In therapy, we call it a breakthrough
I don’t really use the term “breakthrough” when I’m with a client, unless it’s jokingly.(I also never say “and how does that make you FEEL?”- too cliche) I do see the moments of “breakthrough” on client’s faces though- when they get the insight they’ve been blind to all along, or are able to break down a defense mechanism. It’s kind of a “Eureka” moment. Some clients will be able to recognize that a change has taken place. Others just feel a little lighter, like a weight has been lifted.
Often there is crying (that’s not a requirement, it can be a no tears moment). Overall, its accessing deeper or buried feelings, recognizing cause and effect or achieving more insight, especially insight that affects their treatment goals.
I don’t know if there is a similar thing for authors. Could a breakthrough be overcoming writer’s block? Finally finding the exact way you wanted to phrase a thought? The rush of the moment when you finish a chapter, or even the whole manuscript? (Before edits and rewrites, of course.)
I don’t know what to call it, but I had an author breakthrough on Sunday. I was writing some backstory for one of my main characters and I got really caught up in the scene. It was almost like I didn’t have to think. As I came to the ending of the scene a tear hit my laptop. I was crying! Even though I was composing this, it was so emotional it made me cry.
Now, I cry when I read certain books, but to cry while writing one? That’s hopefully a sign of good character development!