Astrology

Transference & Countertransference for Coaches

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.

Astrology

What’s your ‘astrological’ fate?

Leo is lucky – Leo is fire.

But if like me, you have no fire (Leo, Aries, or Sagittarius) in your astrological chart that won’t mean that you won’t have to deal with it. [1]  Indeed – astrologically – what you’re missing is more important than what you have.

Did you know that statistically you’re highly likely to be missing one of the four elements (water, earth, fire, or air)?  Further, until you devise a conscious, constructive outlet for this missing energy, it will operate unconsciously through the collective in what is often referred to as ‘fate’.

Consider the story of Simba – a rambunctious lion club full of himself and his future.  He will be King of the Pride Lands one day!  However his unchecked enthusiasm for adventure makes him easy prey for his jealous, cunningly evil uncle.  This results in the death of Simba’s father and Simba’s guilt-ridden self-imposed exile from home.

Simba now discovers a new philosophy – Hakuna Matata – ‘no one cares at all’ and lives happily with new friends repudiating all that a lion should be.  But, after a visit from the ‘Wiseman’ and the spirit of his dead father, Simba reconnects with the ‘Circle of Life’ and returns home to overthrow his usurper uncle and claim his rightful throne.  Simba has come full circle with regards to his fiery energy.

Simba may have too much fire in his chart or – more likely – none at all.  We can only tell the difference by the way he behaves.

Accordingly to Liz Greene, a missing element is like a wild animal that can never be domesticated.  It can be either a powerful friend or enemy.  But the point is you’re never going to be in control. Yet your ‘missing element’ holds both your greatest creative potential – as well as the seeds for your downfall.

I’ve had to work hard to develop my intuition (a manifestation of fire) but its erratic expression has head to such unpredictably that I’ve been inclined not to trust it.  Yet without it, I can’t make any progress in life.

Simba seems to have the same problem.  His easy passion for life turns to tears and his sense of destiny deserts him in his hour of need.  He looses faith in life and himself.

Fire is naturally extremely dangerous even at the best of times.  But as Liz suggests, those of us who lack it must still deal with it – albeit not directly.  With help from others, Simba was able to reconnect with fire in a more healthy way through his emotions (water) and reason (air).  No doubt it was also helped by the responsibility (earth) thrust upon him by his position as once and future Lion King.


[1] I do have Pluto in Leo, which being a generational planet (as opposed to a personal planet) I figure doesn’t count.

Astrology

With help from Jupiter, you might get lucky

Many believe that where Jupiter is, you’ll be lucky.

In large part this is true.  However with Jupiter, luck isn’t left to chance.  Instead, it’s all about timing and vision. Whether through religion or philosophy, when you see how you fit into the bigger picture, then all else falls into place.

Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus, whose name derives from the Indo-European ‘djeus’ – which is composed of ‘deus’ or deity and ‘theos’ or the moment of light.

The combination of the gods and enlightenment is admittedly, intriguing.  Indeed, according to Liz Greene, Jupiter provides you with a personal path to spirituality – your own ‘divine plan’.

To learn more about what this might be, examine the zodiac sign in which Jupiter resides in your chart (house placement is equally important, but let’s leave that to another day).

Jupiter in Aries – you’re always on a crusade – a constant supply of fresh ideas is required to feed your fervent need for adventure and an exciting lifestyle.  Beware of a certain amount of egotism, however – but when its channelled towards helping the community at large, its forgivable if not outright charming.

Jupiter in Taurus – you need your feet planted firmly on the ground for you are constrained to work within the framework of the material world.   Your spiritual and religious values must, therefore, be grafted onto your need for material comfort and security.  Thus you will likely take a practical approach to religion.  Beware of fanaticism, however, for you may be prone to tenaciously held beliefs.

Jupiter in Gemini –  you’re always on the move – learning more and more enlarges your breadth of spiritual vision.  Beware of holding superficial beliefs.   By nature Gemini has a penchant for novelty and change.  This doesn’t give much incentive to getting to the root of things.  You’ll find your spiritual path by testing your hypotheses about the divine in your head rather than in your heart.

Jupiter in Cancer – you connect with the divine through your emotions – by holding together a community or family.  Your path is to find unity and group solidarity in all you say and do.  Beware of meddlesomeness under the guise of trying to be helpful.  Also beware of simply espousing (without examination) your group’s religious causes and beliefs.

Jupiter in Leo –  you need to find your deeper values through everyday living.  This is best achieved through helping others – for the hearth-flame (of which Leo is a symbol) burns ever brighter the more it is stoked.   Keep in mind, however, that Jupiter in Leo isn’t one for details.  Broader outlines and ambitious plans are more your cup of tea.

Jupiter in Virgo – religious feelings may be reduced to a sense of duty and you may feel you shoulder too much responsibility in the wake.   However uncomfortable this is, know it is here that your spiritual path lies.  For it is through relief work and service to others that you find your true calling.  There’s little doubt you’ll carry out your duties to perfection.

Jupiter in Libra – broaden your spiritual horizons through making ever more contacts and friends.  Your sense of justice is strong.  But this may prove to be a disadvantage for Jupiter isn’t about being fair.  Fairness implies the weighing of scales.  But you can’t help everyone – especially when they’re on opposite sides.  So best to join in a common cause and avoid making choices, which you’ll never do well.

Jupiter in Scorpio –broaden your spiritual horizons through anything that helps you understand your own (and others’) motivations.  This provides you with precious insight into the meaning of life.   Beware of moralising, however.  One of the downsides of coming to grips with your faults, is the tendency to force the same process on others.

Jupiter in Sagittarius – your search for a more comprehensive picture of the cosmos inclines you to do what’s necessary to live in keeping with your inner faith.   Beware, however, of boasting and self-conceit.  While the patterns of the universe may for you be clear and obvious, for others it will not be the same.

Jupiter in Capricorn – your need for spiritual and religious values is directed to things of practical and ‘real worth’.  This might mean that your faith rests on dogma and ritual and that’s OK.  However you have a real opportunity to find what you need from a different material and social point of view.   Use your keen organizing abilities in the service of others and you’ll soon understand what this can mean.

Jupiter in Aquarius – for you, spiritual and religious values must comply with the rules of logic – and this isn’t always for the best.   Try not to spend time persuading others to your point of view.  Instead take your facts and figures out into a wider social setting and help others to express what is most important for them.

Jupiter in Pisces – your sense of religious and spiritual values comes from your feelings about what surrounds you – atmospheres and general moods will effect you greatly – so take special care to understand which values belong to you or somebody else.  Your greatest gift is your ability to feel at one with your fellows.  You have the ability to show them their own paths.

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