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Why We Cry

 

And How Understanding Our Nervous Systems Can Help

Why do we cry? And what’s the basic definition of emotion, anyway?


Learn from professor of psychology Jay Efran about his two-stage theory on why we cry and how to more effectively handle those situations in which our clients burst into tears in session. Based on his article in the May/June 2012 issue with Mitchell Greene, “Why We Cry: A Clinician’s Guide,” this clip will illustrate the thesis of their theory and provide a real-life, practical example.



Jay’s presentation is part of our new streaming-video webcast series, “The Emotion Revolution: Harnessing Mind, Body and Soul in the Consulting Room.”


Jay Efran, Ph.D., is emeritus professor of psychology at Temple University. He’s the coauthor of Language, Structure, and Change: Frameworks of Meaning in Psychotherapy and The Tao of Sobriety.


The Emotion Revolution:
Harnessing Mind, Body and Soul in the Consulting Room

Starts Wednesday, July 25th

Click here for full course details.


07.17.2012   Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE   By Psychotherapy Networker
9
Comments
 

  • Not available avatar anonyme 07.17.2012 13:44
    What a load of cr-p! Who wants mind, body, soul or emotion HARNESSED!!!
    Reply
  • Not available avatar Paulette Massari 07.17.2012 15:03
    I must agree that this information is misleading novice clinicians who are uncomfortable when their clients cry or have outbursts of anger. After more than 35 years in private practice, I must say that it is so important to allow clients to discharge these emotions. Did you ever cry til you laughed or laughed til you cried. Babies and toddlers cry all the time if they feel lost, not just when they are united with their parent. That is foolish thinking and misleading. Nothing new has ever been invented better than a psychotherapist with courage enough to allow clients to feel during sessions. Paulette Massari, L.C.S.W., C.A.P.
    Reply
    • Not available avatar steve 07.17.2012 18:52
      brilliant thank you for your comments
      Reply
    • Not available avatar Jay Efran 07.25.2012 19:34
      In our article we explicitly state that babies and toddlers cry easily when they are overwhelmed, even in the presence of parents. The supermarket example pertains to older children and, even then, is simply illustrative of a particular class of situations that are common in people's experience.
      Reply
  • Not available avatar Anon 07.18.2012 01:16
    I find this way of portraying emotion extremely mechanistic and brittle. Yes, our autonomic system is involved in emotion, however, there is a quality to emotion that is so much more subtle and complex. What about tears of empathy, tears of joy, tears of grief, tears of anger, etc? Emotion is not pathological, but rather a major component that sets us apart as sentient beings. Honest expression of emotion in the therapy room or out is evidence of congruence. Of course emotion should not rule the day just as cold reasoning should not as well....we need mind and emotion together....mind in the heart, to live most fully and make the best decisions. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy refers to this as "wise mind". A wise therapist colleague puts it this way, "we can think and feel at the same time".
    Reply
    • Not available avatar Jay Efran 07.25.2012 19:30
      In our article we discuss tears of joy and tears of grief and how these reactions fit our model. Furthermore, nowhere do we imply that emotion is pathological or that emotional reactions do not have psychological components.
      Reply
  • Not available avatar David Riley 07.18.2012 06:04
    I think he is correct in his example from a physiological perspective, as far as it goes. From my experience, however, with clients and in myself, there are many kinds of tears. Some tears, for example, are a result of being overwhelmed by a sad memory. The tears in this case are not a recovery from arousal. Since human beings are representational in our thinking, often the event itself did not produce tears, but the memory of it, because we now see it in a larger context, causes us much greater pain our tears express this overwhelming emotion. Just one example.
    Reply
    • Not available avatar Jay Efran 07.25.2012 19:38
      As we state clearly in our article, being overwhelmed and "giving up" is an important occasion for tears (and fits our model). And, of course, memories of events can trigger emotional reactions as you suggest. Finally, shifts in context of the right sort often move us from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, such as in an example in our article in which my mother signalled an important shift in family context on the occasion of my father's death.
      Reply
  • Not available avatar JW 08.12.2012 08:50
    Thank you for a simple yet suble and sensitive explanation of a topic on which after 25 years of practice, I thought there was not much more to say. I especially appreciated your positive reframing of vulnerale emotions particularly for those who have been embarrassed or hurt further by those feelings. One question I have is how might you respond to someone guarding against the expression of emotion saying "I don't want anyone to pity me".
    Reply
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