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J Couns Psychol. 2011 Apr;58(2):170-82. doi: 10.1037/a0022630.

Predictors of the change in self-stigma following a single session of group counseling.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, w112 Lagomarcino Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


One of the major obstacles to seeking psychological help is the stigma associated with counseling and therapy. Self-stigma, the fear of losing self-respect or self-esteem as a result of seeking help, is an important factor in the help-seeking process. In the present study, college students meeting a clinical cutoff for psychological symptoms participated in 1 session of group counseling that either contained therapist self-disclosure or did not. In general, participants reported significantly less self-stigma following the session. Working alliance-bond and session depth significantly predicted the change in self-stigma. Furthermore, self-stigma (as well as bond, depth, psychological symptoms, and being female) predicted the intention to seek help following the session. Self-stigma and session depth also predicted interest in continuing with counseling. The therapist self-disclosure condition, however, had no effect on the change in self-stigma, intentions to seek help, or interest in continuing with group counseling.

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