Everyone reacts differently when sharing their struggles and vulnerabilities. It may momentarily feel overwhelming to share intimate information and this can feel emotionally draining. At the same time, crying can act as a release and may lift some of the emotional weight from your shoulders. Crying can be similar to yawning. Stifling that yawn can extend your fatigue and lead to distraction. Letting it go has actually been shown to perk you up and allow you to focus a little bit longer.
It is not unusual to cry in a treatment session and it does not matter how far along into treatment you are. If you don’t cry that is also completely normal. Your therapist will not judge you either way. Crying will not lead your therapist to feel uncomfortable, that is why they keep tissues in their office. It also does not mean that you are achieving more or less in a session if you do not experience the physical release of tears. Everyone is different and one’s stories and experience of reflection impacts us all differently.
I have had many clients come into my office and cry in the first session, and others never at all. Tears are not a measure of progress or success, nor are they an emotional milestone in therapy. Still, they should not be held in out of fear of making your therapist uncomfortable. What tears do tell us is that something is connecting with us on a deeper level and letting us know that we are hitting something meaningful. Connecting to our experiences in an emotional level can often be a helpful way of processing events in our lives, but tears are not the only way to connect emotionally. It’s about how you connect with your emotional experience and there is no correct or incorrect way to do that.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.