I know there’s a soul beneath the symptoms and dilemmas you present when you contact me. My primary focus as a psychotherapist is attending to that soul and helping you embrace the larger picture of who you really are. While there’s real work to do in any therapeutic process, it doesn’t have to be long and painful. I have traditional therapeutic training and methods as my foundation, and, when it can be helpful in your process, I often expand on those methods by using the ancient astrological symbol system to help you address the conundrums of individual, relationship, and family dynamics on another level. So, yes, we explore the past—sometimes two and three generations back—but we don’t have to enshrine it. Also, I know from experience, the relationship between client and therapist plays a central role, and I take that to heart.
When appropriate, I also bring in a wide variety of tarot and other images to explore the mythic dimensions of your life alongside the daily emotional issues, choices, and opportunities for expression that can aid the evolution of the soul as it travels through this lifetime. At the heart of my training and my work is this question: “What does your soul—your daimon—want of you, want with you?”
I’ve been a psychotherapist for three decades. From my earliest days in the field, I’ve seen the best minds and most caring hearts in the therapeutic world put forth insightful interpretations of human experience while simultaneously and inevitably circumscribing it. I’ve been an astrological consultant for 40+ years, and similarly, from the beginning, saw that the patterns of meaning shown in astrological symbolism were infinitely richer, more textured and layered, than either astrology’s proponents or opponents would allow.
Early on as an astrologer I was able to uncover in a natal chart issues and material that both the client and myself agreed would warrant further exploration in a therapeutic setting. At the time I knew I wasn’t qualified to offer counsel beyond a certain point, so I would refer my clients to therapists I believed would be able to help them. After doing this for about five years, I was convinced that astrological insight employed in a therapeutic context would provide a new dimension of understanding that neither field could offer on its own; finding a way to blend the two seemed the wave of the future in exploring the many layers of the human psyche, the dilemma of being human. I returned to graduate school and began to examine the ways in which that blending might eventually come about.
When I finally entered private practice as a therapist I kept my therapeutic work and my astrological work quite separate from one another, and I still do when that’s most appropriate for the client. As time went on, though, I learned that while I could keep the two perspectives overtly separate, I could also weave them together quite seamlessly and appropriately on either “side” of the consulting room. And my deeper sense of what astrology could offer to psychology pressed on me with an inevitability that remains impossible to describe. Building a stronger bridge between them—between experience and meaning—seemed an essential next answer to the ongoing question, “How, then, shall we live?”
As I progressed in the work over the years, my internal focus gradually shifted quite beyond a desire to help people make a “better adjustment” in, and to, their lives. More and more I found myself holding a great reverence for their uniqueness, their particular journey-like-no-other, and the specific ways they found to negotiate the open road that is a lifetime. Under this always was—is—an awareness that there’s much more to us than what our heredity and early environment have dictated and that the soul, the acorn that is an oak-in-progress, is infused with a knowledgeable intention to evolve.
I’m a traveler by nature, and, as cliché as the metaphor has now become, life as a journey has always made perfect sense to me. When you’re traveling, there are all sorts of things to keep in mind, adjustments you have to make, things you learn about yourself on each trip. Decades ago when I first heard the lyrics to the Moody Blues song “Eternity Road,” that title engaged something in my psyche and seemed an apt designation for The Path we’re all on. I’ve been exploring and seeking to understand the length, breadth, depth, and vicissitudes of both journey and road ever since, and that seeking has consistently infused my work.
My friend and astrological colleague Steven Forrest describes the time we spend on earth as an “evolutionary predicament,” wherein there is a whole set of experiences that will work to move us along our soul’s way, that will help us wake up and make certain necessary changes in our energy—in our essence—in a given lifetime. It is, he notes, as if God says: “Immerse yourself in this, and see what happens. I will fill you with an attraction for the kinds of people and situations that will prove to be most ‘instructive’ to you.”
In my own life I’d looked back many times and marveled at how, for better and worse, it had unfolded in a particular way: how I met this person, “ended up” there; how others’ choices had blended or collided with my own in powerful consequence; how a series of events—like moves on a cosmic chess board—had “placed” me in one corner instead of another; how a moment, a glance, a phone call, a sentence, a “yes” or “no,” the seating at a table, a decision to turn around or keep walking, had turned a life, whether mine or someone else’s, in a different direction. Or perhaps turned it in the direction it had been meant to go from the very beginning.
None of this is unique to my life, and I’ve observed and pondered the trajectory crossings in the lives of clients and friends and public figures for years. Sometimes the magic that we recognize as synchronicity, or “meaningful coincidence,” is obvious, noteworthy, and noted; but that’s not the specific focus of my work. I’m more concerned with the deeper pattern that is always at work in our lives; with the “necessary coincidences” that manifest that pattern; and with how we can learn to talk to ourselves more consciously about the larger meaning woven into all of our experiences.
I’ve recently expanded my practice by becoming a Certified Tarotpy® Practitioner under the guidance of Lauren Schneider. That means I use images from many different sources to “lay the psyche out on the table” with a therapy client. It’s a fascinating way of deepening my own and my clients’ process. At times in a therapy session an issue may arise that could benefit from the transrational perspective the images catalyze. When we separate ourselves from the traditional meanings of the cards and focus solely on the images, it’s fascinating to experience how they’ll give us the story, the synchronicity—highlight the patterns that are showing up in the client’s life right now. It’s brought a new kind of dimensionality to my work, and I’m loving it. There are hundreds of decks available these days, and in Lauren’s system the particular set or style of images to which one is drawn will somehow resonate with the deep wisdom and truth operating at a particular time in the client’s unconscious.
No fortune telling here—I wouldn’t even know how—but it’s quite something to see how the archetypes are patterned and interacting with one another, and then have a client sit with them and describe to me what s/he is seeing in that mirror to the soul. What I see might be entirely different. All images of soul have a life of their own, so regardless of what we think is the “source,” when one (or several) enters any kind of session I’m doing, there will be an effect of some kind, somewhere, somehow. It’s not my business to know the earthly details of that effect, but there will be one.
A terrific article (“Why You Need to Go and See a Therapist”) at ThePhilosophersMail.com concluded with this: “Far from a self-indulgence, undergoing therapy is one of the most generous things we could ever do for all those who have to live around us. Those who have spent time in therapy are, if the process has worked even moderately well, ever so slightly less dangerous to be around: a little better able to warn those who depend on them of how frustrating and peculiar they might sometimes be. We owe it to ourselves, and just as importantly, those who love us, to take our courage in our hands – and to go and ‘see someone’ forthwith.”