Self-disclosure may play an important role in developing trust or understanding and instilling hope. Trust is the stepping stone that allows an individual to contemplate making changes. Self disclosure can establish and maintain an empathic relationship that gives the participant the sense of being understood. Staff must exercise discretion when contemplating self-disclosure. Appropriateness is best tested if all three of the following questions are answered as "yes":

  1. Is the intent of the self-disclosure to enable positive change in others?
  2. Will it create an environment that fosters trust and hope for the participant?
  3. Are the appropriate professional boundaries being maintained?