• July 15, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Hello all,

    I am a social worker by training, and by extension am interested in the ways astrology can be used to support mental and behavioral health, as well as relationships.  One of the most important factors in helping someone, we are taught in social work, is the quality of the therapeutic relationship.  A lot of the time, the quality of relationship has more impact on treatment outcomes than any clinical interventions that might be employed.  Accordingly, in my astrology practice, I try to build positive connections with my clients, but frequently find myself mulling over what exactly it means to “help” someone using astrology.

    At a minimum, I try my best to help a client feel welcome and understood.  On most days, I am also able to provide some validation of a client’s experience.  On good days, I am able to trigger some new insights, and on what I think are my best days, I make my clients cry–the good, healing kind of crying.

    Past this point, I struggle a little with what is “helpful.”  I am always more comfortable going back in time with a client to help interpret and support their understanding (and releasing) of past experiences than I am providing information about their future.  I often wonder how beneficial it is to “prepare” clients for a future that may or may not turn out the way anyone (even a seasoned astrologer) might expect.

    Does anyone else struggle with this?  How do you understand yourself to be “helping” your clients?

  • July 20, 2015 at 9:36 am

    This is a really interesting topic, because people come to astrologers for help in many different areas of life, and sometimes do not even know what they need to hear from you. On one extreme, there are systems where astrologers have been taught to read charts in a very literal, “this is what is going to happen to you,” doom n’ gloom sort of way – which can be more frightening and traumatic than actually helpful, even if you’re giving the client a heads up about what is coming. On the other end of the spectrum, there are interpretations where the opposite is true, and a client who came in for a straight answer got a reading that was as soulful as it was nebulous, and may walk away feeling grifted.

    There’s a technique from medieval that Dr. Ben Dykes spoke about on Chris Brennan’s podcast a while back wherein the astrologer casts a chart for the reading itself in order to know the client’s needs and questions before they are expressed. I haven’t looked into it much yet, but was always charmed by the idea. I think it could potentially be the best way to know how to help.

  • July 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    @nick-civitello I like that idea a lot!  I’m a firm believer that clients always come at the right time. Unfortunately for me, when I’m doing brief readings I don’t really have time to exercise that technique, but I will give it a try for my next full-length session.

    I suppose “help” is very contextual and personal.  As an astrologer who steers clear of giving advice/answers due to the ethical standards of my other profession (social work), I sometimes wonder what the hell I am doing for clients when I am pursuing the nebulous goal of “healing.”

    That said, I realized that almost immediately after posting the original topic, I had two consultations back-to-back that seemed to highlight what “help” I was to provide. Both individuals had outer planet squares to their Suns natally, and they were visiting me when the outer planet was transiting conjunct their respective Suns. So we naturally spent a lot of time talking about what it means for them to be reconciling or confronting the tension presented by their natal squares.

    Especially during my brief drop-in readings when I only have 15-20 minutes with someone, I need to remind myself to look more carefully for these planetary trigger points at the outset, because this is likely what the client is struggling with most.  So simple, yet so challenging when one has no prep time!

  • July 27, 2015 at 6:18 am

    @alia-wesala, can you elaborate on the ethical standards re: social work? It seems like the two would go hand in hand.

    And yeah, I think it happens that way a lot, where the message that really needs to be communicated jumps out at you and tells you how to help. What frustrates me often is not knowing when the client is absorbing that message. I have trouble gauging just how engaged they are with the reading sometimes. Those that seem excited and alert will sometimes retain very little, whereas those that seem bored or disenchanted are sometimes hanging on every word.

  • July 27, 2015 at 10:07 am

    @nick-civitello Ideally, there shouldn’t be much difference between an ethical code for astrologers and the social work code of ethics (e.g., confidentiality, client self-determination, competence, dignity and worth of the person).  The difference is that adherence to the social work code of ethics is enforced by a state licensing board, so if I’m calling myself a social worker, I’m bound by those ethics.  As an astrologer, I’m not technically forced to comply with a specific code of ethics, but for the sake of professional/personal integrity/consistency, I revert to social work professional standards when working with clients.  Obviously, my readings are a little different with people I know in a personal vs. professional capacity…which could be a whole conversation in itself!

    Regarding client engagement, do you record your sessions?

  • July 27, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Hi! My initial reflex  answer to this question, in short is, that I feel like I’ve helped someone using astrology when I am able to help give them a sense of direction and/or meaning or help re-order their thinking in some way. A popular quote from an astrologer that I do not remember the name of is that, “astrology did not teach me what to think, it taught me how to think.” I think that is very true, that astrology teaches us how to think and if we can manage to use it to do that for others, i would call that a small victory.

  • July 28, 2015 at 9:21 am

    @serina-oehler I agree that it can be helpful to reframe someone’s thinking.  How would you say astrology teaches us to think?

  • July 28, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    @alia-wesala  Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I briefly considered going into financial advising and combining it with astrology until someone pointed out what a huge conflict of interest that would be. A shame too, as I still they’d they’d be a great pairing. I don’t record sessions at the moment, but maybe I should start!

    @serina-oehler Astrology definitely changed the way that I think about the world, deepened the way that I think, but I don’t know if I can say that it did so from my first reading or until I started taking lessons. Then again, I started lessons directly after my first reading…and one could argue that the reading is the kernel of a lesson in and of itself, so I suppose I’d have to agree.