Creative Connections & Client Communications
Patience with your Client’s Unconscious
The students in my Master’s Degree Course are armed with powerful insightful tools. Often these tools are formed by special word-combinations (images) that have much proven power in capturing developmental scenarios in the client’s life. Occasionally, one feels timid about using such powerful insightful images in consultation discussion: will the statement have its effect?; will it uncover the meaningful developmental experience it should?; will I be right?
First of all, “being right” is not the primary issue; being valid is. This objective conditions HOW we say insightful phrases, translating concrete measurements into artistically deductive probes. And that is a learnable process, the fulfillment of which is an exhilarating, Eureka-like experience!
And then there is the next fearsome stumbling block: the client’s denial of a valid observation. Even though the client’s position and the astrologer’s position are protected (with semantic grace, specifically using the verb “suggests”, etc.), the client appears compelled to deny or condition a point defensively.
For example: when presenting the phenomenology of Saturn-retrograde or other measurements that channel into the same deduction, the client will occasionally reply, “Oh, my father was wonderful; he hugged and kissed us often, and he was my hero! I looked up to him so!” --I want to suggest strongly that this is an initial defense of the father-problem, a projection of how things were desired to be, often overlaid with cultural protocol (most often Church-defined influences, etc. about the family unit).
The astrologer says, --This is not a criticism or evaluation of your father; it’s an observation that is indeed valid.
“Well, I guess you could say that. My mother really did run the family … my father was in the background ………… ………… Uh, well, it was curious why he, uh … disappeared often, especially at holiday time, for half the time ….”
--Why was that?
“Well, I didn’t find out until I was 18 … my father had another family, with children and everything. He was living a double life …and….it was such a shock I had to go into psychotherapy for help.”
This is an actual conversational exchange from my last consultation! The delay in acknowledging this extremely important paternal (parental) imbalance occurs frequently and can be unnerving to the relatively inexperienced astrologer.
I suggest further that the delay mechanism in recognizing and divulging the reality of the situation is time well spent by the client, for which the astrologer must have empathy. The client is building up trust in the astrologer for such deep divulgence; the client’s unconscious is trying to formulate just how to say it. --It is quite startling for the client within an astrological consultation with a stranger to have such depth touched so quickly.
I have had clients insist/deny such a valid (sure) observation to such an extent that I had to move on, secure in my mind and experience that an extra-dire situation was being defended extra-diligently. THEN, perhaps 10 minutes later, the unconscious spoke through the trust built up in the consultation, and out came the story of stories!!
So, on the one hand, the astrologer must be confident (empirically seasoned) with powerful deductive patterns and, on the other, patient with the client’s assimilation of the probing observations summarizing those patterns.
It is very helpful to recognize that denial is delay. Conditions must be “right” for any admission to be spoken, for disclosure to be made. The right conditions are comprised of trust, privacy, positivism, the absence of any threat of criticism … and respect for you, the listener.
Next Update, March 1, 2002