Counseling is a practice and tool for growth and understanding dear to my heart. At its best, the client-counselor relationship is a vibrant, interactive field where the client feels safe and courageous enough to open to sharing from a place of truth and vulnerability and in so doing, accesses untapped wisdom and experiential shifts. The counselor is a sensitive, creative listener and facilitator in this process. I have both personal experience and counseling experience working with a range of issues, including relationships, divorce, parenting, death, suicide, mental illness, physical illness and health issues, professional development and career change, creative practices (art, writing, photography, dance, music), midlife issues, and last but certainly not least, spiritual life.
I use a variety of tools and skills gleaned through my experiences both as a counselor and as a continual seeker of connection, healing, and authenticity. My basic foundation rests on a 25-year meditation path which has connected me to my own sense of belonging on the planet, as well as gratitude practice — these I consider to be essential ‘spiritual’ tools, as important as regular physical self-care routines. For accessing insight and new understanding of old blocks, or working with trauma, I am fond of ‘body-mind’ process work methods (such as that of Arnold Mindell). I also sometimes use tools of inquiry and narrative therapy for reframing self-talk and over-active ‘story-making’. Really, though a counseling session is an adventure into the unknown. My main allies are my intuitive wisdom, an open, compassionate heart, and my client.
A tool I love to use, but only with those clients who are interested, is astrology. Astrology is a great adjunct to counseling because it serves as a type of quickener, clarifying tendencies and potentials in the way that a topo map describes the geography of an unknown land. In a counseling session, I find that when I point to how an astrological archetype is operating as an influence on the client in a certain area of her life, she understands it more quickly than if I were to explain it in other terms. And visa versa, the power of astrology is magnified by the counseling container: a ‘straight’ astrology reading deepens so that it is more than just the client passively listening, and becomes a process by which client and counselor together engage through intuition, feeling, body, and mind. Some people come to me more for the astrology, and others more for the counseling.
Astrology is an invaluable lens that helps us to better know and understand ourselves, loved ones, friends and associates, and the cycles of our lives and the world around us. Perhaps because I’ve always sought deeper understanding of both the people and experiences in my life, I’ve found the insights astrology offers to be like that of a wise friend and mentor. I don’t use it for limiting predictions, but rather for clarity and guidance. I find it reliably offers direction and points to our gifts and potentials, the sources of challenges, explanations for setbacks, insights into the motivations and behaviors of others and our dynamics with them, and windows of opportunity for change and transformation. I don’t believe we are fated to any set destiny, but that our birth chart serves as a map, like an x-ray, that points to aspects of our psyche and our conditioning that we can choose to work with in an optimal way, and/or to transform, if that’s our intention.
Dreamwork provides a doorway to our unconscious urges, presentiments, and passions. Our dreams are our own unique and creative inner language through which we tell ourselves things we might know only dimly, if at all. Like astrology, dreams tap into the realm of the archetypes, and are rich with messages that can help inform our outer lives if we can give them the space and respect to let them speak. Working with dreams is another great adjunct to counseling as it helps mine the depths of our inner life.
“What we want is never simple.
We move among the things we thought we wanted:
a face, a room, an open book
and these things bear our names—now they want us.
But what we want appears in dreams, wearing disguises.
We fall past, holding out our arms and in the morning,
our arms ache. We don’t remember the dream, but the dream remembers us.
It is there all day as an animal is there under the table, as the stars are there even in full sun.”
~ What We Want, Linda Pastan
I have been counseling clients and facilitating groups since 2006, in a variety of contexts: private, educational, non-profit, and social service sectors. I received regular and advanced training certificates from the Interchange Counseling Institute in San Francisco, and completed a year-long training in group facilitation from The Circle Way/Peer Spirit program. Since 2014 I have been facilitating and writing curricula for therapeutic groups for both men and women in various contexts. (Some of these groups involve meditation and dreamwork, some involve writing, some serve marginalized populations such as those who are incarcerated, those who are homeless, and those who are children of the incarcerated, and some serve those of us who may fall into none of these categories, but who face what Buddhist psychologist Mark Epstein calls ‘the trauma of every day life’!)
I have been a decades-long student of dreamwork, astrology and psychology, particularly the depth psychology of C.G. Jung and his followers. I have been studying dreams since I was a pre-teen, and astrology since I was 18, when I was given my first book on AstroPsychology. It was a match made in heaven, so to speak! I have studied many varieties of astrological theory and incorporate them all into my readings. Not one to dwell exclusively in the mind, I have paralleled my studies over the years with extensive multi-year creative process work trainings in the realms of painting from the unconscious (The Painting Experience) and movement (Authentic Movement).
My intuition is well-developed through having been a student of Sufi meditation and dreamwork since the early 1990s. Also a trained medicinal herbalist, I bring my knowledge of alternative health to bear on astrological inquiries into health situations. My parallel career as a writer/editor helps me ground and articulate my insights so that they can be easily absorbed and understood by clients from all walks of life.
“Diana is very bright and well-versed in astrology. In addition, she is highly perceptive and intuitive, with a strong spiritual base. She brings warmth, humor, and supportive care and compassion to her readings.” ~ Rio Olesky, Astrologer, Author, Astrology & Consciousness and Manual for the Modern Mystic
“Thank you for the fine astrology reading! I have learned more from you than I ever have from other astrologers.” ~ EB
“Thank you again for your insightful and very professional reading.
I enjoyed your approach and would like to keep these dimensions of
insight in the foreground.” ~AW
“I felt so expansive after your reading!” – DY