One moment in psychotherapy stands out for me: when tears fall from the eyes of a wounded patient.
Picture this session. David’s emergency appointment. Sublime silence between opening our session and the words that followed.
There he related his yearning for his wife whom he just brought into a drug rehab facility. Prior to that he caught her cheating and having sex with different men.
Surfaces: tattooed muscular body, over 6 footer, a successful millionaire engineer, very smart and intellectually objective middle-aged man.
That’s what typically catches my attention so easily. Until the outer appearances begin to peel off.
David sobbed profusely. A deep grief and sadness penetrated. I’d learned to get past the surface.
He had a lot of energy. David gave it away in tears like vibrating waves passing from him to me.
David’s tears gave me a headstart on knowing him well. And, the parts of his true self that were hidden.
Such few moments in psychotherapy often tell me much more about a patient than months of analysis.
Charles Dickens, once wrote in Great Expectations:
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before – more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”