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Transformation & Empowerment
By Adrian Ross Duncan
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2002 Adrian Ross Duncan
All rights reserved.
Making Contact—Creating the Unified Field with Your Client
In this chapter I will describe the basic, initial steps to create the unified field in which you and the client engage in transformation. These steps involve:
Tuning in to the client and harmonizing body expression;
Matching the client's voice tone and conceptual expressions;
Creating an environment in which the client feels comfortable about your competence.
In any therapeutic environment, the relationship between counselor and client is crucial. They each have their own preconceptions, convictions, and emotional reactions, and all these things make true contact extremely difficult. The experience of each party will be channeled through a net of conceptual and emotional filters, all of which are stumbling blocks to true communication and transformation. If these filters are too intrusive, then the synergy is weakened, and the chance for change lost. The advantage for the astrologer is that the horoscope shows these conceptual and emotional filters precisely, and these can be used as conduits so that the consciousness of astrologer and client meet, and it is at this meeting point that the powerful transformative energy can be harnessed. At this point there is no subject, no object, just the subject/object continuum, or put in another way: the relationship.
There are many ways synergy can be enhanced, and many ways it can be impeded. Basically, astrologer and client must be on the same wavelength. This is the job of the astrologer, not the client. With some people it's easy to be on the same wavelength, with others, not. But it is possible to get on the same wavelength with everyone, though not always comfortably. It's important to like and respect clients—it may be impossible to help the person if you don't. If you don't respect or like certain clients, you have not understood them, or they should not be there. It is impossible not to feel for a person with whom you are on the same wavelength.
Studies have shown that most communication is subliminal and that the actual meaning of the words spoken has far less effect than the tone in which words are said. I am sure readers can experiment with saying, "I do love you" and evoke quite different responses. Studies have shown that something less than 10 percent of meaning is perceived by words alone—voice tone and body language are completely dominating.
To improve contact there are several levels at which the astrologer, or any counselor, can work. One is the purely physical. People hold their bodies in a myriad of different ways, and there are a myriad of powerful reasons why they do this—some of them connected to their reaction to the person they are meeting, in this case the astrologer. When people get on very well, their bodies move in synch, in an extraordinary dance in which both parties reflect each other's body attitude. Good communication seen in slow-motion video is a finely attuned waltz of body, hands, and facial expressions. The attentive and tuned-in astrologer will automatically assume some of the body language of the client, but there is no harm in helping the client feel at ease by at first consciously registering the client's body language and reflecting it. This is not the same as mimicking, which of course could be offensive; it is rather asking the question, "what does the client feel like that he has assumed this particular pose," and trying it on for size.
In some extreme cases, body language matching is the only way to make contact. After many years of consultations, an astrologer will always get a few individuals who are simply not balanced enough to derive benefit from an astrology session. A person once called me from a pay phone for a consultation. I agreed rather reluctantly, having no means of contacting him if necessary. He did turn up, but it was clear that he was confined within his own mind and simply could not receive. Sitting hunched on the chair, with both elbows on his knees and head bowed looking at the ground, he commenced to transmit. For 45 minutes—the first half of the tape—he talked in a low monotone to the floor. At no time did he look me in the eye. I assumed the position. Short questions uttered to the floor in a low monotone came from me at intervals. This man had had a lonely life. Nobody ever listened to him, and neither did he expect anyone to. For 45 minutes he felt listened to. This in itself was a cathartic process for him. The second half of the tape was a true dialogue—the first he had had in 15 years. It was a breakthrough achieved almost exclusively by matching body language and voice tone.
It is not necessary to match the body language of the client completely, but it is essential not to mismatch it, unless you are deliberately trying to provoke. As I will explain later in greater detail, behavior dominated by air signs and fire signs will express itself in a very erect posture with considerable gesticulation, while earth and water sign behavior is more laid-back, often with the body rather slumped and the eyes looking down. If the astrologer responds to air/fire behavior with earth/water body language, there will be no real communication. In fact, it will not be possible to understand each other. So if the client says: "I just don't see any future in my job" (exasperated voice, visual expressions, back straight, both hands forward with palms upraised), and the astrologer says, "That must feel heavy and frustrating for you" (low voice, physical expressions, hands folded across stomach, looking down), then that would be a total mismatch. The client would hardly register there had been an interaction. If instead the astrologer sat bolt upright, energetically expressing indignation on behalf of, or understanding for, the client's situation, and used words enhancing the visual panorama for the client: "So do you see anything better on the horizon?" then astrologer and client would click.
