Creative Connections & Client Communications
Creating Therapeutic Images
Think of the aphorisms (concise statements of principle, from the Greek and French for "definition") that creep into conversations all the time. They tell a truth concisely and memorably: ideas like "No one can make you feel inferior without your cooperation"; "Into every life some rain must fall";"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me"; "Time and tide wait for no man"; "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," etc.
The consulting astrologer can use an aphorism to sum up deductions and conversation with the client. The aphorism(s) can be from someone famous or it can be made up on the spot. When you are sensitive to summing things up concisely, memorably, it's amazing how the words do fall into place, often startlingly! --You will really feel good about this; you feel as if everything is somehow wrapped up in a neat, memorable, important package.
The other day in consultation, I was bringing the conversation about the client's past difficulties in development to a vivid point of objectification; this would allow the client to leave those difficulties behind. I found myself saying, "Now, you won't have to work to stay afloat ÷ in old waters ÷ any more." --Somehow, this statement summed up everything to the client. We just sat there and looked at each other, each of us nodding ever so slightly. My client's broad, knowing smile (recognition, reception) then relaxed the moment.
This statement was concise. It was easy to remember. Its form -to be a true aphorism-would have been something like "one must work too hard to stay afloat in old waters." My adjustment into a phrase-picture did carry full sense with it.
Another one I recall is from my personal notebook, attributed to a Russian painter named K.P. Bryullov, who, when instructing a student about a painting, said, "Art starts where this [particular] detail begins." This statement is a great turn of phrase more than it is an aphorism, an explanation of truth or wisdom, but it works the same way. Recently, I used it to make a strong statement to my client who was working hard on ways to think differently about some very strong, negative feelings he had had toward his father. He was planning detailed ways to modify his behavior in relation to new thinking.
We had gone richly into the issue, and, to sum things up instructionally, I said, "Remember, George, the art of living free starts where this detail begins." George understood immediately. We had a moment together.
There is Ogden Nash's observation about parents: "Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave; when they think that their children are na‘ve." --Think how much that short statement says, how entrancingly it says it, and how it brings dignity to the discussion about it!
And Shakespeare's "What wound did ever heal ÷ but by degrees?"
And then there is Montaigne's intriguing "A good marriage (if any there be) refuses the conditions of love and endeavors to present those of amity." --This can be so poignantly paraphrased to "A good marriage will depend on friendship and trust more than upon the bubble of love."
And Shakespeare again, about compassion and empathy and extension of self: "'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, But to support him after."
And finally, still with Shakespeare: "Striving to better, oft we mar what's well," which, adapted to our sensibilities today would be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
It is amazing how much can be said with different words, words that belong to someone else or words someone else has inspired. In the former instance, somebody has already thought things through for us; in the latter case, we are forced to do the thinking ourselves and come up with a personal adaptation of the aphorism's content.
Think about this. Try it out. Adapt aphorisms to client summations. Put some drama into your communication with your client. In doing, we learn.
Next Update: December 30