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Advantages of Self-Disclosure

The reflective journal provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your learning in this subject and its applicability to you as a manager and/or leader?

Fundamentally, I feel that the relationship grows stronger and stronger when the individuals desire to disclose more about themselves and their working experiences. Surprisingly, I have realized that two people might work together for many years but may not know each other properly (Thon & Jucks, 2014). For Instance, I and one of friend use to study in same school but never knew that we were classmates. Later on after coming to college, we realized that we studied in the same school. This happened when we started working in a team project. In various companies or in different professional areas, the culture encourages the coworkers not to share their feelings which make the communication process ineffective among themselves. Therefore, self-disclosure helps to be more supportive and open in such environment.

In order to write this reflective journal, I had to research a lot. Thus, through research I came across various definition of Self-disclosure. I understood that self-disclosure is the procedure of letting other people knows about what you want, what you feel and what you think. This is one of the most significant ways to help other people know about you (Shih, Hsu, Yen & Lin, 2012). Self-disclosure helps to build up the interpersonal relationships, resolve conflicts and improve communication. The self-disclosure is generally made by unconscious or conscious decisions like for example, we generally express or share our personal information with the counselors because we feel they can help us to solve our issues. Thus self-disclosure helps to build up relation and solve issues (Joinson, Reips, Buchanan & Schofield, 2010).

Various psychologists believe that the self-disclosure is a hallmark for building intimacy. Revealing emotions, values, goals, motive and intentions help to increase intimacy feel and liking (Hassija & Gray, 2012). They believe that leaders who reveal their authentic selves to the followers not only build trust but also engender strong teamwork and greater cooperation. Thus from this I would say that it is a leadership competency, that everybody must try to acquire. Self-disclosure is based on fact (Einspanner, 2013). This can be discussed with a small example:

Client: Can you brief me about your qualifications and training?

Counselor: Sure, I am pursued my first year degree in psychology and working in this clinic as a part of advance training

Client: How many clients have you checked this date?

Counselor: Around 100 people since my under graduation training and around 8 people in my advance training

This shows that it is very much important to be appropriate in professional nature. It is mainly used to build up strong relationship. Looking at the example, I feel that self-disclosure can civilize the connection between the client and the counselor and increase the intimacy and feeling of trust (Bareket-Bojmel & Shahar, 2011). Disclosing relevant information would help to gain the confidence of other person you are interacting with, as client and counselor in the example. Thus looking at this example, I would like to discuss few advantages of self-disclosure in building relationship (Reece, Brandt & Howie, 2011).

  • Increases accuracy while communicating with other person: Self-disclosure helps to remove the guesswork from the process of communication. For instance, a person who is already frustrated due to work overload and is unable to balance work-life may see himself/herself trapped in that problem. However, a person who can solve the problem may not realize what is needed until spelled out properly. Revealing the accurate information influences the thinking process, develops a shared mental model which can facilitate good communication and improve the performance of the task.
  • Increases authenticity: I feel that authenticity is very important for developing and building good relation. Thus it is necessary to maintain honesty, transparency and openness. Self-disclosure thus helps to build trust among the people you communicate.
  • Build strong relations: By strengthening the interpersonal communication, self-disclosure helps to strengthen the relationship. Suppose, I am engaged in authentic and open dialogue with one of friends to understand his issues, then it helps to share concerns and common interest which means we develop a high regard for view we share with each other. This helps to make our friendship deeper.
  • Increase self-awareness: Self-awareness is nothing but a foundation to analyze and understand owns emotions, drives and moods and its impact on another people. Self-disclosure helps to plan an effectual change that encourages modifying the communication style and also changing the behavior.
  • Decreasing stress: Many psychologists states that keeping feeling and thoughts inside increases stress and inner tension in an individual as he/she gets too much emphasis on camouflaging own feelings and privacy. Self-disclosure helps to understand the stress factors and discuss the issues that help to transform the feeling of bitterness to feeling of better.

Disadvantages of Self-Disclosure

As a coin has two sides, similarly, self-disclosure also has some disadvantages. Like showing less self-disclosure might result in suspicion and uncertainty in the feelings of person, similarly, high self-disclosure may lead to revulsion. Being too much disclosed makes the opponent become too comfortable. This sometimes makes the problem to remain unsolved. In case, if you are working as a counselor, the client might start seeing you as a friend instead of professional helper. Executed or poorly timed self-disclosure will lead to distrust. This can make the opponent or the person you are interacting with feel that you are impaired and not listening to his/her issue properly (Balon, 2007).

