This paper deals with a new strategy for initial stress identification by stress relaxation methods, coupled with finite element calculation, and applied to the overcoring test. The back-analysis of such a test uses an inversion method which consists in the minimisation, with a gradient-based algorithm, of a cost functional of least-squares type, which quantizes the difference between measured and computed strains. The computed strains are assessed by three-dimensional finite element modellings of the overcoring test. The inversion methodology is applied to a recent in situ overcoring test performed at Mont Terri laboratory, Switzerland. The inversion gave good results and allows us to validate the inversion methodology. The constitutive law considered for this application is transverse isotropic elasticity but the inversion method developed is applicable to most constitutive laws and every kind of in situ test.