Creative Connections & Client Communications
Counseling Insights, March 31, 2004Double-Attachment Empowerment
In The Creative Astrologer, I like to bring strong focus onto my favorite section: the powers of suggestion, studying the fabulous work of psychoanalyst/hypnotist Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980). [See pages 159-176.]
Erickson went beyond studying causes of problematic situations and behaviors; he went directly into the remediation of those situations, often speaking directly with the unconscious. To the “outside eye”, he worked most often with substitutions of behavior that changed situations.
As astrologers, as therapists of a very special kind, we can prod our clients’ minds to rearrange things and create change. Indeed, Erickson did work with disclosure, past history, and enormously sensitive listening in order to fortify his therapeutic directives, but change was conceived and implemented through suggestive language and persuasive command, not through formalized psychoanalytical understanding.
We can learn a lot from and be very helpful with what I call Double-Attachment Empowerment, an offshoot of Ericksonian technique.
There are two keys to keep in mind when preparing a double-barreled thrust of suggestions to your client: first, whatever the suggestions are, they must fit an appropriate need or frame of reference within the client,something only the client will gain from, that which is practical for the client. Second, something new to the situation that is related to the client’s central motivations must be explored, must involve the client strongly.
Here are a few examples in everyday occurrences … examples of communication that really works! A mother says to her child, “You know as well as I do that it’s right for you to clean up your room this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon, whichever you prefer; I’ll leave that up to you. Which is it?” –Wow! Can you feel the double-attachment between cleaning up the room and making the choice of when to do it? It’s not a question of whether or not to clean up the room; there is a shift in the suggestion that binds the child to determining the date when it will be done … at his or her own choice! Read it again.
Similarly: “Do you want to start losing weight this week or next? But, then again, that may seem too soon. Perhaps you would like to wait a longer period of time, ideally like three or four weeks. Which is it?” --The weight-loss program will begin; it’s now a matter of when.
“Do you want to call a male or female lawyer for advice on this issue? Which do you think would be better and why? Or do you want to contact the lawyer who’s been doing you family business for so long?” --The lawyer will be visited; it is now only a matter of which one.
And finally, “If your inner conviction about how important you are in your work wants you to ‘go for the gold’, then you will make an appointment with your boss to discuss all this next Thursday; otherwise choose the following Tuesday.”
--Wow! All of these statements compel action!
Think about attaching a strong suggestion to a strong reward to someone else important in the situation: “Statistics in a recent, monumentally important sexuality study at the Sorbonne [presenting very seriously the fictionalized base for the suggestion] have unequivocally linked stopping smoking with dramatically increased sexual performance! This is serious. Let’s discuss what that would do for you, your wife/husband, your marriage, the improved health you privately desire. Then we’ll be able to set the best time to start!”
Think about two self-improvement activities going on at the same time, each reinforcing the other: “We have seen together than in a year and a half, you will have every chance to be the head chef of this food program. You deserve it now, and we've deduced that you're probably being overlooked at the moment because of your weight problem. We know you are now in a medical program that will make the weight loss occur… about one hundred pounds in the next year? Terrific!! Set your eyes on the promotion and it will help you with the weight-loss program; get really involved with the weight-loss program and your work on the job will zoom to the top of the charts!”
REMEMBER: as astrologer, as a caring support group of one who has earned respect and confidence through life study with your client, you have impact. This is what you are being paid for. This is what you have earned in many ways: the right to be in your client’s life. Your statements, suggestions, reflections have enormous power.
Study the words you use, how you say things, the tone of voice, and the suggestion impact of not one, but TWO or more co-dependent steps into the future tied together significantly in your client’s life. This is where progress begins, where development flourishes, where fulfillment ignites.
Next Update: April 30, 2004