Therapist teary before starting session

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
Have you ever had a therapist start your session looking like she had cried right before your session and her eyes were still swollen and she was sniffling? This has happened to me twice with two different therapists. It’s extremely confusing. I understand that it can happen, but yet I don’t know what kind of emotional reaction to have at that point. I kept going and trying to talk, about half an hour in then she was reading something on her screen and clicking/typing.... it made me feel like I wanted to go away. I told her about both the beginning and her being upset over something and the clicking but she didn’t agree or disagree.
I now feel like I need a little break. I have never canceled before, but I feel like I need some space. I feel confused.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I've had a therapist cry when I showed her my artwork....big alligator tears....and adoption drawing, cry when I read her a poem, and cry in another conversation. She's supposed to keep her shit together......there is nothing wrong with stepping back if your internal alarm system is uncomfortable. Maybe she needs supervision.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe she needs a therapist or a creative drawing class! 😜
I read something somewhere the more than 50% of therapists have their own therapists! You listen to trauma drama all day for a job, you gotta have somewhere to offload. But when things with another individual make me feel confused or emotionally messy inside.......I always listen and step back and re-evaluate the situation. I think your first reaction is a good one.....cancel.....and reassess.
 

ms spock

Sponsor
I kept going and trying to talk, about half an hour in then she was reading something on her screen and clicking/typing.... it made me feel like I wanted to go away. I told her about both the beginning and her being upset over something and the clicking but she didn’t agree or disagree.
I now feel like I need a little break. I have never canceled before, but I feel like I need some space. I feel confused.
Trust your gut.
 

Sues

Confident
Yes, therapists sometimes cry during sessions, but they need to pull themselves together before their next client. They are human, but they also owe you their complete attention. If they are still emotional and struggling not to cry after their previous client, then they are not ready to help you. Just my opinion.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you all. Ya I don’t want to quit. I have no one else that I could go to etc plus she offers me three times a week right now, which I don’t think I could find anywhere else.
I understand she’s human, but it just felt like a little much to me, like the energy of the previous person still left there and then even more with her reading something on her computer (maybe an email).
I don’t want to quit but I want a little space.
I need to think things through a bit.
I almost emailed her tonight but decided to sleep on it first and listen to myself tomorrow.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Are you sure she had definitely been crying? Not just had a coughing/sneezing fit or something that made her look puffy eyed and teary?

if she had been crying, it could be for any number of reasons. Crying in her last client’s session. Letting some tears/feelings out from a previous client in between scheduled clients - so she was puffy eyed but not actually crying when she had her session with you. She may have just received bad news about something personal. She may have been in physical pain and cried. Who knows?!

it doesn’t sound like she was still crying/struggling not to cry with you. So, I guess she thought she could manage herself ok for your session. Maybe she didn’t realise how ‘post-tears’ she still looked.

My therapist has got teary a few times in my sessions over the years. Not actually crying, just tears welling a little. When I mentioned it, she reassured me she was fine but that she was very moved by what I was saying. And I felt fine with that. But others may not.

Recently, she did message an hour before our session to ask if we could reschedule to the next day as she had just received some difficult news and needed a little time to digest it. We went ahead the next day and she was fine.

So, if I were in your situation, I think I’d be ok with her looking like she’d been crying previously as long as she was self managing in my session. The thing that would really rattle me in your scenario is her being distracted and engaging with something/someone else on-screen. It’s her job to be completely present for you, to give all of her attention to you. Looking at something popping up on her screen and typing in response would be a total no go for me. If that’s not the norm for her and it was related to whatever the thing was that she was crying about, then that’s a major lack of self-management.

If you like her as a therapist and want to continue working with her, I would probably drop her an email about it. Saying something like she seemed upset last session and that she was also distracted by engaging with things popping up on her screen. And feeling this lack of presence has really impacted you (maybe say how) and that you would like to talk more about this with her at the start of next session?


Therapists are human, of course. But typing away to do with something on screen during a client session) assuming she wasn’t typing notes about what you were saying??) is unacceptable for me, regardless of what may be going on for her. If it was something that needed her urgent follow up attention, I think she should have rescheduled you, even if that came very last minute for you.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you all. I don’t think she was in physical pain/ sneezing etc as then the session was normal. She seems like a sensitive person to me, so most likely something affected her before my session. My guess is a previous session. I think I have seen her cry in my session once (though I am not sure lol) so I am sure she cries with people. She was a few min late so I am guessing something affected her before. It’s just akward. When I brought these things up she said she wasn’t so fragile and she would be able to handle my session. But then the reading on the screen was too much (she writes notes by hand, so she wasn’t typing ). My guess is she was quickly reading an email. I understand that working virtually through a computer has changed somewhat the way people work and it’s so easy to want to click on something. But it still felt hurtful. She has done this before and when I brought it up she apologized. For other times when she’s had a planned interruption she has actually told me about it in advance and it’s been fine. I was having a hard time during this session too, and in the midst of dissociating and “switching” so it felt even more hurtful. I felt like a burden, and I was apologized for existing. I even offered to end the session. But then later I guess I felt angry and I felt like chopped liver. But I have slept on it now, so I think I won’t cancel and attend my session. In part I feel like I have no choice. I have invested almost a year in this and we have been meeting 3 times a week lately so I have a big investment in this work. Still it felt hurtful and like I was being walked over. :( might take some time to get better. I hope she at least admits it like she did in the past. Even then I understand things happen but I would prefer if she’s not doing other things when working with me. And if she really needs to step out likes she’s done in the past she could just ask.
 
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