Establishing Objectives to Guide the Consultation
So few astrologers actually think through what they want to accomplish -what astrology should accomplish- during a consultation. Naturally, this affects the consultation itself: it can wander, it can lack authority, "handles" on which the client can get a grip. The consultation is up for grabs, as it were.
It used to be that the consultation was a one-sided performance by the astrologer, playing descriptive "gotcha" with the client: the client was this or that, felt this way or that way, attracted this situation or that, etc. It's embarrassing to look back on that practice. The "reading" performance was filled up with arcane jargon, meaningless to the client; magical mumbo jumbo that was somehow revealing the fate of the individual.
This is part of the reason why no astrology consultation transcripts have ever been published in toto, unexpurgated, unedited. -I am leading a campaign to change that: see The Creative Astrologer and please see my 9,000-word article in England's Astrological Journal (January 2000). Astrologers must learn from example: what is the style of consultation; how is dialogue managed; what are the objectives?
Basic Considerations First of all, we must know that the planets do nothing; people do. So a basic, indispensable objective is to find out the need profile of the client and the behavioral routines the client uses to fulfill those needs in relation to inner and outer environments.
The second basic consideration is to realize that tension is necessary for development. Our culture -in its espousal of flight/fight, pleasure/pain principles- devises ways to avoid tension at all costs (until very recently, that meant even the tension of work, of exercise!). Our objective in the astrological consultation is to determine how much tension there has been in development, what about that tension has been carried forward in development from the formative years, and how that tension and its defenses operate in adult socialization and professional endeavor.
In the process of this relating the horoscope and its symbolism to the life reality being lived by the client, we "know who's coming to dinner," as I like to say. We learn who the client is, what the client needs, and how the client relates the inner environment to the outer environment in pursuit of fulfillment.
The third basic consideration is to realize that almost all clients are looking for change, but that few of them are able to manage it, make it happen, react well to it, or find themselves in a reality (and astrological) position for it when they wish it!
These three considerations are very helpful: they lead us into the client's reality instead of into an exercise of astrological deductions for their own sake.
Specific Learning Objectives in the Consultation Research done in Single Session Therapy (please see The Creative Astrologer, page 97 forward) by Dr. Moshe Talmon includes a fascinating test report that leads to the inference that single session therapy awakens the following list of nine different therapeutic mechanisms. -And I must add: so does the astrology consultation awaken the same list. These considerations are key to the astrologer's doing a fine job with the client.
1. Establish Insight.
2. Awaken the capacity for self-analysis.
3. Work through feelings with the people involved in the client's world-focus (improving communication with others).
4. Look for and project normal maturation and growth (the benefit of time; water under the bridge, as it were).
5. Show the benefits of therapeutic relationships, especially the togetherness possible in a marriage.
6. Get clients to take responsibility for their own life.
7. Break the vicious cycle between the client and his or her environment (repetitive behavioral patterns that are detrimental to personal fulfillment).
8. Provide genuine reassurance.
9. Offer direct learning, explanation, information.
The conclusion is quite simply that we should never underestimate our clients' capacity to use their own mind to help themselves. Again: planets are not doing anything; people are. The planets are guides for us all, and they are witnesses to people helping themselves.
Before your next consultation, go through these points again. Keep them fresh, front and center, in the discussion with your client. Grow.
Next Update: April 26, 2000