Congratulations to Dr. Libby Williams on her recent publication with alumna, Emily Morgan ’18!
Morgan, E., & Nutt Williams, E. (2020). A qualitative study of psychotherapists’ in-session tears. Psychotherapy. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/pst0000298
The article, which is based on Emily’s SMP, examines the impact of therapists’ crying during counseling sessions from the point of view of the therapist. Morgan ’18 and Williams are also scheduled to present their work at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in August.
Publisher abstract: “There is little empirical research on the topic of psychotherapists crying with or in front of clients (Blume-Marcovici, 2017); however, therapists crying in therapy appears to happen more frequently than previously believed (t’ Lam, Vingerhoets, & Bylsma, 2018). Although many clients believe that crying in session improves their relationship with their therapist (Zingaretti, Genova, Gazzillo, & Lingiardi, 2017), it is unclear how therapists’ tears impact the psychotherapy process. For example, as some research has suggested that tearful individuals may be seen as less competent (van de Ven, Meijs, & Vingerhoets, 2017), it is possible that therapist tears are potential detriment to psychotherapy. However, therapists’ tears might also have a positive effect on the therapeutic relationship if they are seen as evidence of therapist genuineness. To more deeply understand therapists’ experiences of crying during a psychotherapy session, 8 practicing psychotherapists of varying theoretical orientations were interviewed using Consensual Qualitative Research (Hill, 2012; Hill et al., 2005; Hill, Thompson, & Williams, 1997). Overall, the therapists had a consistent positive perception of the consequences of their own tears, both on therapy in general as well as on the client–therapist relationship. However, they also acknowledged a lack of training in how to manage their own tears in session, confirming previous results (Blume-Marcovici, Stolberg, & Khademi, 2013) and suggesting that psychotherapists may not be fully prepared to manage tears in counseling. Implications for psychotherapists as well as directions for future research are discussed.” (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)