April 19, 2024

The Fear of Counseling

Creative Connections & Client Communications

The Fear of Counseling

It is natural for astrology students to be afraid of “counseling.” They sense a lack of preparedness and confidence within themselves. –Let’s talk about this a bit.

First of all, the word “counseling” came into being as we know it within the attendant psychological relationship between two people, in the 1930s. At that time only medical people were legally permitted to practice psychotherapy. Carl Rogers (1902-1987), an American psychologist who established the “person-centered” approach to analysis (the therapist following the patient’s lead), called his therapy “counseling” to enable him and other psychologists to practice, side-stepping legal restrictions.

The first thing astrologers must learn in order to free themselves for helpful counseling is that therapeutic counseling and psychotherapy have little to do with the giving of advice. Early on, in our desire to be helpful, we naturally feel a strong need to “fix things”. We get into the weakening trap of “If I were you, I would….” [What a presumption!] Or we feel impotent to address anything but the most rudimentary decision-making processes or reaction strategy.

Then, we seek rescue in the planets, and, naturally, for any difficulties in life we blame the planets; for success we take all the credit personally. -We must remember that planets do nothing; people do.

Think about this: “The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the client’s work [in life] in ways which respect the client’s values, personal resources and capacity for self-determination.” –This very telling designation comes from the British Association for Counselling (Invitation to Membership, 1994).

Clients coming to an astrologer do indeed expect a lot …even more than advice: they want to know “what is going to happen!” We astrologers must adjust these expectations in all our public appearances and communications, especially during the appointment-making call from the prospective client. [See pages 64-65, The Creative Astrologer.]
We must continue to educate our market.

Students who think that they do not have “the talent” for counseling may indeed be correct, and they should get out of consultation astrology. [Not everyone who studies Latin in school, for example, becomes a classicist; chemistry, a chemist, etc.] But much more often than not, the astrologer who feels a lack of talent is actually excusing a lack of learning, of polishing the craft!

Today, I received an e-mail from one of my early-level students who was feeling so proud. He had been to a meeting of a group of astrologers in his home city-supposedly advanced astrologers-and he had dived right in with the discussions of different horoscopes. With only 3 or 4 of the 15 or so indispensable keys to analysis which comprise the first four Lessons of my Master’s Degree Course, this student wowed everyone! “How did you know that?” he heard. “What led you to that observation?” –My student “knew things” that were geared to the human condition rather than to a code book of meanings; he knew how to bring measurements literally and figuratively to life, to relate them holistically. In his hard work and study, he had started to polish his talent brightly, gaining a considerable amount of confidence..

Learning in the right way and polishing what we learn within the communicative relevance of the consultation is what quickly creates a star astrologer. The intuitive antennae are there in each of us, and analytical technique must help that bloom through discovery of the creative connections to be made between measurements and client reality. -My training of others in this artistic way, bringing together everything they know [finally!], is accomplished first with the elimination of all jargon in the consultation dialogues! Just imagine the focus this puts upon the astrologer, upon his or her having something significant to say!!!! –It works.

And finally, we must realize what we don’t know, as much as what we do know. This, in the end, is wisdom. I know precisely what I know little about, and this makes my reservoir of knowledge in other fields all the more powerful. -I have a reading program (that’s what plane rides are for!!): 2-3 books about life each month.

I suggest you think about such a reading program for yourself: for example, contact 1-800-634-7064 and ask for the Brunner/Mazel Psychotherapy Catalog to be sent to you (free). You will learn an enormous amount from those books there {authors Viscott, Kottler, Dryden in particular}. Check the bibliographies in my books for the bold-faced items (eminently readable); seek them out for your own study. Fill your day with ideas and feelings that will bring astrology’s symbols to life —through your work!