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What to Do When Your Client Cries

If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It

Jay Efran

By Jay Efran - How can both joyful and tragic events elicit tears? This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. And sometimes, clinicians can feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken.

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VIDEO: What to Do When Your Client Cries

Making Tears Your Therapeutic Ally

Jay Efran

Many times, when clients cry, clinicians feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken, which can actually make things worse. Watch as Jay Efran explains his strategy for working with a crying client.

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Doing Away with the "Blank Slate"

What Happened When One Therapist Decided to Self-Disclose

Jay Efran

By Jay Efran - These days, I rarely hesitate to share my frank reactions with clients, most of whom, I have come to realize, are far hardier than we were taught to believe. If the setting is right, even brutal honesty can advance the therapeutic cause. Over the years, I have discovered a very handy therapeutic mantra to consider whenever the work bogs down, "When you find yourself stuck, try the truth."

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Conversational Skill, the Common Denominator in Good Therapy

Are Specialization and Clinical Complexity Really Necessary?

Jay Efran

By Jay Efran and Rob Fauber - Over psychotherapy’s history, the search for new therapy techniques and fancier gimmicks has led the field lurching down one blind alley after another. But therapy is undeniably a form of conversation, not a medical treatment. It can never be fully scripted or manualized, and its value hinges on a few basic principles that have been known for a long time.

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The Many Reasons Why Therapy Clients Cry

A Clinician's Guide to the Biological Basis of Tears

Jay Efran and Mitchell Green

How can both joyful and tragic events elicit tears? This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. Physiologically speaking, emotional tears are elicited when a person’s system shifts rapidly from sympathetic to parasympathetic activity---from a state of high tension to a period of recalibration and recovery. And sometimes, clinicians can feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken.

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To Tell the Truth

Letting Go of Our Inscrutable Facade

Jay Efran and Mitchell Green

Therapists aren't supposed to discuss personal problems, or even acknowledge having any. While preaching congruence, who among us has never pretended fondness for a client we actually disliked, didn't understand and didn't trust? But on at least two ticklish occasions, with a minimum of strategic deliberation, I opted to step out from behind my own well-cultivated facade of inscrutability to tell clients the unvarnished truth---with surprising results.

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Why We Cry

A Clinician’s Guide

Jay Efran and Mitchell Green

How can both joyful and tragic events elicit tears? This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. Physiologically speaking, emotional tears are elicited when a person’s system shifts rapidly from sympathetic to parasympathetic activity---from a state of high tension to a period of recalibration and recovery. And sometimes, clinicians can feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken.

Read more...

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