Creative Connections & Client Communications
January 30, 2004Therapeutic Shifts of Mind
Under stress, our clients think differently than their best; we all do!
We describe a difficult situation over and over and over again: “This shouldn’t be happening,” we say. We repeat and repeat, “This is crazy; I’m really upset.” --Many people come to an astrologer to find out when the stress period will end, without realizing how critical their thought processes are to ending the difficulties.
These thought processes can work against progressing out of the morass of stressed feelings. The objective of discussion must be to “get on with it,” to think forward rather than at anchor, mired in dismal suffering.
In our consultations, we can work to alter the client’s point of view, under stress: instead of “I’m confused. What the hell is wrong with me?” [Notice the personalization of blame.], we can get the conversation to say, “Of course I feel this way! I need to do something about it!” We recognize the problem objectively and start to work away from it.
Situations of stress are understandable; they are not hopelessly irrational. Finding the understanding gives the client a starting point to escape for remediation, for safety. –“Let’s figure out which approaches could work for you and which approaches might not.” Simple, but the stressed client rarely thinks of that, frantic in the aloneness feelings of victimization.
In a consultation, feelings and confidences are being shared, perhaps as with no one else in the world. Ideally you create empathy with your client, and the client feels supported by the consultation, by you the astrologer. The bottom line becomes, “We’re going to get some results with these actions we’re going to take.”
During the consultation when we work to change the mind-set for the client to get on with things, we must avoid some clients’ all-or-nothing thinking, that which always ends up framing the client as a failure. We can’t jump to conclusions, usually negative ones; realistic thinking and objectivity must emphasize reality. And above all, we must not let the client personalize difficult situations, identifying himself or herself as the negative agent.
We have to check the client’s mental filter, which can easily be constructed through years of habit, to dwell on the negative, assuming the worst within any tension construct.
--You’ve got the picture! Think about the subtle shifts of perspective that really can work wonders, which emerge out of clear, subtle turns of conversation. Really think about how you’re talking to your next client in terms of strengthening their self-worth profile and going forward to fresh freedoms.
Let’s look at this same theme more clinically.
The intellect is able to create something out of nothing. We create thoughts and feelings from our own intrinsic make-up, from the way feelings were expressed or not expressed within the parental model, and from what is rewarded or repressed by our immediate environment. These ways of behavior can be inspired; they can be neurotic.
When there is developmental tension –as we are challenged to grow—anxiety often pushes us to misinterpret what is really going on. Our perceptions become distorted, old fears and behaviors to defend ourselves are reactivated. We become fearful.
Psychiatrist David Viscott –one of the great writer-therapists in this country— suggests that our fears come mostly from self-doubts. And, of course, self-doubt is linked to a breaking down of the self-worth profile, something we can see so easily in horoscope analysis (signification of the 2nd House under high developmental tension, introducing evaluation of the 11th, 10th, 4th, 5th, and 7th).
By coming to an understanding of this, specifically our feelings of inadequacy to cope with a difficult situation, we discover that what we fear is not really so fearful after all! The dark caste to the situation really comes from within us and our feelings of vulnerability. Those deep secret fears grow to unrealistic proportions.
Viscott says it right out, “As soon as you admit, ‘This isn’t so scary,’ you are on your way. Facing fear is testing reality rather than relying on your preconceived belief [i.e., self-doubt].”
Viscott adds that “people with low self-esteem avoid admitting their hurt. They do not want to discover that the other person hurt them on purpose or does not love them. They do not want to accept the hurt of rejection [the fact of rejection]. They hope their pain will go away by itself, without them making a scene and risking abandonment.”
In short, this is why and how routined negative-feelings and perceptions get grooved into the developmental scheme of a person’s life.
--I had a client recently who was clearly significantly depressed, sometimes to extremes, for a long, long time. With patient conversation about her life developments, we uncovered three great times in her life –just three—and all were keyed to strong Jupiterian rescue times. At those times, my client said, each time, “That’s when I received a lot of respect!” this conceptualization of respect was her issue for sure.
The consultation was roaring to a close that could easily propel my client out of her home-routine of depression and out into the world helping others (fulfilling a marvelous Moon-oriental profile). The newness of the possibilities, vividly clear and objective and rational, caused her to waver a bit in understandable routined fear. With this glimmer of insecurity, I said, “Remember, this will be another time when you WILL receive respect … I promise you … and this respect, this time, can stick!”
The new positive grip on her life was firm and supportive.
We had changed her mind-set carefully and gradually. There was definitely a therapeutic shift of mind. The consultation had made a difference.
--Think of where you are going with your client: through empathy, to a conclusion that is supportive, thumbs-up positive, reasonable, and vividly felt. Get there with careful conversation; artful word choice. You too will be enriched.
Next Update: February 29, 2004