Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Power of Disclosure and Non-Disclosure

I really appreciated the points made in our text this week regarding the Paradoxes of Engaging.  I especially enjoyed the reading surrounding the power and importance of disclosure with relationship to trust.  At work I am charged with facilitating classes on a variety of topics, one of which is the process of communication.  We cover a variety of things in a period of three hours; communication style, nonverbal methods of communication, choosing the right method…But we also briefly touch on the importance of disclosure and the influence it can provide, especially during those difficult exchanges.  Disclosure can open the door for the other person(s) to better understand your side of things, truly appreciate what you can bring to the table and perhaps even sway their own perspective.  Disclosure can be a truly powerful tool; but the lack of disclosure can also prove powerful as well-in terms of the negative.  As the text suggests, we often stand back a bit as we join a group; assessing, considering, reading….deciding what to share so that we will be accepted by other members.  Could it be our own insecurities or the incessant need to be liked?  But what a disservice to ourselves to not allow a hint at who we really are and could be to the group.   Even further still, what an injustice to other members of the group! To not allow them to see our real selves and to know our strengths or weaknesses.  How can they trust someone that they do not truly know?   Why should they trust me if I haven’t been completely honest, right from the very beginning?  And, looking forward, if they do not truly trust me will the group be successful in accomplishing its goal(s)? The paradoxes this week have truly reminded me that so often we forget that by limiting what we share, we can also cause unintended distrust and uncertainty in the individual and/or group.   A quote found on page 115 of our text perhaps puts it best: “Once group members start to engage in the dynamics found in the paradox of disclosure, they can then begin to move on to those of trust.  Group life is filled with dilemmas in which one needs to trust others, but where the development of trust depends on trust already existing.”