Creative Connections & Client Communications
Getting Close to the Client
Relationship dynamics are at work in the astrological consultation: the client and astrologer must create a close bond quickly. This is accomplished through compliments (acceptance), disclosure, and the brevity of the relationship with the astrologer (compression of socialization dynamics).
Let's look at relationships in general first:
The solidarity at the beginning of a strong relationship is usually graced by intimacy, that priceless comfort of being accepted by someone who knows your shortcomings as well as your strengths and will not criticize or reject. But, a strange phenomenon then occurs -and it has been well tested by social psychologists-- once we have grown certain of the rewarding behavior of a person, that person may become less powerful as a source of reward than a stranger can be. --And we must note that, in the same line of thought, a loved one has great potential as a punisher.
It has been found in psychological testing that there is a tendency for people then to react more positively to strangers than to friends when either group was designated as the source of relatively positive evaluation of the subjects. The compliment perhaps over-familiar from the spouse carries much more impact when presented by a stranger, and, in turn, one's liking for the stranger is increased.
We seem to be forever seeking favor in the eyes of strangers while, at the same time, we are being hurt by friends and other familiar people. -This tells us that our appreciation of the stranger is a kind of speeded up intimacy process, with the key being that the stranger, the new friends 'out there', do not know our vulnerabilities. We are meeting them quickly, looking and being our best, and there is this marvelous compliment that lifts us high! We rarely doubt or discredit it. Our vulnerabilities or shortcomings are not getting in the way.
In the Astrological Consultation This appreciation for the stranger through the positive statement is a vital energy that can occur strategically, helpfully, within the astrological consultation. Client and astrologer are strangers to each other; seeking a great benefit from a brief time together. Both are working to make it happen.
I have long noticed that when I pay a compliment to a client, I sometimes receive enormous appreciation for it -disproportionate appreciation. I have then asked, "Hasn't your wife/husband told you this recently? [I add the word 'recently' as a grace, implying that 'of course she/he knows this positive observation and has told you many times before.'] Through this kind of subtle bonding within the ego-appreciation process of the astrological consultation, much client strengthening can be accomplished.
Gains in esteem are essential to a relationship that is continuing to grow, and this includes the client/astrologer relationship. Fresh ways of communicating this are exciting ways to reassure the process toward intimacy. We must be aware of this dynamic as we relate so quickly with the client, as the client relates with us.
And lastly, we must know that we tend to relate better with people when we bond through disclosure,when others honor us by revealing something intimate and negative about themselves. This too is what occurs in the astrological consultation. It is especially true when the client is normally reserved.
And the best way to stimulate disclosure is to disclose ourselves in moderate fashion, as an example, as a show that we trust the client!
The implication is that there is something special about us or the client that made him or her or me feel like opening up. This is the "best friend" atmosphere in which one can be intimate, while intimacy may be difficult with the spouse or any other relationship. -And here again, during the astrological consultation, we encounter similar dynamics connected with disclosure. Time and time again, I have had clients tell me, "I've never talked about this with ANYone before, not even my therapist!" The consultation represents an oasis of safety.
Astrologers must pay attention to these dynamics if a practical bonding is to occur quickly during the consultation.
Next Update: April 30, 2001