The psychological realty is that both coaches and their clients come into a session with personal agendas that will feed into the session for better or worse.

One aspect of this is what is known by therapists and psychologists as transference/countertransference, something they are trained to spot as well as to deal with it. Usually, however, coaches do not benefit from such training and hence may mistake transference/countertransference for any number of things.

De Haan reminds us that unspotted transference/countertransference can lead to serious client/coach misunderstandings, mistakes, the gradual deterioration of the coaching relationship, as well as unconscious collusion and/or abuse of power. The thing to keep in mind is that transference/countertransference is perfectly normal as well as, for the most part, completely unconscious. The best that a coach who is not trained to deal with this can do is to spot it when it’s happening and seek appropriate help and/or supervision.

 Jung was convinced that it was not only personal material that could be the subject but also archetypal (Main, 2004, p. 24) This opens the way for astrology, which reflects the archetypal patterns at work both for a single individual or between two persons. As Liz Greene (1997, p. 172) reminds is, projection often has to do with unresolved parental issues (mother and father) on both sides and chances are pretty good that these will show up in both the client’s and coach’s separate and joint horoscopes.

According to Greene (1997, p 177) when a client looks to his coach as mother figure, he wants the coach to make him feel wanted and protected for who and what he really  is – i.e. the client needs the coach to validate for him that it is OK for him to be alive. Astrologically, this generally invokes the Moon and/or Venus Although complexes of the kind that are ripe for projection/transference/countertransference are often shown by hard aspects (squares, oppositions, and sometimes, conjunctions), in reality any aspect (or even a single planet) can form such a complex.Unknown

Father complexes usually involve the Sun and/or Saturn but of course could involve any number of potentialities including difficultly aspected (or otherwise ‘afflicted’) planets in the 10th/4th houses. Also, remember that any/all planets in the 7th house are ripe for projection – being farthest away from the 1st house (essential sense of self).

Also, don’t forget that synastry (planetary aspects between coaches and their clients) will also play an important part in all this, especially in regards to how the coach responds to his client (Greene, 1997, 9. 179). The point is that powerful, unconscious, cross aspects with the client can be played out in any number of covert ways; the client may refuse to look the coach in the eye, ‘accidently’ spill coffee over the carpet, or ‘forget’ to pay at the end of the session. Liz reminds us (1997, p. 181) that whenever coaches find themselves reacting ‘blindly’ to a client, it’s probably an instance of countertransference. Something the client said or did triggered some unresolved complex in the coach/astrologer’s own chart

The following is based on some typical patterns of transference highlighted by Early (2013) as well as a brief suggestion of some the of usual astrological suspects that might underpin them.

For those coaches without astrological experience, consider gaining some. Carl Jung said that all therapists should be astrologers because if they aren’t they are missing important clues although many coaches aren’t therapists, in many respect their relationship with their client’s parallels that of therapists in many, many ways.

Please do suggest any that you think I’ve missed or forgotten!

Pattern Transference

Countertransference

Some Potential Astrological Significators

Dependency

Client sees coach as either a mother/father figure and becomes overly dependent upon coach if he is seen by the client as meeting his needs, he may become too dependent upon coach but if you’re seen as failing to meet his needs, he will feel angry or hurt.

Either coach becomes overly involved with caring for his client (perhaps because of coach’s own dependency needs) or coach become angry and disturbed with the client because of his excessive needs.

Moon/Saturn

Moon/Pluto

Moon/Uranus

Sun/Saturn

Sun/Neptune

Over emphasis of water element (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) in the chart especially when there is little air to counterbalance all this raw emotion.

Libra also has a tendency toward co-dependency.

 

 

 

Care-taking

Client tries to take care of the coach, picking up on clues about coach’s personal issues, struggles, and insecurities.

Either coach allows the client to take care of him more than is appropriate or he takes so much care of the client in return that the client loses interest in (or is unable to) take care of himself.

Emphasis of either: Leo,Cancer, or Pisces

Neptune aspects to Sun, Moon, or angles.

Rebel

Client refuses to cooperate in sessions and/or picks fights and criticizes coach’s approach.

 

Either coach feels ineffective/incompetent and/or hurt by client’s behaviour. Coach may also become frustrated with the client and engages in arguments and/or power struggles with him.

 

Mars/Uranus

Mars/Neptune

Mars/Pluto

Emphasis of Aquarius or Aries in the chart

Mercury/Mars

Moon/Mars

Saturn/Uranus

Emphasis of fire element in the chart especially if accompanied primarily by air (air fans the flames of fire).

