When crying in therapy is a red flag – and when it isn’t

I used to cry (I mean weep, sob, have tears in eyes) sometimes when someone said something that made me feel understood. I used to often cry in therapy sessions. I liked crying in these cases; I felt I was working through things. I can see how some therapists might feel that they’re being successful if the person cries. Sometimes it’s that way. But they shouldn’t just do whatever makes someone cry. That could be very bad, too, I imagine.
Yes. Crying, in itself, is not a red flag. Crying in therapy *can* be a good thing.
What’s bad is when a therapist pursues getting someone to cry as an end in itself.

“What he would have wanted”

Talking about what someone would have wanted only makes sense if that person is dead.

If the person you’re talking about is still alive, talk about what they do want.

And assume that they want to live. Almost everyone does.

Even if they’re brain damaged, even if they’re in pain, even if they have dementia, even if they no longer recognize people.

They’re still a person. They’re still there. And they still want things.

So don’t ask what they would have wanted. Ask what they do want.


It’s harder to hear tone of voice over the telephone. Phone lines convey what the phone company thinks is the minimum information needed to understand speech. It doesn’t convey music well, apparently. It’s not very good for people speaking a language they’re not very fluent in. I have trouble recognizing whose voice it is or even sometimes whether it’s a man or a woman; this can be embarassing. It’s not lying to say “I can’t hear tone of voice very well over this phone connection.”
That makes a lot of sense.