More threads by Dali


This is my first time here. According to a couple books I have read, and to my therapist, in order to get healing from a past experience, it is necessary to express your feelings and share them with someone else. I have been in therapy for 6 years and other than allowing a few tears, I have not been able or couldn't or wouldn't cry in a session. If the feelings are very strong, I have pain in parts of my body, often my left leg. Because of not being able to cry during a session, I often have a stomach ache or headache or chest pain after a session. Does anybody have any suggestions how I can get through this defense? Does anybody else believe it is necessary to cry to get healing? Thanks for any ideas.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I don't think it is necessary to cry. It is probably necessary for you to identify and work through your own feelings but I don't know that it's necessary to cry to accomplish that or to do it in front of someone else.

I do think some, perhaps many people, have difficulty crying in the presence of another person, even or maybe especially their therapists. I wouldn't view that as anything unusual or abnormal or necessarily blocking progress, as long as you are able to identify and express your feelings when you are on your own.
I agree with David.

There is no right or wrong way to behave in your therapy sessions. It is a process of opening up. Imagine it much like an onion and its many layers. The first layers may take time to get the nerve up to "work" through. Even if your "onion" is a strong one...tears may not be something that come until you have worked through multiple layers. Everyone is different. Express your concerns about not crying to your therapist. Healing can occur in numerous ways...sometimes in very noticeable ways to the slightest, almost undetectable steps. Therapy is a process and you are not expected to behave in any particular fashion. Keep us posted on your progress. Best wishes,


Hi Dali,

I read your post and the first thing that came to mind was that I can relate. I don't cry much in my therapy sessions except for on rare occasions. Even though I don't cry I still feel like I am having and expressing real emotions. For me I don't think that not crying makes me non-expressive.

Dali said:
If the feelings are very strong, I have pain in parts of my body, often my left leg.

I can relate to the strong feelings and having physical pain in the body. When I am dealing with someone really intense I get a pain in my heart. It is like a knife going through me but I also know that it will not last and usually means that I am doing good. It is also a little anxiety provoked as well. I also find for me to express those physical pains to my therapist is helpful because then I don't feel like I am holding them in and hiding them.

So overall I don't think that it is necessary to cry to heal however I do think that you have to be honest with yourself and your therapist about what your real feelings are.

I hope that what I have said is helpful and makes sense. Good luck with your therapy.

Take Care
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