Creative Connections & Client Communications
Counseling Insights, June 30, 2009Smokescreens
The concept, the situational label, the accusation of DENIAL is harsh. It is very easy for us to call anything that disagrees with our perception about another person a statement of denial: “You’re in denial; You’re just not owning up to it!”
There is reasonability in being antithetically assertive, of stating the opposite. People protect their sensibilities, their own opinion, their self-worth. But “denial” is harsh in sound, it suggests an adversarial tactic, and it approaches extremism.
However, there is room for protecting ourselves; I call it smokescreening.
For example: when introducing the observations linked with Saturn-rx phenomenology [Please see Analytical Techniques, the Archives immediately following the present essay, click on May 1, 2003, “Four Ways to see the parents.”], many clients find it necessary (essential) to defend the father relationship:
“Oh, he was so attentive, and I know he loved me very much.”
“Did he tell you that often? –Mary, I love you, let me show you the way”?
“Well not in so many words, but we did things together.”
“Was he around much, or did your mother run the show?”
“He worked very hard. He was away a lot, and it really was hard to stand up to my mother. She was the boss.” ---Or: “Well, they were divorced when I was 8.”
Two things emerge in this smokescreen: the first is the client describing how the relationship ideally was hoped to be; the second is the weakness of the relationship, with the father taken out of the picture or there and passive, etc. –It’s most instructive to see the idolization of her father, even when no longer with the family, by Jacqueline Kennedy. This obsession to make it what it should be dominated her later relationship life.
The astrologer must be patient. Wait a few sentences. The client’s unconscious is working to trust the astrologer; when that registers, the true assessment of father relationship will emerge to fulfill the measurement guide(s)..
When the consultation discussion needs to study the doting or intrusive or excessive mother (Pluto in hard aspect with the Moon, Nodal axis focus, etc.), the mother’s special prominence and energy imprint upon the client’s own behavior patterns, and there are replication difficulties later in adult life. –The client may need to defend here similarly: “My mother loved me for sure; this was her way of showing it, but she did have her problems!” The astrologer next asks, “How extreme was it?” … “What are the chances that your behaviors and relationship dynamics emulate hers; how much like her are you? Are you afraid of that?”
This is powerful discussion for sure; you are breaking through the smokescreen strongly but not accusingly. You are respecting the developmental reality and leading the client to qualify it in adult focus.
Perhaps the shortest smokescreen is the phrase, “Not really.” … but it’s very easy to dispel.
“There’s a strong suggestion here that your mother ran the show!” –You know this is so (Saturn configured strongly with the Nodal axis, for example) and you are trying to find out to what extent. Your client knows what’s going on but needs a momentary smokescreen to gather her/his thoughts and feelings.
Your client says, “Not really.” --and in normal conversation, this would end it. Your client wants these recollections to go away.
You reply simply, earnestly, “What does ‘not really’ mean?” --Clarification will emerge.
In pursuing the role of pronounced idealism in life development, the astrologer can use a powerful assumptive question (see Creative Astrologer; see Counseling Insights: October 29, 2002; April 30, 2007): “How has idealism gotten in the way of all this?”
The client may be embarrassed that idealism has proved impractical: “Oh, I worked that out a long time ago!” --The astrologer asks strongly, “How did you work it out; what did you learn?”
Sometimes, a client will skirt over many issues. It’s a self-protecting, privacy habit. –But the objective of the consultation is to have an atypical discussion based upon objectification and understanding! The astrologer must get into what the client knows about him or herself.
Archived in “Counseling Insights” for June 30, 2008 is the powerful technique of asking “Tell me something I don’t know.” This should be a technique available to every astrologer working in depth with astrology.
Astrologers must make each word count, each sentence. Then, with artful listening and informed rejoinder, the astrologer links each developmental step and significance to the next. Sharing this in rapport with the client measurably strengths self-understanding.
Next Update: July 30, 2009