Creative Connections & Client Communications
Counseling Insights 4/30/07Leading Developmental Questions
Certainly one of the key instructional essays in this eight-year collection (!) –86 essays to date in this “Counseling Insights” department alone (and also in each of the others)-- is the very first one posted at the inception of this website. Please look into the Archives following this essay and locate “The Art of Questioning, 1/15/99.” As well, “the Surprising Question,” 11/30/03. --Further development of this art can be found vividly presented in the book The Creative Astrologer (see BOOK LIST).
So much of our work in astrology, within the client counseling procedure, is based upon the telling question, helping us relate the astrological guidelines to the client’s reality experience and value constructs. Without these spurs to intelligent, beneficial discourse, we risk having only the old-fashioned codified astrological descriptions that avoid recognition of individualism, the confining preachiness of fatalism.
Here are eight key, simple questions I have crafted through enormous experience with consultation exchange. Each serves more than one purpose; each takes consultation dialogue forward into rich development. [Please also see the “Key Catalytic Phrases” essay, 11/30/06.]
1. What were these important family developments during the [summer], probably, when you were x years old? --Note the word “these”. The words indicate that the horoscope shows them, that question is not just an idle probe for information. The measurements supporting this question obviously involve Arc or Transit action to the angles, especially the Midheaven (family status for the youngster), and/or the ruler of the any Angle, especially the Midheaven. Additionally, a major Arc or Transit to Sun/Moon in the young ages (the Sun and Moon are initially significators of the parents). –With experience, the astrologer can anticipate more and more specifics in the client’s reality.
2. Why was that important? For example, the “death of an uncle” is cited to corroborate strong Arc or Transit activity, especially a Saturn, Pluto, or Neptune development with the Ascendant. This question will solicit a value-response that might lead to the fact that the uncle had been the “father” attention-giver instead of the biological father, etc.
3. What do you think you’ve carried forward from this situation to the present time? [--Please see “Key Catalytic Phrases” essay, 11/30/06] This is one of the most important therapeutic inquiries you can use: it reveals how the client has contended with, assimilated (or not) a potentially debilitating, even traumatic experience. The client has managed it, given it a place in his or her life. We need that to come out.
4. Why do you think you’re worried about this ________?” This brings difficult essentials to the surface, out into the open, in a discussion situation that doesn’t threaten the client; i.e., the issue can be dealt with. –We must listen for the specifics of transient insecurity –say, for a move, for example—and constructively relate those concerns to the values at the end of the changes in progress, the goal of the transition. –“Why do you think you’re …” is an effective buffer, removing the spotlight a bit away from the ego under siege.
5. How does your management of these tensions reflect the way your mother/father managed things? Always, we must look for behavioral emulation of the parents, adopted in the modeling process early on. Client recognition of this is a key step to objectifying behavior, modifying behavior, to affecting change, when the patterned behaviors are debilitating.
6. What do you think is behind so much defensive, retiring [self-deprecating?] behavior? This question assumes such behavior from a conspicuous Eastern Hemisphere orientation, Grand Trine constructs; 2nd House tensions. It assumes that the client is fully aware of this self-positioning, and it invites within the confidential opening-up session with the astrologer a good discussion about it: how the behavior posture evolved, the undoubted waste of energies in self-protection, how relationships that could be supportive and helpful are put at a distance, etc. In short, this question –so simple yet so deep-- involves the client. The astrologer is not a separate ‘performing’ entity.
7. How do you help people? –and why is it, dare we say-- so extreme? This question opens up explanation of conspicuous Western Hemisphere emphasis, usually linked with high-tension constructs involving the significator(s) of the 11th House and/or the Ascendant and 2nd House; also, a high Aquarius accentuation. The client is proving him or herself lovable, worthwhile. What has made the need to do that so life consuming? When did it start? How realistically rewarding has it been?
8. How has this issue (whatever it is) affected your sex life?” When family/marital problems –often introduced through dissatisfactions in the workplace—begin to interrupt, modify, threaten the exchange of love and sexuality, all problems are compounded. This is often heralded by Arcs and Transits involving the rulers of the 5th, 7th, 8th, and/or 11th House, working upon natal vulnerabilities marked through the similar House network; the Sun/Moon midpoint; Saturn and Venus. Aloneness with tensions is the result; togetherness and support are lacking; also there can be fear of being dissatisfying to the spouse in yet another area of life experience. --Note that this question is “assumptive” [See The Creative Astrologer], assuming the problem(s) has affected the sex life, based on the measurement guidelines.
Those astrologers who, despite their high astrology skill level, have difficulty working with people, can use artful questions like these to loosen up conversation, uncover and target key issues, and gain interpersonal communication confidence. The results are amazing!
Next Update: May 31, 2007