As a psychologists we are supposed to be caring and empathic, but yet still remain distant. A formal hand shake at the beginning and at the end of a session or psych testing - that's it.
Today, I had a 34 year old woman starting to cry just at the beginning of my testing as she had just gone through a stressful situation on her way to the hospital. When someone is having a hard time and starts crying I simply can't be the psychologist who "just" sits there and listens and talks. That's not me!
I move my chair closer to the patients', so that I am not sitting on the opposite side any longer, but closer to her, and I usually put a comforting hand on the shoulder of my patient.
Technically this means I am crossing lines, but for it me it means doing what a psychologist is supposed to do in a situation like this - giving comfort!