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Disclosure to Spouses – What Patients Reveal About Their Individual Psychotherapy

Khurgin-Bott, Rachel

The primary aim of this study was to investigate the content and extent of psychotherapy patients’ disclosures to their spouses or significant others about their experiences in therapy, the perceived impact of disclosure about therapy on the spousal relationship, and its perceived impact on the therapeutic relationship and on treatment satisfaction. Adult psychotherapy patients (N = 84) in individual treatment, who identified themselves as either married or in a significant romantic relationship completed the Disclosure About Therapy Inventory – Revised (DATI-R; Khurgin-Bott & Farber, 2014), a revision of the Disclosure About Therapy Inventory (see Khurgin-Bott & Farber, 2011). This 52-question survey was designed to explore the extent and content of patients’ disclosures to their therapists, and the extent and content of their disclosures about therapy to their spouses or significant others (“partners”). The DATI-R also includes three outcome measures: the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS; Busby, Christensen, Crand, & Larson, 1995) measures the quality of participants’ relationships with their partners, the Working Alliance Inventory – Short Revised (WAI-SR; Hatcher & Gillaspy, 2006) assesses the quality of their relationships (alliances) with their therapists, and the outcome items of the Disclosure to Therapist Inventory-III (DTI-III) assess their satisfaction with their treatment.
Findings indicate that overall, patients were very disclosing to their therapists and moderately disclosing to their partners about their therapy. No demographic variables (including gender, marital status, duration of psychotherapy, and duration of marriage/relationship) were significantly associated with or predictive of the extent of patients’ self-disclosure about therapy. A significant positive association was found between the extent of disclosure to partners about therapy and the extent of self-disclosure to therapists. Greater extent of disclosure about therapy to partners was also associated with better quality of therapeutic alliances and with higher relationship satisfaction (with partners). Additionally, the quality of therapeutic alliances was strongly predictive of better treatment outcomes.
These findings suggest that married (or coupled) patients in individual psychotherapy may benefit from the open discussion of their experiences in therapy with their spouses or significant others, or at least that such openness is characteristic of patients in satisfactory relationships (both therapeutic and marital). These findings are discussed in the context of the methodological limitations of the current study and the particular characteristics of the sample, and clinical implications and directions for future research are explored.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Farber, Barry A.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 6, 2016
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