After a few therapy sessions, it’s normal to discover you have developed some feelings towards your therapist. You may feel annoyed at some behavioral quirk, a strong attraction, or even just have recurring random thoughts about them. These feelings and thoughts can be a key gateway into your therapeutic process. They often arise from transference, meaning your unconscious patterns and projections you make onto your therapist. When observed, they can be quite telling and help you make breakthroughs in your process.

Finding time and courage to raise issues that pertain directly to your therapy or therapist can be difficult, and you may be tempted to keep the conversation focused on your life outside the clinic. However, pushing through and discussing these types of issues can be very rewarding, because often the same issues you experience outside (in the “there and then”) will manifest directly inside the clinic (in the “here and now”). When they do, your therapist will be more than a listener or an observer; they will be a direct participant. This can allow them to see what’s really going on, not just what you think is going on.

For all the reasons above, this kind of direct interaction can be critical to the success of your therapy. A single session where you open up like this can be more beneficial than countless more traditional sessions.