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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hey Kate. I have another appointment with my therapist Monday.

Resolved Question:

Hey Kate. I have another appointment with my therapist Monday. I suspect, with all these intense emotions I have been feeling, which I can't really let out otherwise, there's a possibility I'm just going to lose it during therapy. Maybe not. I was really close last Monday, but just cried, not sobbed or anything, but Wednesday I didn't cry at all. Anyway, I was wondering if I should just ask her what he is going to do If I fall apart? Should I tell her I feel so awkward crying when she just sits there and stares at me or stares down at her file? I guess it's just going to be uncomfortable no matter what. I don't know what it is I would like her to do. It just feels strange. I know it is my issues with crying and not her reactions which are the problem, but she seems to want me to just bawl instead of holding it back, and I don't know how to make that easier or if I can even do that or how she can help me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hello,

 

It is very normal to feel awkward when you are crying in therapy. You are there expressing a very deep feeling and although the therapist is there with you and understands why you are crying, you don't know how they feel about it. It is different with our friends and family because we feel on more of an even playing field with them. They will tell us what they think or feel. And a friend or family member will probably touch you in some way, either through a hug or a pat on the back. A therapist doesn't do those things.

 

It is perfectly fine to ask your therapist how she will react if you sob. You can also ask her how she feels about it. Though some therapists may feel it's not helpful to you if they discuss themselves, some will tell you the effect your crying has on them. I find it very helpful to tell people I talk with that their crying affects me deeply. Crying is a strong emotion that expresses deep sorrow and pain. And if I can't be affected by that as a therapist, I feel I am of no use to anyone I work with. But some therapists feel that allowing you to have the experience on your own is more helpful. And that is ok too.

 

Also, let her know you feel awkward about her looking at her files. It will allow her the opportunity to alter her reaction if she knows you are ok with it, or she can explain to you why she reacts that way so you know.

 

She may want you to sob because she knows you have held back for so long. You suffered through a horrible attack and held your feelings in for many years. Crying is a natural release of your deeper feelings and is a sign you are in touch with how you feel. Crying is healthy and can help you recover faster. She may also want to be there with you to guide you if you get in touch with your deeper feelings so you are not alone when you feel them.

 

Your therapist may also believe that allowing you to stay in the moment while you cry, so you can get in touch with your deeper emotions, is beneficial. Some therapists feel that if they interrupt you while you are in touch with your deeper feelings it would not allow you to reach the emotions and experiences underneath the crying.

 

So asking your therapist up front is a good idea so you can gauge what her reaction may be like.

 

It is also possible that you may need to know how she feels so you feel safer letting go. You have been through a very difficult time. You probably have a great need to feel safe. And crying makes you feel vulnerable. By understanding what she is feeling about your crying, you can create a safer environment for yourself.

 

It is always good to ask anytime you feel something needs clarified in therapy. It helps the connection between you and your therapist improve and allows you to feel safer expressing your feelings.

 

Let me know how it goes,

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5578
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
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Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.