More threads by Lana

Lana

Member
Last night I was having a discussion with a couple of friends from school and we got into a discussion on ?is it a bad thing if a therapist started crying while listening to the client?. What we got stuck on was whether the client would appreciate it or be turned off by it or get upset.

What do you think?
 
Well, on one hand it would show a certain empathy wouldn't it? But on the other perhaps seem unproffesional? I think it would depend on the relationship with the client.
 
i personally would find it distressing. to me a therapist is someone who remains calm and rational. it's someone you can depend on to help steer you where you need to go. if they became emotional i do not see how they could any longer be a guide to you. there's a feeling of safety that comes with someone who's always calm and collected. if they become emotional i think you lose that feeling of safety, that feeling that there is a person out there who can help you out no matter what. you may become afraid of upsetting them, and this would get in the way of the therapy because you then hold back on what you tell them.
 

Banned

Banned
Member
I have to agree with Ladybug on this one. I would probably be very uncomfortable and thinking "Now I've upset her. Now what do I do?". I'd feel really awkward and would think twice about bringing anything sensitive up in the future. I'd also think that since I was the one that upset her, it's now my job to calm her again. My current therapist has a level of compassion and empathy that I've never seen before, and it means so, so much to me, but if she started crying, I'd start wondering....
 

Lana

Member
I agree. My stand was that it would be very upsetting to the client. Using myself as an example, I feel that if my therapist broke down into tears, it would probably be the last session I had with her/him.

I think that the sessions are all about the client…not therapist. And if a therapist broke down that way, it would signal to me that he or she is not up to task of weeding through issues and concerns. My friends felt that I was overreacting and that I was angry and basing it only on my own perspective. There is some truth to it but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask others for their perspectives.

Thank you.
 
lana, also see dr. b's comment on this at http://forum.psychlinks.ca/showthread.php?p=44443#post44443

That's probably quite true. A while ago, in a thread at this forum, I talked about the need for a therapist to find a balance between connecting empathically with the client and maintaining a certain emotional distance - if the therapist fails to do that, he fails the client and himself - instead of being able to function as a guide leading the client out of the darkness, the therapist becomes just a fellow traveller, a companion in the pain and darkness.

That emotional distance, essential both to the survival of the therapist and to the effectiveness of therapy for the client, may at times seem like detachment or "matter of factnesss" - but it doesn't mean lack of caring.
 

ThatLady

Member
I think, in the case of a therapist, it's vitally important to be able to keep a grip on your emotions. There's a big difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy understands without getting emotionally ensnared. Sympathy tends more to emotional over-involvement. A therapist MUST be empathetic, but to allow their emotions to take over during a session, is putting way too much pressure on the patient, the way I see it.
 
lana, out of curiosity, have any of these friends ever been in therapy?
 

Lana

Member
Hmm...I'm not sure if it qualifies as therapy but both have said to have had seen social worker about some issues. I didn't pry. One of them worked as a social worker (and was becoming quite aggresive in her comments). The whole exchange on the matter got under my skin though. After I told them what I thought, I got the "oh well, it's just you" commentary wich was followed by assessments of my personality and my emotional state. That just.....well, it was very irritating. I so dislike being invalidated by someone that doesn't even know me well enough.

I did share an example with both of them saying that my best friend said to me that she never had a clue what I was dealing with when we were growing up. She asked me to tell her, adding, but tell me after I put my kids to bed because I don't want to cry in front of them and upset them. This, of course, upset me. I agreed anyways and used her "warning" to guage myself and how much I told and how much detail I got into.

She didn't cry and I bypassed bearing my soul and wounds to her. The one thing that stood out was: this was about me, not about her. Maybe it's selfish, I don't know. But I lived through the experience and she couldn't even bear to hear it.....making me wonder, why bother talking about it then?

Sorry, seems I went off on a rant...LOL
 
well, for what it's worth, i disagree with all of these people. it's not very nice to have your opinion invalidated with the comment that it's just you anyway. i would be very upset if a friend said that to me. your opinion counts just as much as theirs, and this isn't about who's right or wrong. they see it their way, and you see it yours, and that's good for some healthy discussion. unfortunately i do not think they were being open to any ideas other than their own. having not had therapy probably has a lot to do with their opinion; they just haven't had the experience. i don't think i wouldn't have known the answer if i hadn't been in therapy. :)
 

Lana

Member
I agree with you, ladybug. And because they don't know better, I figured there is no sense in me being upset with them. It's not that they don't care, I believe they do. But there may be a confusion when it comes to empathy vs. sympathy. Maybe sympathy is something they seek and so they think others want the same? But in the interest of self awareness I thought I'd ask those that know best: all of you. I thought who knows, maybe it is just me and others don't mind :)

Guess I can cancel the order for Kleenex now, huh? :lol:

:hug: thank you for this.
 

ThatLady

Member
People, in general, don't know any better. The one thing it's important to remember, in my opinion, is that nobody can invalidate you. Your validation comes from within yourself. As long as you're striving to be the very best you possible, that's all the validation you need. If you need just a tweak more, you've got mine! :hug:
 

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