Sally Creed, Author of “For Crying Out Loud: The Benefit of Emotional Tears and The Movies that Bring Them on”

Sally Scott Creed, a Licensed Professional Counselor who recently released the book, “For Crying Out Loud, The Benefit of Emotional Tears and the Movies That Bring Them On” joins Discover Lafayette to talk about why tears are necessary for emotional health. Her book has been in the making since 1998 when she had an epiphany about the role of tears in human emotional health. Sally Creed discovered that “letting out tears is a great way to release hurt, sadness, or any intense feeling and help us stay balanced.”

Sally Creed’s book, “For Crying Out Loud,” provides a teaching tool as to (1) Why tears are necessary; (2) Why you need to allow your emotional tears to flow; (3) The best way to release your tears; and (4) A listing of 150 movies by ten categories (abandonment, childhood/family issues, grief and loss, tragedy and trauma, etc.) to help bring on the tears. The book is available on Amazon, Kindle, Walmart, and Barnes and Noble.

In practice for over thirty years, Sally specializes in play therapy with children as young as two years of age. She is also experienced in parenting issues, individual therapy for adolescents and adults, and grief and trauma issues.

As a young woman, Sally had always believed that people who cried were weak. But at a retirement party for a beloved professor in her department, she was the only one who wasn’t crying at the thought of losing this mentor. A supervisor confronted her and spoke of the importance of tears and dealing with life’s issues. Sally began to realize that she had used humor as a defense mechanism. And she was not alone; many people keep their emotions hidden by being the ‘jokester’ or are quiet and reserved, or rude and hateful toward others.

Sally’s practice originally revolved around adult clients. But when she started working with children, her work was revolutionized as she witnessed the raw honesty of children. Infants cry when they experience pain or frustration as it’s the only way they can express themselves. At some point, young ones learn to hold in their feelings or risk being labeled a crybaby. Sally says, “We are all grown children. And I learned that most people’s problems started when they were little. When you understand how children are taught to stuff their feelings and not talk about them, you realize that most adults you work with have had bad things happen to them when they were children. We all wear masks.”

Today, Sally Creed shares that “the saddest thing to me is that most adults have forgotten how to cry, or they do their best to suppress it, and the only emotion they will allow to surface is anger. I believe that expressing emotions through tears is a crucial part of our existence and helps us in not only emotional ways but also physical ways as well.”

And science backs up Sally’s professional opinion. The ability to cry emotionally is what separates the human race from the animal kingdom. Sally credits author William Frey and his book “Crying: The Mystery of Tears” for her understanding of the benefits of emotional tears. Frey did a study on two types of tears, irritant and emotional, and explained that while both animals and humans constantly produce a fluid called ‘basal’ or ‘continuous’ tears to keep the surface of the eye moist and prevent infection, only human emotional tears release a substance called manganese which has been implicated in mood alterations. Manganese is thirty times greater in tears than in blood serum. Sally says that “The reason people feel better after crying is that they may be removing chemicals that build up in their bodies during emotional stress. And sadly, as men do not cry as often as women, they develop many more stress-related diseases, and statistically, die earlier than women.

“I have learned to practice what I preach. I cannot stress enough the importance of emotional health. As someone who has made a career out of helping people regain their emotional health, I have learned the importance of crying it out when I get overwhelmed by life or my job.”

So, the premise of Sally’s book is that people feel better after they cry. And movies, those that tug on your heartstrings, are a great way to let it all out….to have a good cry, the kind of cry that makes you bawl! Over the years Sally has questioned each of her clients about what their favorite “cry movie” is. Her book is a delightful compilation of the 150 movies recommended by her clients when she asked which ones made them cry. Sally’s personal favorites are Steel Magnolias, Imitation of Life, and Black Beauty.

How do you know when you may need to cry? She says, “You will know. Anger outbursts are a good indicator that you’re holding in too many emotions and are in need of release.” Other symptoms, such as suffering relationships, feeling overwhelmed, always turning to tv/alcohol/internet, etc. are also indicators.

Sally prescribes “how to cry.” She recommends that you watch the movie alone; it is difficult to let it all hang out if someone else is around and you’re worried they may laugh at you. Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Sally watches late at night when she’s all alone. Turn off your phone and get a movie that is not interrupted by commercials that will kill your attempts to allow tears. Next, pause the movie when you get emotional so as not to break the mood. Sally recommends crying for at least five minutes and no more than twenty minutes as that is an adequate time to release the pent-up emotions inside.

A bit of sage advice for when you are around a friend or family member who is crying: just sit there in support; don’t hand them a Kleenex as “it implies that they should dry their eyes. No one means that but that’s the message.” Sally leaves several boxes of Kleenex around her office and lets her clients get one when they feel they need it.

If you have recommendations for other movies that should be included in Sally Creed’s work, please send her an email at

We thank Sally Creed for this delightful book! It is a wonderful resource for great movies even if you don’t feel the need to cry. Check out if you’d like more information about her Lafayette Christian Counseling practice.