Psychotherapy begins before it begins and continues after it ends. Before the first appointment’s encounter, psychotherapy starts as a hope, an intuition, a hypothesis, even a prayer. A patient says, “Even before I saw you, I think I invented someone like you to talk with, even though I didn’t know that this person that I invented had to exist.” So we realize that much as the question about a transitional object – did I discover this or create this? – should not be resolved, so, as therapists, we are co-creators, co-discoverers of ourselves.
A therapist who has been helpful remains in the mind after appointments cease, changing the inner light by which we see ourselves much as a stained glass window changes the light that passes through it to something quite different than ordinary sunlight. Oddly, a therapist who remains an inner presence can develop along with the person who has taken him in, becoming almost someone else from who he once was.