Clinical treatment of the nondisclosing black client. A therapeutic paradox. Academic Article uri icon


  • Examines the clinical problem of the Black client who is nondisclosing to the White therapist, arguing that this problem is due largely to societal forces that compel Blacks to adopt an attitude of cultural paranoia, which fosters a distrust of Whites and social systems and which inhibits self-disclosure as a result. Thus, individual verbal psychotherapy, which has its roots in Freud, often places the Black client in a paradoxical situation. Although client self-disclosure is generally considered essential for maximizing therapeutic outcomes, complex intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social factors often affect the Black client's willingness to self-disclose. The Johari Window described by J. Luft (1969) is used to illustrate dynamics and their relation to therapy. It is argued that regardless of the Black client's level of self-disclosure, White therapist/Black client's relationships tend to result in unhealthful consequences for the client. Two sets of recommendations to counteract this problem, which focus on cultural and functional conditions of paranoia and on treatment procedures and strategies, are presented. (74 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). 1984 American Psychological Association.

published proceedings

  • Am Psychol

author list (cited authors)

  • Ridley, C. R.

citation count

  • 165

complete list of authors

  • Ridley, CR

publication date

  • November 1984