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Showing emotion in front of your supervisor

Just started to take on my first PhD student and in our second session, they burst into tears. I suspect they've felt somewhat neglected by their previous supervisor, and in addition to the whole lockdown situation, and the sense of isolation that many PhD students feel, are now finding the whole thing a little overwhelming.

To those who've cried during supervision and are worried, don't be. Supervisors will have almost certainly seen this a dozen times before, and all are well aware of the extreme and unique pressures of a PhD. If there is any ongoing awkwardness afterwards, this is most likely those minority of supervisors who are somewhat socially inept, just know this is not your fault.

Yes, it is true that PhD supervision should not become substitute therapy sessions. However, all supervisors have a duty of care and this involves a degree of pastoral care. It's important for supervisors to be made aware of any personal circumstances that directly impact the student's studies/progress. We care about your welfare, and we want you to succeed.