Creative Connections & Client Communications
Are you Really Listening?
It’s magical learning when my students listen to and analyze taped consultations. Beyond the organization of measurement guideline structures into good conversation, presented by the astrologer without one word of technical jargon, there is the feedback from the client: the tone of voice, the word choice, the trust and honesty of the astrological process, the expression through defense mechanisms, the practicability or absence of foresight planning, and more.
Relatively inexperienced astrologers tend to worry about their presentation, whether they are “right” or not. That’s only natural; they have not learned to trust their skill; their confidence level is shaky. As a result, the astrological process is easily one-sided: the astrologer performing, getting corroboration of deductions through a Yes/No dialogue. –At its worst, nothing is really accomplished, except maybe some measurement deductions being corroborated.
When the core structure of the horoscope is clarified [Please, please study The Creative Astrologer], trust it. Punctuate your discussion with artfully conceived questions that are not answerable by “Yes” or “No”. And begin to really listen to your client’s responses.
The tone of voice First of all, your opening statement has got to elicit a response from your client that is substantive. This gets the consultation off on a strong working-together footing. Then, listen to your client’s voice: is it nervous, sure, grateful that you have touched a core concern so quickly, doubting, confused, anxious? –Do you need to clarify right away, focus your opening statement better?
Perhaps your client does not know how to respond to you! --The astrologer must work for response, for disclosure through dialogue. Some clients think they are in for a ‘performance’ by the magical astrologer, i.e., “tell me about me; I’ll just listen.” If this is your client’s attitude, I suggest that you have not made it clear up front that the consultation is a rich discussion together about life development and projection into the future.
The tone of voice will change throughout the consultation, as the client loosens up and believe in what you are doing. You will begin to hear tension, recognition; you’ll be able to make value judgements about the points being discussed through the tone of voice your client is using. –Listen when you say a particular key word: you will hear your client swallow, clear his or her throat conspicuously; watch their eyes as well at the same time, misdirecting their gaze. These attitudinal changes are adjustment times as you go deeper and deeper into relevant concerns in personality development.
Word Choice Word choice reveals so much: education level, regional influences, confidence in self-expression, concomitants of self-image, etc. Sloppy speech, bad grammar, limited vocabulary are extremely obvious, immediately classifying, and the astrologer must see pervasive influence of all that on the level of performance throughout the life. [Is the significator of the 9th under high developmental tension? The education interrupted? Why? –See The Creative Astrologer, Chapter 5, “Analytical Guidelines and Creative Connections.]
What about your word choice, grammar, tone? Are you coming across with security, authority, or sloppiness? Is astrology a game you’re playing with your client –an expression of your hobby-- or is it a deeply significant exploration for your client’s illumination and support? How are you showing that?
Listen for slips of the tongue, i.e., evidence of the unconscious speaking out underneath the particular sentence in which the slip occurs. –Most recently, a male client in his 50s contemplating a divorce [a very difficult maneuver at that age] showed much internal tension and attention to this issue and to the other woman with whom he was having a very strong, secret relationship: he was referring to his employers (plural) paying for a major trip to an important convention that could determine much of my client’s final years of work/employment, and, instead of “they will pay for it, sure” he said “she won’t pay for it … I mean…” Fascinating! Was the ‘other woman’ doing her part (not exclusively financial, mind you) within this major life-change for the both of them? Was he secure with her intentions?
Defense Mechanisms. sometimes, the client’s defense mechanisms (especially the Grand Trine) will be rigidly routined and activated strongly during the consultation. There may be defense of the parent (usually the father) if the parent is a strong issue, before the real picture finally emerges in reality evaluation. There will be avoidance of the question you ask (interrupt and repeat it!); there will be a bogging down in details (interrupt smoothly and get moving with the conversation). –The best offense here is sincerity and empathy on the astrologer’s part, graceful authority, and gradually/finally the client learns to trust that and relax defenses.
Creative Connections Listening well during the consultation leads your analytical mind to make beautiful, sometimes astounding creative connections within your client’s development and into an adjusted future.
For example, last week, I enjoyed a consultation with a female artist and gallery owner. There was a tremendous dose of “mother” [Pluto conjunct the Moon in Cancer; Mercury quindecile the Node, Mercury ruling the Ascendant] and a closed circuit of intellectual self-sufficiency (Air Grand Trine, not involving the Sun or the Moon!). With regard to her mother, my client said very clearly, “I always felt I wasn’t wanted … I was female; she competed with me all my life…”
In a difficult marriage and suffering a radical mastectomy, we could see together that her feeling that she wasn’t wanted, that she was not a ‘fine female’, if you will, were being perpetuated. She had a Piscean vulnerability that had been so hurt so early one and reinforced by her cancer within a difficult marriage, etc.
My client started to describe one of her paintings to me. It was complicated. –I asked if people enjoyed the painting(s), and she replied, “Yes, Yes, when I explain them.” // Couldn’t the same be said for herself?
--THERE was the creative connection and therapy potential: put a short superbly crafted explanation card on each of her paintings. Explaining the paintings would be explaining herself … to others and to herself! She would gain so much more value in her own eyes.
And of course, this creative connection is supported by other considerations within the consultation, but the point here is that the analysis of conversation style, references, content all came together to accomplish a happy, upbeat fulfillment of the consultation. You could see it in her eyes, feel it in her words … and hear it in her voice.
Listen to your client more than ever before! You too will benefit from what you hear.
Next Update: February 28, 2003