It is often possible to guess at voice tone just by looking at Mercury in the horoscope. In a fire sign and aligned with a planet like Mars or Uranus, the tone will be fast and staccato and slightly higher in pitch. This person will search the air with his eyes, as if dragging ideas from the ether, and will be full of sudden movement and gesticulation. On the other hand, a Mercury conjunct Saturn in Scorpio will denote a person of few words, which when uttered will come out painfully slow. This person will search within to find words and will carefully censor what can be said in a slow, thoughtful process. The voice will be deep, the tempo slow. If Pluto is configured more strongly with Mercury, then these give-away signs will, however, not be present. The eyes will either rivet you in an intense stare, or look at some indefinable point without flickering. The voice could be more monotone, rather deadening, and perhaps extremely tiring to listen to for any length of time. Configured with Venus, the voice will be melodious and a pleasure to hear, perhaps rather seductive, very much feeling its way in a constant checking that the communication is going down well with the other person.
As with body language, it is not essential and perhaps not possible to match voice tone exactly. But it is essential not to mismatch. Someone with Mercury in Gemini sextile Mars will lose patience with an astrologer who embarks on slow, laborious explanations. They would respond much better to a fast ping-pong. Conversely, a fast and breathless discourse on the dynamics of some astrological influence would cut no ice with a person with a thoughtful Mercury-Saturn conjunction in Cancer; this person needs to have the emotions touched first, before understanding dawns.
It is essential, then, that you pitch your communication at the client's tone and conceptual level. You can do this reactively or proactively. Reactively is to note the tempo, tone, and content of the communication and to respond on the same level. Proactively is to choose a tempo, tone, and content precisely attuned to the astrological influence that you wish to address. Proactive communication of this nature is an extremely powerful tool in the astrologer's arsenal. Finely adjusted questions using the words and mood of any particular planetary configuration will immediately strike home in the consciousness of the client, saving valuable time in the consultation process. For example, if the astrologer wanted to home in on a client's Mars in Leo conjunct Pluto, the astrologer would immediately strike a chord with, "It must be quite a jungle out there for you—I imagine that takes considerable survival skills, right?" You have entered the client's conceptual world or metaphor, and your words have touched Mars in Leo's need for respect; this client will now be dying to open up about quite a difficult area.
First-time clients are going to be rather nervous, and, above all, they are going to be somewhat skeptical. They are not sure that astrology "works," or if they are sure, they may have unrealistic expectations. Men in particular tend to assume a defensive posture, especially if emotional issues are touched on. As a general rule, men want to talk about their jobs, and women, their relationships. Ideally, both sexes ought to be equally interested in both areas, but experience shows they are not. It is not appropriate to work with psychological transformation on someone who does not express an interest in it, and the astrologer should be prepared to make a competent consultation without therapeutic intervention. Having said that, everyone limits their potential to live life to the fullest because of personality traits reflected by astrological configurations. Negative traits and behavior will always have unwanted consequences in a person's life, whether it's in relationships or in business. If you can help the client identify these consequences, then it is not difficult to get the client's agreement that they should and can do something about them. Then it is a short step for the client to actually express a desire to work psychologically on a particular theme.
It is crucial at the very beginning of a consultation to win the confidence of the client. Nobody wants to fully reveal intimate behavior patterns to a person they have just met, unless that person gives a deep impression of competence. Astrologers work in different ways, and some prefer a consultation that stretches over two sessions, whereas others even have a course of sessions stretching over several weeks. In these cases, intimacy can be built up at leisure. Most astrologers I know, however, see a client in one longish session, then don't expect to see them again for some months or perhaps a year. This means that they have from one and a half to two hours to have an impact, and the nature of astrology is that it is possible to do this if the client is reasonably well-balanced.