Looking at these disadvantages, I would suggest people to focus on few theories before implementing self-disclosure. According to social penetration theory, people engage in a process of self-disclosure that is reciprocal in nature which changes the depth and breadth of a developed relationship. The depth refers to the sensitive and personal information and breadth refers to various issues or topics that can be discussed. This theory says that people balance the relationship through proper dialect and gradually penetrates through personalities of each other (Tang & Wang, 2012). Then the social comparison theory states that people evaluate themselves through comparison with others. By disclosing the values and beliefs, one can determine if they are similar or different. In short, the disclosure helps to understand whether the person is interested in developing relation with another person or not (Howes, 2003). The final theory is the Johari Window. This theory helps to understand the unknown, blind, hidden and open areas of self (Shenton, 2007). The below given figure shows four windows of Johari:

Figure: Johari Window

The first window is the “open” pane whether our information is known to others and also self. The bottom left window is the “hidden” where the information is known to self but others are not aware of that information. The upper right window is the “blind” window in which other people are aware about us but we our self lack in understanding self. Lastly, the bottom right window is the “unknown” area which contains information that neither known to other nor known to ourselves (Biech, 2008).

Understanding all the theories and concepts of self-disclosure, I would like to comment that self-disclosure includes needs, feelings, thoughts and observations. Suppose, I say that I live in San Francisco but my move to London is a good decision shows that I am sharing my thought, similarly if I say that I am very happy staying in London, shows my feeling. Lastly If I say that may friend is in need of job and I have asked him to move to London shows the needs and observation. Thus this helps to maintain trust and increase intimacy.

This reflective journal discusses the concepts of self-disclosure, how it is helpful in building relations and also analyzes the disadvantages of being highly self-disclosed. The author tries to relate the concept with three different theories social penetration theory, social comparison theory and Johari window in reflective journal.

References

Balon, R. (2007). Self-disclosure in Psychotherapy. Annals Of Clinical Psychiatry, 19(3), 205-207. doi:10.1080/10401230701557727

Bareket-Bojmel, L., & Shahar, G. (2011). Emotional and Interpersonal Consequences of Self-Disclosure in a Lived, Online Interaction. Journal Of Social And Clinical Psychology, 30(7), 732-759. doi:10.1521/jscp.2011.30.7.732

Biech, E. (2008). The Pfeiffer book of successful team-building tools. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Einspanner, J. (2013). Privacy online: Perspectives on privacy and self-disclosure in the social web. New Media & Society, 15(8), 1401-1402. doi:10.1177/1461444813500461a

Hassija, C., & Gray, M. (2012). Negative Social Reactions to Assault Disclosure as a Mediator between Self-Blame and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among Survivors of Interpersonal Assault. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 27(17), 3425-3441. doi:10.1177/0886260512445379

Howes, D. (2003). Sensual relations. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Joinson, A., Reips, U., Buchanan, T., & Schofield, C. (2010). Privacy, Trust, and Self-Disclosure Online. HHCI, 25(1), 1-24. doi:10.1080/07370020903586662

Reece, B., Brandt, R., & Howie, K. (2011). Human relations. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Shenton, A. (2007). Viewing information needs through a Johari Window. Reference Services Review, 35(3), 487-496. doi:10.1108/00907320710774337

Shih, D., Hsu, S., Yen, D., & Lin, C. (2012). Exploring the Individual's Behavior on Self-Disclosure Online. International Journal Of Human-Computer Interaction, 28(10), 627-645. doi:10.1080/10447318.2011.654198

Tang, J., & Wang, C. (2012). Self-Disclosure Among Bloggers: Re-Examination of Social Penetration Theory. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, And Social Networking, 15(5), 245-250. doi:10.1089/cyber.2011.0403

Thon, F., & Jucks, R. (2014). Regulating privacy in interpersonal online communication: The role of self-disclosure. Studies In Communication Sciences, 14(1), 3-11. doi:10.1016/j.scoms.2014.03.012

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