This dissertation study reviewed the therapist self-disclosure literature and the ways in which therapist disclosure of a lesbian or gay orientation has not been explicitly addressed in previous research. Moreover, this study aimed to understand heterosexual clients' perceptions of a gay male or lesbian therapist who self-discloses his/her sexual orientation and the potential moderating role of attitudes toward sexual minorities. The first hypothesis tested was that participants in the two sexual minority therapist conditions (gay male or lesbian therapists) would rate the therapists more negatively in terms of therapist expertness, attractiveness, trustworthiness, and helpfulness than participants in the two heterosexual therapist conditions. The second hypothesis tested was that the group difference in therapist ratings would be explained by level of authoritarianism, which served as a proxy measure of anti-gay attitudes. Contrary to hypotheses, there were no main or moderating effects of therapist self-disclosure and authoritarian attitudes on the counselor ratings. Attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help was significantly related to participants' counselor ratings. These results suggest that attitudes toward help-seeking, but not attitudes toward sexual minorities, may play a role in how heterosexual clients perceive sexual minority therapists and provide an area for further study in counseling psychology process and outcome research.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2010. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Richard M. Lee, Ph.D., L.P. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 85 pages, appendices A-B.
Dean, Brooke Lyn.
Therapist self-disclosure: heterosexuals' perceptions of sexual minority therapists..
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