When Therapists Cry addresses one of the most authentic and singularly human experiences a therapist can have in therapy: crying. While therapist crying in therapy is the explicit focus of this book, it is used as a springboard for understanding the various ways in which therapists’ emotions come alive—and become visible—in the therapy room. In depth clinical examples and conceptualizations from expert contributors illustrate what the experience of therapist crying looks and feels like: why therapists cry, how crying impacts the therapist and the treatment, what therapists feel about their tears, and the many ways in which therapists may engage with their own tears in order to facilitate therapeutic progress, ensure appropriate professional conduct, and deepen their clinical work.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Tracks of Our Tears: An Orientation to Crying. 1. Why Humans Weep Lauren M. Bylsma, Asmir Gračanin, and Ad J. J. M. Vingerhoets 2. Tracking Our Tears: Research on Therapist Crying in Therapy Amy Blume-Marcovici, Ronald A. Stolberg, Mojgan Khademi, Anthony Mackie, and Catelijne ‘t Lam Part II: Constructs of Crying: Understanding Tears Through Theory 3. The Feeling is Mutual: Therapist Crying From an Attachment/Caregiving Perspective Judith Kay Nelson 4. An Eye-Opening Eye Infection: Treating Therapists’ Tears as Self-Disclosure Andrea Bloomgarden 5. Therapeutic Immediacy: If Your Tears Could Speak, What Would They Say? Mark J. Hilsenroth, Jason Mayotte-Blum, Klara Kuutmann, and Kristen L. Capps Umphlet 6. The Psychoanalyst’s Tears: From Abstinence to Authenticity Patricia Harney 7. Hearing the Cries of the World: The Role of Therapists’ Tears in Compassion Focused Therapy Dennis Tirch and Laura R. Silberstein 8. Existential Therapy and the Transformative Possibilities of Therapists' Tears Paul McGinley Part III: The Clients With Whom We Cry 9. The Tears of Abuse Maxine Harris 10. Tears and the Dying Client Eleanor F. Counselman 11. Entering the No-Cry Zone: Men and the Chords of Connection Fredric E. Rabinowitz 12. M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense: Relational Authenticity, Self-Disclosure, and a Child Therapist’s Tears Jerrold R. Brandell 13. Tears of the Emerging Parent: Therapists' Tears in Working with Pregnant and Postpartum Clients Wendy N. Davis 14. Supervising Our Tears: A Guide for Supervisors and Trainees Amy Blume-Marcovici, Kelsey E. Schraufnagel, Mojgan Khademi, and Ronald A. Stolberg
Amy Blume-Marcovici, PsyD, has published numerous articles on topics ranging from psychological testing to clinical work with dreams. Her research focuses on process-oriented and relational aspects of psychotherapy, particularly therapists’ emotional expressions in therapy. She is on the editorial board of the journal Psychotherapy.
"Groundbreaking! In this carefully edited volume, the chapter authors unpack the power and meaning of tears in psychotherapy—a unique lens through which we can explore subtle dimensions of the therapy relationship. This book is an invitation to dialogue about a tender topic, replete with compelling case examples and facilitated discussion guidelines. It is destined to become a classic resource for therapists of all theoretical orientations."
Christopher Germer, PhD, coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School
"The image of therapists crying is evoked so very effectively in this excellent book. Dr. Blume-Marcovici has assembled a cast of wonderful clinicians and researchers who share their views on how, why, and with what consequences therapist tears are shed during treatment. The clinical pieces on therapists’ reactions to working with dying clients or those who’ve been abused, or women who’ve just given birth, will likely have readers shedding their own tears. A beautifully rendered and important book."
Barry A. Farber, PhD, professor of clinical psychology, Columbia University
"When Therapists Cry is a poignant, well-researched, and essential book for all therapists. It touches the heart of forbidden territory as the reader embraces the welcomed validation and permission to be human. Just this morning I experienced the inevitable welling up of the ‘proud parent tears’ so beautifully articulated by Amy Blume-Marcovici. Thank you, Amy, for this very important resource for those of us who have the strength and privilege to deeply connect with our clients."
Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW, director of The Postpartum Stress Center and author of Therapy and the Postpartum Woman and This Isn't What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression
"Since modern studies of adult emotional crying began in the 1980’s, there has been a veritable explosion of research on the subject. Until the publication of When Therapists Cry, however, one of the relatively unexplored aspects of the phenomenon of emotional crying has been the dynamics of crying in the context of psychotherapy. Amy Blume-Marcovici and her collaborators in this important new book have now remedied this situation, expanding and enriching our understanding of crying and therapy enormously."
Randolph R. Cornelius, PhD, professor of psychological science, Vassar College, and coeditor (with Ad Vingerhoets) of Adult Crying: A Biopsychosocial Approach.
"In this much-needed volume, Dr. Blume-Marcovici and her colleagues provide a vital forum for a long neglected topic in a beautifully rendered discussion of what happens when therapists are moved to tears. Each of the chapters is thoughtful, meaningful, and inspiring. This will be a most useful book for clinicians of all persuasions and all levels of training."
Steve Tuber, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology and director of clinical training, City College of New York
"When Therapists Cry is a long awaited resource that offers valuable insight and wisdom into crying and feeling in the therapy room. This is not only about knowing another but also having awareness about being known. It will help you figure out how your honest presence can promote positive change and healing. You will read and reread this book and it will empower you as a therapist. A real treasure that can open new possibilities!"
Rosemary B. Mennuti, EdD, retired professor of school psychology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
"Therapists' tears are often seen as embarrassing, intrusive, and even a shameful breach of convention and technique. This thoughtful collection of research findings and personal consulting room experiences helps us see that these moments of humanity may in fact lead to deeper relationships and even a therapeutic turning point. Teachers and students will find a lot to think about here, and so will others who want to learn more about therapy itself."
Ann Shearer, author of Why Don't Psychotherapists Laugh? Enjoyment and the Consulting Room