graphic of person holding hand over mouth with words "self disclosure" overhead

When: Friday, February 5, 2021, 12-4:15pm EST
Where: On Zoom
Instructor: Janine Roberts, EdD
Rates: Full Rate – $100; Early Bird Rate before 1/15/21 – $85; Student/Agency Clinician* Full Rate – $85; Student/Agency Clinician* Early Bird Rate before 1/15/21 – $70; Equity Rate** available (choose your own price, base of $25)
Additional Rate for CEs: $20
CEs: 4 CEs approved for LMFTs, LICSWs, LMHCs, and Lic. Psychologists
Target Audience: Marriage & Family Therapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists
Level: Intermediate

This program qualifies for 4 CEs in the category of Ethics.

Many clinicians share their own experiences with clients in the hopes of demystifying therapy and creating a collaborative treatment relationship. As well, in these times, therapeutic boundaries have loosened with virtual therapy, or in new locations outdoors; the pandemic, widespread recognition of social injustices, and imperatives to be open about racial and social identities. Some clients have found it important and easier to ask how their therapists are doing. New information about clients’ living situations, as well as therapists’, can show up on Zoom or emerge during phone sessions. Clients and clinicians are experiencing the pandemic and social and political upheaval together in real time.

Disclosures have the potential to both heal and harm. In this experiential workshop, participants learned under what circumstances therapist transparency is legitimate and useful and when it carries risks, including interrupting the flow and tone of therapy, crossing established boundaries, and triggering a client’s fear that the clinician isn’t “there” for her/them/him. Participants came away with 10 guidelines for making self-disclosure a safe, clinically helpful part of the therapeutic process. With both small and large group activities and discussions, this workshop was highly interactive.

At the conclusion of this program, participants were better able to:

  1. Identify 4 ways therapist self-disclosure can be helpful in therapy (e.g. for joining, normalizing processes of therapy, shifting hierarchy, working more collaboratively, etc.).
  2. List and explain 3 ways therapist self-disclosure can be harmful and unethical in therapy.
  3. Name and discuss 4-5 guidelines for ethical therapist self-disclosure with clear explanations and rationale.
  4. Describe 3 features of your therapeutic position in regards to using self-disclosure as a tool in therapy.

Schedule (all times in EDT)
12-1pm: Introductions to each other; creating our learning group:

  • Intro and discussion on how therapist and client disclosures have shifted during this pandemic time as well as ways we inadvertently disclose all the time as therapists.
  • Overview (with clinical examples from both the presenter and participants) of ways in which therapist self-disclosures can be helpful and harmful, or both at the same time.
  • Small group exercises on participants’ experiences growing up with self-disclosure, secrets, and confidentiality, and in their workplace(s).

2-3pm: Presentation of 10 guidelines for helpful therapist self-disclosures particularly in a time of teletherapy. Discussion of the guidelines and adding other ones.
3-4pm: Small group exercises on participants’ experiences growing up in regards to their social identities, and how their social identities and lived experiences affect their use of self-disclosure as a therapeutic tool. Discussion about ways people will explore making changes to their current work given ideas shared in this workshop.
4-4:15pm: Closing words.


Dr. Janine Roberts is Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and past-president of AFTA (American Family Therapy Academy). “The first families I saw back in the 70s were in court-mandated sessions done in people’s homes. I went on to supervise several teams in the area that worked in clients’ living spaces, as well as train Masters and Doctoral level family therapists at UMASS for 25 years. I currently see families in my home.” Janine authored Tales and Transformations: Stories in Families and Family Therapy (Norton Press); coauthored Rituals for Our Times: Celebrating, Healing, and Changing Our Lives and Our Relationships (Jason Aronson); coedited Rituals in Families and Family Therapy (Norton Press); and has written some seventy articles and chapters, and a poetry book, The Body Alters (Slate Roof Press). She has had two Fulbrights to Latin America and works frequently there as well as other parts of the world.

*Agency Clinician/Student Rate: We offer this discounted rate to enable students and clinicians working in community mental health settings on a full-time basis to be able to participate. Group practices are not eligible.

**Equity Rate: This registration option is for participants with historical/institutional barriers to access. Please choose equity pricing only if you are a member of one or more historically marginalized communities.

This activity is approved certification by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST) on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions, for LMFT professional continuing education.

Continuing Education Credit is approved through Commonwealth Educational Seminars for the following professions:

  • Psychologists:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LPCs/LMHCs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Social Workers:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Social Workers. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for Social Workers. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

For further information, please contact Commonwealth Education Seminars: (800) 376-3345,

Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.

This program is being offered independent of any commercial support or conflict of interest. Clinicians with any level of experience are welcome to participate.

See our Cancellation and Grievance Policies

Accessibility: Accessibility options can be arranged for the Zoom platform. Those needing special accommodations, please email