Table 1

Advantages and disadvantages of self-disclosure

  Improves patient support
  Creates a greater sense of closeness
  Helps patients reveal distress they would not otherwise express
  Reinforces patients’ motivation by providing them with a model
  Creates a special bond between patient and physician
  Develops a mutually trusting relationship
  Expands the professional relationship into a personal and potentially intimate one
  Creates risk of having to deal with demands not directly related to the consultation
  Fosters strong emotions that will require management
  Opens the door to undesirable behaviour (patient’s personal questions, seduction, etc)
  Provokes too much curiosity about physicians’ personal lives (which can be embarrassing or disrupt their practices)
  Creates risk of psychological dependency by patients