Passive-Aggressive

Client experiences coach as pressuring them to do something. The client expresses desire to change but fails to do so over and over and over again. This is his way of expressing anger as well as to defeat the coach’s efforts to control him.

Either the coach feels frustrated with the client for failing to progress or else feels ineffective/incompetent. Anger or frustration might be overly or covertly expressed, for example by being late for sessions, double-booking, or otherwise failing to remain attentive to the client.

Mars/Neptune

Mars in Libra

Mars/Saturn

Venus in Aries

Mars in Scorpio

Mars or Mercury in Pisces

Combination of Aries/Libra planets

Saturn in Aries

Moon in Libra

Mars in Cancer

Victim

Client complains about his miserably impossible situation (poor me, the world is against me, why do I always have such bad luck) attempting to offload the responsibility for finding solutions on the coach rather than taking personal responsibility. Equally, client may blame the coach for his problems and/or inability to undertake effective change.

Either the coach fails to see what’s going on and constantly tries to reassure client all will be fin or he becomes angry/frustrated with the client for not taking responsibility for undertaking necessary change. The coach may also  fail to take responsibility for his own mistakes when challenged by the client, instead choosing to blame the client for being difficult.

Emphasis of planets in Pisces

Pisces rising

Sun/Neptune

Moon/Neptune

Mars/Neptune

Neptune tight with any of four chart angles.

Mars/Pluto

Saturn/Pluto

Mars in Cancer or Libra

Venus/Neptune

Venus/Pluto

Full 7th house

Full 6th house

Full 12th house

Distancing

Client avoids emotional/personal relationship with coach or denies that this is happening.

Either the coach allows client to remain distant even if it impedes progress or he pushes too hard to force a connection resulting in the client back off even further. Equally, the coach may feel that client relationships ought not to have any personal connection and remains aloof from the client.

 

Emphasis of planets in Aquarius or Virgo – standoffish.

Sun/Saturn

Moon/Saturn

Moon/Uranus

Sun/Uranus

Lack of water in the chart makes connecting with emotions difficult.

Cancer rising can be shy.

Emphasis of planets in Gemini can be flighty.

Emphasis of air in the chart (stays in their heads).

 

Self-effacing

Client feels coach is critical and judgemental or otherwise doesn’t like them.

Either the coach becomes too involved in making the client feel liked or he is completely turned off by the client’s insecurities. Equally, the coach may constantly seek reassurance the client likes him or just enjoys the client’s concerns because it boosts his ego.

Moon/Saturn

Mercury/Saturn

Saturn in Fire (Aries, Leo, Cancer, or Sagittarius)

Emphasis of planets in Virgo, Libra, or Pisces.

Moon/Mars

Sun/Saturn

Sun/Neptune

 

Controlling

Client insists upon being in control of the therapy.

Either the coach gets into a power struggle with the client or otherwise stamps out the client’s attempts to deviate from his instructions/suggestions.

 

Sun/Pluto

Sun/Saturn

Emphasis of planets in Scorpio, Capricorn, or Taurus especially Moon, Mars, and Mercury.

Saturn in Capricorn or Aquarius.

Pluto in tight aspect to any of the angles.

Scorpio rising.

Saturn/Pluto

Saturn/Neptune

Saturn/Uranus

Remember that for transference to occur, it only takes the client (and his own natal chart) but if the entire pattern of  transference/countertransference plays out, it takes two to tango so look at the synastry between the client/coach (astrologer) as well as the composite chart (mapping the nature of their relationship as a separate entity).

Finally, don’t automatically assume that transference/countertransference is negative or unproductive, however. Main (2004, p. 81) reminds us that Jung believed that transference/countertransference could be synchronistic, in the sense that it is a ‘meaningful coincidence’ that bears further investigation.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burke, J and Greene, L ((1997). The Astrologer, the Counsellor and the Priest. Chippenham: Antony Rowe Ltd.

De Haan, E. (2011). ‘Back to basics How the discovery of transference is relevant for coaches and consultants today’, International Coaching Psychology Review,6(2). Pp. 180-193.

Earley, J. (2013). The Pattern System: A Periodic Table for Psychology. Larkspur, Pattern System Books.

Main, R (2004). The Rupture of Time: Synchronicity and Jung’s Critique of Modern Western Culture. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.

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