Therapist teary before starting session


I confronted this always in therapy. I know not everyone can do this but I need to be safe in therapy and it’s selfish but YES it’s about me. If my therapist was screwing around on her computer I’d probably get up and walk out and say let me know when you have time to do this. As for her crying or looking like she did? I’d ask her. I’d try to avoid asking her but that would more or less guarantee I was going to say it. That’s your time and you deserve the undivided attention of the therapist.

All that said my therapist had pissed me off plenty of times but she’s human too and I calmed down a lot. In the early stages though especially, the therapist should be more concerned about you when you are in front of her than anything else.

I hope you can tell her, your feelings are valid 100% and you can’t be unreasonable because that’s why you’re there.


thank you so much @Mach123 . I have been surprised that I can bring some of this up in sessions now days! Like even though I didn't say it directly, yesterday I was like you seem hurt and like something has happened. Or I feel like you're reading something on the screen. She didn't say yes or no to either. We'll see how it goes in the next session.


You are welcome I hope you work it out with her. My therapist and I have had a very tempestuous relationship so it’s easy for me to say, because I was always yelling my head off at her especially in the beginning. But you have to be your own advocate and I’ve read plenty of stuff on here about these therapists that’s totally unacceptable and it’s a very sensitive relationship, but it has to be geared toward you and your needs and it’s ok.


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.
I think it is a reasonable expectation that for the time you are there, that she be focused on you...


Therapy is for us not for the therapist. So whenever we have strong reaction, it may be more beneficial and useful prognosis to find out why we are reacting this strongly? you know this therapist for a while so she had something you notice and since you cannot be so sure, it maybe easier to say she seemed or looked rather than she was teary. There could be million reasons why? Maybe a pet died, she heard a news. Something is going on . Maybe it is your perception and you were projecting very strongly....when we have disconnection pro-socially our perception goes through a very tight tunnel and we see what we need to see to distract from our own feelings. In all and all, a therapist making a mistake one time (or a partner making a mistake) teaches us that all humans are fallible and we are also more prone to read what we are rather than what others are. I wonder if it would be more healing for you if you focus all the feelings this mistake is bringing up for you and own that and see what that means for you. If I go a step deeper, I wonder if you have a parent who was sick or (had some mental health) that impacted you deeply and this incident is bringing up similar reactions in you? and that might be valuable step. When a child has a sick parent who is not aware or conscious or boundaried, the child carries their burden and we take that into our relationships until we become super conscious of it and see for what it is. Obviously these are my take and opinions not the gospel so please take with grain of salt but try to see my comments and your therapist's state of mind (on this particular session) as your thing versus her/my thing and take what is useful for you and realize your own reaction is more important than her state of mind or my observation.


I reflected a lot and went to the session. And even mentioned how I had been reflecting about her saying last time that maybe I was just trying to push her away by noticing these things. And maybe I was scared of closeness.
And then I don’t know what happened. The session ended up being a shit show and I have canceled my next two sessions. I am extremely confused as to what happened. But I guess I will finally get the space I needed. I tried really hard to show up, be honest etc but it didn’t work.


I don’t even know if I have the words to describe what happened. I am not even so sure.
I described to her how I had wanted to cancel and how I then slept on it. But how I was also reading some stuff and reflecting on the fact that maybe I was pushing her away because I was scared of the closeness and maybe being super aware of every single thing she did.
And she said nothing per usual.
Then I said I don’t know what to think when she doesn’t engage and say something back as I thought I was being courageous bringing this things up and not canceling and coming to face the issue.
And she said something like oh you are scared to have your own opinion. And I was like no no I am just saying like you’re not engaging with this topic.
And then it kept going like this. Her getting defensive and saying that she does say things but maybe I don’t like what she says. Me saying she says stuff but not something that’s back to what I am saying. And I was feeling kind of defeated as I felt like I tried so hard, but nothing worked.
I just don’t know what happened or what I did wrong, I always thought that being honest was the best way to fix this things, but it didn’t work out. Maybe I just didn’t know how to express myself. I am just very confused.


"I just don’t know what happened or what I did wrong, I always thought that being honest was the best way to fix this things"

Yes!! In therapy you (normally) don't need to worry about doing anything wrong. Therapy is for you, and about you, and your therapist is there to support and guide you through the process of healing. That being said, your therapist works for you. Period. You are not there to fix things between your therapist and you. Your therapist should always be very open to discussing your relationship with them. In fact, it's your relationship with your therapist that most determines your success with therapy.

Therapists will also give you space to talk. So that means they might wait to say something or answer you. I'm wondering if the times she didn't engage with you was her waiting to see if you would share more?

From what you are describing, I'd be confused too. You absolutely must feel comfortable with your therapist in order to be successful in therapy. This often takes a long time. Trust is hard to give when we are dealing with trauma. Personally, I would want to continue to talk about and work on this so that there would be a healthy, strong foundation of understanding between both of you to move forward with.


I'm sorry @mylunareclipse , that sounds like it did not go well at all.
She sounds quite defensive. I wonder why?
It sounds so difficult, because what do you do? You can't make it better on your own, you need her to do her part.
I agree with @Sues .
It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It sounds more like she, for whatever reason, can't just take it.

I really hope you are able to work this through, whatever that looks like.


Well done for being courageous and keeping your appointment so you could bring this up with her! I’m sorry it didn’t go as you had hoped.

I know when I’ve had misunderstandings - and some pretty major ruptures - with my therapist, it has been very stressful, upsetting and confusing...and also, at times, has felt all-consuming.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it sounds like you did anything wrong. Something about therapy and your therapist wasn’t working for you and was bothering you and you brought it up to talk through it and work through it with her.

It sounds like she was reluctant to do that in the moment and that, instead, she became defensive.

And trying to engage with someone who is in defensive mode is incredibly diffficult! And can lead to more frustration, upset and confusion because the situation remains stuck.

I understand the drive to then cancel the next sessions. I’m wondering what your intention is around that? Is it to take a break to get some space around it? Is it to stop completely and not return to her? Is it to send her a clear message that you’re seriously not getting what you need from her at the moment? Or...plenty of other options!


Hi all! Thank you so so much for all comments. So I just wanted to update a bit. So I sent her an email after that last session to cancel our following sessions for the rest of the week (we meet three times a week). For some reason I was crying a lot and was quite upset over this as I was genuinely confused. Thank God later that evening she responded with a kind email and said that given our session she could see how I could have felt almost “gaslit” and that must feel very upsetting. She set she was happy I shared more of my feelings and that if I would be willing to give meeting a try (instead of canceling) even though it might be hard. Maybe we could talk things out.

I was happy about her email. I was expecting her to just say ok see you in a week. When we met, I think I did most of the talking. And tried to explain my confusion and she agreed that what I had wanted to talk about in the previous session was an important topic and we should talk about it, but I said I didn’t think I could go back to that conversation again. So we went back and forth a bit, I felt very validated. But also told her about my crying and how upset I had become and gone from being angry at her to feeling guilty. And why am I this way? In the end we kind of resolved the situation and weable to move on. She said she had been happy to get my email.
in the end I felt quite ashamed as I felt like I had overreacted. Not sure why I was so touched by the whole thing. Only thing I have to say is that having three times a week therapy makes it so much easier to resolve situations like this so much quicker and it doesn’t drag on.
I am glad my therapist answered with kindness in the end, despite the fact that she got defensive in the session. Sometimes sessions are like this I guess and even therapists miss the boat. But on my part. How can I accept feeling disappointed or angry at someone, without turning that inwards?