Laura Hunter Therapies

Why Can’t I Cry in Front of My Therapist?

Therapy sessions are often envisioned as emotional havens where tears freely flow, encapsulating moments of vulnerability and release. This portrayal can leave many wondering why they can’t cry in front of their therapist, especially when they believe it’s an expected part of the healing process. In this blog post, we’ll explore the nuanced relationship between crying, therapy, and emotional expression, underscoring that the journey of therapy is as diverse as the individuals who embark on it.


The image of a person crying during a therapy session has become a cultural symbol of emotional catharsis and breakthrough. It’s a scene often depicted in movies and literature, suggesting a universal response to the introspective and revealing nature of therapy. However, the reality is far more complex. Crying is just one of many ways people express emotions, and its presence—or absence—during therapy does not dictate the value or progress of one’s therapeutic journey. Let’s delve deeper into why everyone’s experience with therapy is unique, including how they express their feelings.

The Expectation to Cry

The expectation that everyone cries during therapy sessions stems from a common misconception about how emotional healing is supposed to look. Society often equates tears with genuine emotional release, viewing crying as the ultimate sign of vulnerability and processing. However, this perspective overlooks the broad spectrum of emotional expressions and the fact that not everyone uses tears as a means of emotional release. The expectation to cry can create undue pressure, making individuals question their emotional responses or the effectiveness of their therapy.

The Normalcy of Crying and Not Crying

Crying is a normal response to a range of emotions, both feelings of joy and sadness. In the context of therapy, tears can be a powerful release of pent-up feelings, offering tangible relief from emotional burdens. Yet, it’s equally normal not to cry. Emotional processing and healing can manifest in countless ways, including introspection, conversation, silence, and even laughter. The absence of tears doesn’t diminish the depth of one’s emotional experience or the progress made in therapy.

No Pressure to Perform

One of the core principles of therapy is the absence of judgement, providing a space where individuals can be authentically themselves, whatever that may look like. Feeling pressure to cry or behave in a specific way during therapy sessions can hinder the therapeutic process, creating a barrier between the individual and their genuine emotions. Therapists understand this and strive to create an environment where clients feel safe to express themselves in whatever manner feels right for them, free from expectations or the need to conform to a perceived norm.

Understanding Individual Differences

Emotional expression is deeply personal and influenced by a myriad of factors, including personality, upbringing, cultural norms, and past experiences. Some may find crying in front of others uncomfortable or may have learned to express their emotions differently. Recognising and respecting these individual differences is crucial, both for therapists and those in therapy. The goal of therapy is to support individuals in exploring their emotions and healing in a way that feels authentic and beneficial to them, not to fit a specific mould of emotional response.


The journey through therapy is a deeply personal and individual experience, marked by a wide range of emotional expressions—or sometimes, a lack thereof. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Why can’t I cry in front of my therapist?”, know that your experience is valid and not uncommon. Therapy is about finding a path to healing that respects your unique emotional landscape, not fulfilling a specific expectation of how that process should look.

If you’re curious about starting therapy or have been feeling stuck in your current therapeutic journey, I invite you to book a discovery call with me. Together, we can explore your feelings towards therapy, address any concerns you may have, and develop a plan that honours your individual way of processing emotions. Remember, the goal of therapy is to support you on your path to emotional well-being, in whatever form that may take. Let’s take that step forward, together.

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