Do they just like to make you uncomfortable? 

Did they zone out while you were talking?

Are they so shocked at your story that they have no idea what to say now?

There are lots of reasons why they might do this but here are 3 possibilities:

  1. We’re thinking. Being a therapist is a lot like doing improv. We don’t go in with a script, for the most part, and we can never predict 100% what a client will say to us. We might have tons of questions after you finish talking and sometimes we need a minute to figure out what direction to go in next.

  2. We’re reflecting on our own emotions. We’re trained to be aware of our own emotional reactions to our clients. This is so we can keep our own personal issues from taking over but also so we can have a deeper understanding of what you might be going through AND how other people in your life might be reacting to you.

  3. It’s just part of the process. We're trying to get you to dig deep. Silence can be powerful, making you stop and reflect in ways that you usually don’t in everyday life. If we give you a chance to sit in silence, you might come up with an important realization all on your own. So, try leaning into it and just see what happens!

Keep in mind, if your therapist does something that seems strange or makes you uncomfortable, it is absolutely okay to ask why they are doing it. A good therapist won’t get defensive and will usually be happy to explain. 

It is also okay to ask them to not do something that bothers you or makes it hard for you to stay engaged.

Here’s an article that goes more in depth about silence during therapy sessions:

Remember, it’s normal for your therapist to stare at you in silence and it’s also normal if it feels weird to you! Getting out of your comfort zone can be an important part of the journey.

If you're looking for a therapist and you live in Ontario, you can book a FREE consultation with us. We have evening, weekend, and weekday availability and offer virtual and in person appointments. 

Rachel Ginsberg

Rachel Ginsberg


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