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Old 04-16-2019, 01:15 AM #11
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I cry a lot but not due to any "deep" emotions or issues. My primary issue now is adhd and dealing with stress and I cry often cuz I'm so stressed out and exhausted. I also cry easily in general and my therapist doesn't react anymore. I almost don't react to it. I can be crying then get distracted from that feeling and go on talking about something "neutral" while tears are still rolling down my face. Crying's just not significant to me. I also don't feel self-conscious or anything.

I guess in general I see crying as a sign of comfort and trust so I'd consider it good.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:21 AM #12
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I cry a lot in my sessions. I feel there's two ways of me crying. One is just uncontrollably sobbing, not really knowing why anymore, not even feeling sad anymore, just waterfall. That type of crying is far too intense and probably not useful. Then there's crying in a less intense manner, still need a tissue and all but I can still feel and think. That type I think is something good, it helps me calm down and makes the emotions bearable.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:48 AM #13
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I wouldn’t love that comment either if I were in your shoes. I wonder if she was just being a bit clumsy though in trying to articulate some kind of shift she’d noticed in your state of mind or in your way of coping or talking about things.

Like perhaps it came across as praising you for not crying (which, I agree, odd) but what she may have meant was something along the lines of, “it seems like you’ve really got this now, this thing that previously had such a hold on you is now not so huge or scary.”
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:03 AM #14
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I don't read her comment, in this context, as a general statement that crying is negative and not crying indicates progress. Crying can indicate progress in many ways, a bunch of which have been articulated by the people here, but so can a shift away from a crying response (which is not the only way to be emotional, in or out of therapy).

Sometime earlier this year I had a chance to tell someone I just met but trusted about the story of my spouse's death and some upsetting things that happened after it with our extended family. It happened quite a few years ago and I've told the story numerous times to different people, but never without choking up and/or full on ugly crying, or somewhere in between.

There was some kind of different emotionality in this particular telling where I realized that I had greater distance from the pain of loss and betrayal. I felt both connected to the emotions but not the "drama" attached to them. It seemed like I emotionally owned the story and told it in a way that was both factual and that demonstrated how I really felt. It did seem like progress, that the strength of the emotions had lessened and in some way I can't explain, it felt more authentically emotional than the weeping itself. My words and thoughts were more distilled, like my brain had figured how how to communicate with fewer words and greater meaning.

I think emotion as part of talking about experience is usually a sign of some kind of progress. The people I worry about are those who talk about trauma like they are reciting a grocery list. Talking itself is a sign of progress, as opposed to wanting to talk about it but being able. Emotions can manifest in all kinds of ways, and it can be emotional to not cry. I'm not 100%, for me, that crying in therapy is particularly useful as any kind of indicator in therapy. I tend to see it as just one of the many important things that happen in therapy, but it's not my definitive goal, nor have I ever found it to be cathartic per se.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:44 AM #15
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne2.0 View Post
I'm not 100%, for me, that crying in therapy is particularly useful as any kind of indicator in therapy. I tend to see it as just one of the many important things that happen in therapy, but it's not my definitive goal, nor have I ever found it to be cathartic per se.
Yes.
This is a part of it that I wasn't quite getting my finger on or my words around. I don't see crying (in therapy) as an indicator of progress or not.

That doesn't mean that my t doesn't or shouldn't see it as a behavioral indicator of progress or not. More that something in that the idea of crying as some kind of yardstick doesn't match my idea that crying is just crying and isn't a measuring tool.

Here is the value of tossing ideas around with others. You hit a nail on the head that's at least part of what I am puzzling over.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:59 AM #16
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I've only cried on my last session with my former T. So crying in session would have been progress for me. I haven't cried with current T although I could feel myself getting emotional a few times. I don't think there is anything wrong with crying in session or not crying in session. There were times I wish I had been able to cry in session, but it just didn't happen. Doesn't mean I wasn't trying, or I wasn't working hard, just didn't happen. I do think that not crying about an event after usually crying about it could represent growth. But I think the opposite could be true too. My two cents. HUGS Kit
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:18 AM #17
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

There are therapist articles on this topic if you are interested:

(PDF) Crying as Communication in Psychotherapy: The Influence of Client and Therapist Attachment Dimensions and Client Attachment to Therapist on Amount and Type of Crying

My client is crying – The Relaxed Therapist

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/....1002/cpp.1879

(not endorsing, just sharing)
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:28 AM #18
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

I have been working on being able to feel and express emotions for the past few years with both T. As a young teen I learned to numb out. The about 15 years ago somebody I was VERY close to moved away. I was heartbroken. I sobbed hard by myself and I remember very clearly thinking I would never allow myself to get close enough to a person that losing them work hurt me like that ever again. Nor would I cry because it accomplished nothing. There were times I really wanted to cry with T but just couldn't accept for a tear or two.

When I lost T I cried A LOT not only outside of therapy but on the phone and in session with EMDR T. It has only been the last maybe month I can talk about T and not break down. We see it as progress because I am slowly working through the grief process rather than getting stuck. I have only cried one with EMDR T one other time when we were discussing trauma. So for me crying I therapy is progress but also so isnt being able to discuss a topic and not crying.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:33 AM #19
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

On balance there were few sessions with former T in which I didn't cry, whether just welling up or full on sobbing. Having grown up in a "I'll give you something to cry about" environment, experiencing that my tears were acceptable was important. And since I burst into tears early in the very first session, I was able to experience that acceptance before there could be any ambivalence about crying. I suspect the immediacy and intensity of that emotional interaction had a lot to do with establishing such a strong bond between us.



But my T only addressed the crying directly in that first session. I think part of the acceptance for me was in not drawing attention to it thereafter. So I wonder if your T making any comment at all about the crying has brushed against some earlier sense/judgment/shame? Could the lingering feeling be from something forgotten or displaced?
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:34 AM #20
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Default Re: Crying in session and progress in therapy

If I can't fall apart in therapy where else can I do it? - to me that is what therapy is for.
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