Counseling for Astrology Predictions
Counseling starts during the very first contact the astrologer makes with a potential client.
This article explores this first phase of counseling and also suggests what the astrologer should consider during and soon after the first contact with the person.
Most considerations concern the central question: “Is this client for me? Am I the one who can truly be of help to this person at this time?”. The fact that the person has contacted you is not a sufficient reason, in itself, for you to assume you should work with that person.
Categories of Clients
Clients usually fall into one of three categories. In the first category are clients who look at astrologers as fortune-tellers and expect their future to be predicted; these clients want the counselor to decide for them what they should do.
The second category includes people who just want a “band-aid” for their problems. They are usually in a crisis and need help and guidance. They seek clear solutions to their problems but they are not willing to look at their lives and take charge. If they get the help they want, they will be back during their next crisis.
In my opinion, the third category consists of the most interesting clients for the counseling astrologer. They may or may not be in a crisis, but they seek a sense of purpose, want to clear past issues, are attracted by the spiritual dimension of life, and are willing to take responsibility. Their enthusiasm for inner work and self-discovery is what motivates them to contact an astrologer.
The client’s answer to a few simple questions can help you decide in which category she belongs and whether or not you are the one who can help. If you decide your mode of counseling does not match the person’s expectations, if possible, you should refer the person to a colleague, who can do so.
The client’s answer to “How did you hear about me?” can alert you to the person’s probable expectations. A referral from a long-time client indicates the potential – but only the potential – for a motivation similar to that of the long-time client. A referral from a friend gives a good indication of what to expect if you know how well does your friend understands your work. If the client found your name in the Yellow Pages or an astrological magazine, establishing a clear understanding with the client about your work is even more crucial. If it is someone who attended a lecture you gave or read an article you wrote, this person may have a fairly accurate sense of what to expect from you.
So, no matter how the person heard from you, verify the person’s motivations and expectations. The question is simple: “What are you looking for in an astrological consultation?” The answer may be a long silence or its direct interpretation: “You are the astrologer, don’t you know what I am to expect?”. If you get these or similar responses, be ready to help the person identify his motivations.
After you know what the client wants and why, briefly and clearly explain what you do, and make sure the person understands you.
A few months ago, a friend, who has very little idea of how I work, referred her hairdresser to me. Two days later I received a phone call from the hairdresser. She verified that I was, indeed, an astrologer, and I asked her why she was interested in having a consultation. Her answer was clear:
I am tired of being alone and want to know when I am going to get married again.
I asked whether or not she was currently in a relationship. The tone of voice of the answer told me she considered this a dumb question:
No, this is why I want to see you.
I explained that I could help her understand why she was not currently in a relationship and guide her into taking action to get into one if it emerged from the consultation that this is really what she wants. I would not, however, make any type of prediction. I would help her explore her concept of relationships and look at future trends to help her make the best use of upcoming energies. As I suspected, this was not what she was looking for. She concluded our contact by saying that my fee was higher than what she was expecting!
However, I had a similar experience later with a member of the Chamber of Commerce to which I belong (as a counseling astrologer). She was looking for trends in the next six months and, after we talked, chose to stay with her New Jersey astrologer. A few weeks ago, she won the door prize I had offered and came for a half-hour free consultation. We are now working actively together, and she is taking charge of her life!
Another experience had to do with a referral from a friend who has a good understanding of my work. I did not have to ask for motivations or expectations because she took the initiative and asked me questions:
I am a Ph.D. candidate in psychology. Do you think I could benefit from a consultation with you and what are your credentials?
I answered that I do not give what is traditionally called “astrological readings”, that I do not believe in predictions, but that I help my clients get a better understanding of themselves and of the issues they are dealing with. My credentials were “acceptable”, so she came for a consultation. Everything went well until the next day when she called me. She felt I had not met her expectations and my credentials were not good at all. I regretted not having listened to my inner voice during our first contact. It had been telling me not to get involved.
Once you and the client agree on the purpose of the consultation, you should also agree on the price and length of the consultation. The astrologer’s responsibility is to make sure she is clearly understood by the client. Saying only “The consultation lasts one and a half hours and I charge so much per hour” is risky. Chances are the person will remember the price mentioned, and not multiply by the time factor. State what the total amount will be and ask specifically whether that amount is satisfactory.
Appointment with Client
Some astrologers set up an appointment during the first contact with a new client. Other astrologers prefer to compute the client’s chart first and then set up an appointment according to the client’s chart. I favor the first choice because there is always something going on in a person’s chart, and the conscious motivations of the person and the astrologer often do not have much to do with what emerges during the consultation.
However, if I have a choice of the appointment time, I favor a void-of-course Moon which, I believe, indicates a favorable time to work with emotions. I want energies that facilitate identifying and experiencing emotions during the counseling session.
The next step is to look up the person’s birth data in an ephemeris or to compute her chart to do a simple comparison between the client’s chart and your chart. Even though you may have already set the appointment, the person may still not be a person you should counsel. An astrologer must ask herself the question: “Can I honestly be a counselor to this person? Can I be supportive? Am I going to be able to hear what he or she is saying?” If you cannot answer these questions affirmatively, you should refer the person to another astrologer and tell the person why you are doing this.
My first draft of this article stated unequivocally: “Mercury square Mercury – forget it! You will not understand each other even if you both think you are communicating very well.” Since then, of course, I have been working with a client whose Mercury squares mine! This is the only difficult aspect of our charts. Also, our charts show that I can support and guide her emotionally. However, I frequently make extra sure we hear each other – at least I think I do!
It is important to look not only at how you can support the client’s transformation but also at the effects the client may have on you. For example, a client’s Mars conjunct my Pluto will make me have an extra look at the charts. Pluto signifies power but also helplessness: without some other balancing aspects, a strong Mars on my Pluto may cause me enough discomfort when I am with this person to prevent from counseling this person well.
In addition to astrologer/client aspects between the traditional planets, ascendants, and mid-heavens, contacts with lunar nodes, East/West points, and Vertex/Antivertex axes, seem to help the client gain a better sense of purpose during the counseling session.
Every potential client is a gift from the Universe. This gift may be a delightful person, well-motivated for self-transformation. However, this gift may also be an opportunity to accept that you cannot be “all things to all people”, that you are not the right astrologer for this person at this time.