Creative Connections & Client Communications
Counseling InsightsExtending Suggestions Creatively
September 30, 2004
Modern astrologers, almost by definition, are resourceful, creative people. We are not simply pronouncing fate and rules from cookbooks –that went out of style about 50 years ago. We are stimulating development in our clients’ life, and we should do this with panache!
For example: I was consulting with a lady near 50 who had given her personal development over to her husband and her children some 25 years ago. She had suffered for this in many ways, but particularly, I thought, because her decided art talent (her identity) was gradually put aside and lost. –My first statement to her at the outset of the consultation was, “What about all this creativity here? The art?” And she replied ini corroboration, “I’m a painter!” but, in leading her through a thorough discussion of her entire life, “painting” never was key to any time period or step of growth! It had been lost, except in her yearned-for self-image. She never mentioned it!
The reasons for this came out in the consultation, and my talk about getting back on track with the art –recovering her birthright— then rang true and positive. Breaking the gray routine of so many years, leaving the psychotherapists, giving up the pills for depression etc. would probably occur if she re-found herself, was true to the dream, and worked on becoming who she was as an artist, a painter. It was about time!
We both agreed on this, but my client was drab about it; routinely bored and boring. She could sense that feeling from herself, reflected back by me, and, to break the ice, she tried a smile and said, “Well, what would I do with what I paint?” And she said it as if I’d never be able to answer the question significantly enough for her.
So here was a key moment in the consultation; it was the focal point for us to establish motivation. And I was ready to extend the suggestion with some specifics; that’s taking the extra step.
I didn’t say the perfunctory: “Well, you could take your works around to galleries, etc.” If my client were in her twenties, that might be a business route to pursue; but we had a different objective here. My client’s art would not necessarily geared to making money, making a reputation for herself, etc. It would be geared to serve others, which was a dominant focus in her horoscope.
I thought about how to capture this in the fewest words I could. I said, “I suggest you should paint … to make other people happy!” And this remark stopped the conversation cold. My client beamed a big smile and it stayed. She understood the opportunity facing her perfectly. There was a moment of settling to anchor in the consultation.
Then we were able to get into ideas rapidly, freely: painting children-room murals to delight youngsters; working with trompe-l’oeil presentations, etc. The paintings would have personality to delight others. My client would finally be pleased with how she related to others. She would be entering into others’ lives delightedly. She would show herself as she needed to be.
A second example: A man was sexually molested often by members of his family in his early years. It was gruesome. The hurt of all this founded a complex of his doubting if he were loveable, deep self-worth crises, relationship difficulties; on top of this, my client developed a severe weight problem. He had been able to marry and have several children, but the pains were still with him, as was the obesity.
How can we begin to clear this problem up? What would a psychotherapist do over a year’s time, perhaps? What would the bottom line be? –Of course, it would be ‘you’ve got to believe that you are loveable for who you are.’ But how can my client be persuaded of that? How can we conceptualize this compellingly in the single consultation?
Here, again, the astrologer must be prepared to push the extra step, to introduce a creative touch that is arresting, memorable, and productive.
“Please: we understand so much here about this. Let me suggest something that will be very, very helpful [Note the assurance of success in the word choice]. Find a quiet, still time and sit down with your wife, relaxedly but formally. Tell her what you will, even discussing this consultation, but ask her please to help you with one question: with a smile, ask her please to tell you why she loves you.
You could have heard a pin drop a mile away. –I repeated the suggestion, adding, “and listen to her.” The consultation resolved very well.
I had two subsequent communiqués from this gentleman, each with tearfully happy reports of most significant weight losses.
So very often, events, relationships, people themselves are regarded with a negative value in our life, and that’s that!. We “hate” this or that; we “fear” this person; we “can’t tolerate” so-and-so. These swirls of feelings are inside us, and they are usually made extreme, are overstated, to serve one purpose or another, and they hang around for so much of a lifetime.
A woman is in the wrong profession, frustrated in pursuing the profession she knows is right, an independent, self-run line of work: “Every time I tried to do this the local government got in my way,” she says repeatedly. –But she had only tried ONCE, and there were bureaucratic problems; she never tried again.
“I’d like to point out that it’s not every time, but ‘once’. What if –knowing more now—what if you did try again? What could happen?”
The “What if” technique pushes the client to visualize the removal of obstacles and the fulfillment of new plans. –Just having your client speak about the positive outcome IF the obstacles were removed opens the door to getting on with it and making the effort.
“What if we took all these awful feelings and put them in a shoe box –a very pretty shoe box, right here; see?—and then put that box of old feelings up on a shelf over there? See? Up there?” This use of the “What if” technique identifies the feelings that have been burning and festering for so long and brings them into the realm of objective understanding; it then keeps them outside the self. Put the box onto the remote shelf; any time your client begins to talk about them again, just point to the box! --Soon the client gets the idea of dissociation from the past problems; the negative feelings.
“What if you didn’t feel that way about so-and-so? What could happen then?” --The client can see that attitudinal modification can allow new behaviors to occur; the rewards become clear; and a lesson is learned.
**The bottom line here in this little essay, is the reminder that planets don’t make things happen, people do; and in the consultation, the astrologer is the creative catalyst for the change of evaluations, mind, and attitude. –A little extra thought away from the astrological guidelines in our preparation work should involve our creative resourcefulness to enrich what we have to share with the client.
Try it! Think it through. Plan it. You will be amazed with what happens!
Next Update: October 31, 2004