Counselor Self-Disclosure: Does Sexual Orientation Matter to Straight Clients?

  • Lynne CarrollEmail author
  • Andy A. Gauler
  • Jason Relph
  • Kimberly S. Hutchinson


The present investigation explores the impact of counselor self-disclosure of sexual orientation on self-identified heterosexuals. Two hundred and thirty-eight psychology undergraduate students read a short description of a counselor and one of eight versions of a counseling transcript. Transcripts were identical with the exception of the gender of the counselor and the inclusion of a single counselor statement, in which the counselor either disclosed his/her sexual orientation through a “feeling” subtype disclosure (Knox and Hill in Journal of Clinical Psychology: Special Issue: In Session: Self-Disclosure 59(5):529–539, 2003) or made a reflective statement. A total of 184 respondents who self-identified as “exclusively heterosexual,” and accurately completed four validation check items, rated the target counselor on Expertness, Trustworthiness, and Attractiveness Subscales of the Counselor Rating Form-Short Version (CRF-S; Corrigan and Schmidt in Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30:64–75, 1983). A significant interaction effect was found between self-disclosure status and sexual orientation of the counselor. Participants perceived the disclosing gay and lesbian counselors as significantly more trustworthy than their nondisclosing gay and lesbian counterparts.


Self-disclosure Therapist Counselor Gay and lesbian Undergraduate Sexual orientation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynne Carroll
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andy A. Gauler
    • 2
  • Jason Relph
    • 3
  • Kimberly S. Hutchinson
    • 4
  1. 1.Mental Health Counseling ProgramUniversity of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA
  3. 3.Counseling CenterThe College of Staten IslandVictory BoulevardUSA
  4. 4.Fielding Graduate UniversitySanta BarbaraUSA

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