Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midwife to Tears

As a therapist, you know it's been a good week of productive therapy when you've gone through an entire box of Kleenex in your office. This is not to say that tears alone produce healing or progress, but I know that tears sometimes will break down barriers. I have many clients that all began treatment with me around March of this year and all of them are reaching a similar place in treatment right now-- hitting the core. It's been emotionally draining for me to help them contain the heaviness of what we are reaching. It never fails to amaze me, though, watching the human spirit heal itself. I am in awe each time it happens, kind of like the miracle of watching a child being born. It's really beautiful to watch someone travail in pain, produce a nugget of truth, work through it, and emerge someone whole. I love my job!

I wonder-- what is it about tears? I have seen some people whose tears seem to be meaningless. They cry over most anything, all the time, to no benefit. The tears have come to mean nothing and produce nothing. It's like they are stuck in grief and crying. That's a very sad place to be. More often, however, particularly with children, I find those people who refuse to cry. I can't tell you the number of people I have met in therapy who tell me crying is for wussies, both girls and boys alike. It's unfortunate that somewhere in their lives they have been given this message. It really requires great strength to let yourself cry. You have to have the confidence of knowing you can contain yourself within the grief. Crying is a release and, thus, a trusting that as you let this part of yourself go, there will still be a self standing once the tears stop. For most of us who have this innate understanding of tears, that they come and they go, we are able to allow them to work for us as needed. Imagine what it's like for those who never get that release and how terrifying it must be to believe you cannot cry for fear of losing yourself.

This week I've had the wonderful opportunity to play midwife to the tears of children. It's been such an honor to sit by them and coach the tears that have been welling for years. We have sat together in the quiet while tears crowned and spilled. I am so proud of these little people who finally felt brave enough to let that part of themselves go. They have learned crying is not weak. From a place of true strength, they have allowed the tears to do their own work. No one has been lost this week, but with the help of a box of Kleenex, lots of people were found. :-)

Photo above found at:

1 comment:

  1. And through your post you have brought tears to my eyes.

    I still struggle with crying. It scares me. I never cried as a kid because my tears were not noticed. So eventually I gave myself the message that crying is not safe. It just leaves you vulnerable. Slowly but surely that is changing, but it has taken a good year for me to be able to cry openly with my t. There are still times I hold it back. It just feels too dangerous.

    Just posted that about 10 minutes ago oddly enough.

    Thank you for this post. Such hope :)