropriate to start relationships with people without having to over disclose or under disclose. I am not perfect when it comes to communication, so I aspire to become the best I can be by the time I graduate from this program. Not only with learning self-disclosure help the way I speak and help me open up my comfortability with individuals and large groups.

15 July 2020

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