For my part, I spend at least the first 10 to 20 minutes of a consultation using pure astrological techniques to identify themes in the client's life. Combining the horary chart for the client's arrival with conclusions gleaned from studying transits and progressions, it's possible to accurately identify live issues in the client's present life, trace their beginnings, and surmise their endings, without any feedback from the client. I tend not to even look at the client at this stage. This is partly through the desire to establish the credentials of astrology alone and partly because I don't want to be seen to be interpreting subliminal signals that could subsequently be supposed to have guided me in my initial description of the client's situation. This makes subsequent therapeutic work much easier because, from the client's point of view, if deep issues can be identified without the client saying anything, then the client sees no reason to impose constraints on subsequent communication. The client thinks the astrologer must know anyway.
This initial period is crucial. The client must have confidence in the skills of the astrologer. We all tend to deny our less palatable behavior, even though we know that we can only progress by bringing it out in the open. This behavior will remain concealed unless the astrologer has asserted his authority and inspired trust. Some clients are very forgiving, other are not. Often a person with strong Scorpio traits, for example, will completely lose respect for an astrologer who pussyfoots around. Their secret agenda is to come through the consultation without revealing a thing—a quite exhausting process for the astrologer. This type is actually extremely grateful when strongly confronted by definitive statements—indeed, you will get nowhere if you don't.
I remember phoning one client prior to the consultation, who had a Mars-Mercury-Pluto conjunction in the 6th house (see figure 3 on p. 24). I was a little unsure whether I had the correct birth information.
When she arrived, she made a remark that I was checking up on her to see if she really was coming. When I said that was not the case at all, she implied in an off-handed way that I wasn't telling the truth, but that was OK with her. She expected people to lie! This is exactly the kind of suspicion that is fuelled by a Mars-Mercury-Pluto conjunction, evoking a level of paranoia and a conviction that information is being hidden. It is not difficult to imagine the kind of effect this has on her working life and collegial relationships, considering the 6th house influence. Rather than politely continue, I chose to confront her on this issue and spelled out in detail the behavioral flaw and its consequences in her working environment. Recognizing these consequences, which only make her unhappy, she was able to understand her unconscious need to make other people ill at ease in an effort to establish control. We were five minutes into the consultation and had already gotten into the core issue.
Opening remarks from the client are invariably very significant, like pearls handed to the astrologer to place on the scales. Does the client make some kind of excuse on arriving, tell of some travel difficulty, try to make you feel at ease, stride into the room and sit down (in your chair), or nervously await instructions? All these things reveal much about the character. But the opening remarks have special significance, though confronting a client about them in the initial phase would be the exception, rather than the rule.
Communication—Getting to Your Client's Core Issues
During a seven-year period in which I ran a school for training astrologers in the consultation process, I sat in on many trial consultations. Students were encouraged to engage in a dialogue that was mutually enriching rather than make long monologues about the supposed influence of planets, aspects, signs, and houses in the life of the client. Ultimately, the one-way consultation is an exhausting process for both astrologer and client. The astrologer can never learn anything new, and the client can only nod in agreement (if the astrologer happens to be correct). What is most interesting in a consultation is what clients have to say, because they furnish the astrologer with the material to go into depth in any particular issue.
In these trial sessions, students often ground to a halt after following a particular avenue of investigation for a minute or two. They baited the hook, the client took a bite, but then escaped. It was impossible to get the client to bite again in that particular area. Missing an opportunity like this should be avoided. When addressing any astrological configuration, the practitioner should pursue its ramifications until the core issues eventually emerge, rather than leave the issue hanging unresolved. This requires specific communication techniques, which have to be mastered. This chapter will go through some simple rules of communication and show the intervention techniques that can be used to get to the core of any astrological issue within two to four minutes. These communication techniques have been pioneered by the early practitioners of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming).
Excerpted from ASTROLOGY by Adrian Ross Duncan. Copyright © 2002 Adrian Ross Duncan. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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