New Moon in Libra: Technology and the client

As astrologers we each have our style, preferences, and orientation for our practice. Every month, we choose a question about our professional astrology practice, and collect your responses here.
Katerusko
 
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Full Name: Kate Rusko
Location: Montreal, Canada

New Moon in Libra: Technology and the client

Postby Katerusko » Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:24 am

Kay Taylor

I’ve been practicing full time for 32 years so these new technologies came in during my years, although originally I did also offer telephone sessions as people referred friends from other states or moved themselves. I now offer telephone/Skype sessions and teach via webinar/video apps. Skype allows an inexpensive format for international clients which I love. The old long distance phone rates were prohibitive. However, I don’t love having Skype video sessions. The quality is often iffy to distant locations, and the process of looking at the charts on my computer screen while offering the session seems a bit more challenging. I don’t feel completely engaged empathically with a client in the way I might when they are in person. I have to make a point of looking at the camera lens from time to time as I speak as I know I’m staring at the charts not the person. I actually feel I maintain better rapport on an audio skype call. However, I allow the client to choose. Many of them really like the video calls. 

Alexandra Karacostas

Q: With the advent of Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc, readings are no longer limited to in-person consultations or phone calls. 

If you have been a long time practitioner, how, if at all, has this affect the way you do your work? What are the pros and cons?
A: About 85% of my work is through the phone and sometimes through Skype. I am deeply grateful for these options because it allows me to connect with all of my clients around the world and to travel frequently. Thank you technology! 
And if you have come into astrology during the social media era, how do you feel about in person contact? Has it become obsolete?
I still enjoy connecting with my clients in person as most of them are repeats throughout the years/decades and it's always a pleasure to see one another. 


Sue Minahan


I like the energetic connection with a live person that share many nuances for in-depth communication.
However, visual technology offers a wide population and certainly is the name-of-the-game from here-on-out.  Though I feel intimidated, I remind myself that in part it's because I'm relatively new to all of it -- reading professionally, and being on a visual connection such as Skype.  

Bottom-line, I feel confident practice assures success and know the learning curve will quickly improve with usage.  It's exciting to consider that visual technology increases opportunity to provide astrological services to those attracted to my brand, my site, and me.  That's what I tell myself as I prepare to start my website and join the activity. 

Most importantly, I realize it's the value of the reading that is the priority, rather than our physical location and will focus on the chart pertaining to the questions asked and lead onward.  The focus is not on me, but rather the subject involved, and perhaps technology aids that purpose and direction to a great degree.

Maurice Fernandez
 
The internet is what allows professional astrologers to sustain their practice, as they are now able to provide services beyond their local community and increase their pool of clients. I can speak directly from experience, living in a remote area and relying on technology to connect with clients. So Skype and the multiple other platform have been true companions, helping many of us make it in this journey.
 
At first I was intimidated by the non-personal online readings or teachings, but I got over it quite rapidly as the depth of contents was not affected at all. I won’t say that in-person readings are or will be obsolete because they are not necessary - this is just an additional tool.
 
Kristen Schifferdecker

I don't think in-person has become obsolete whatsoever. For me, it takes some work to understand the consciousness of the client. It's another art to translate to what that person can understand. By nature, in person tends to be quicker with that. But it also is more difficult for nice gals like me to end things on time. I personally do pre-recorded sessions with a more unusual intake to get at those measures of "how and what are they thinking about." I also do some phone sessions. Skype/Zoom hasn't been requested much although I'm open to it.

Chris McRae

Yes, times have certainly change in the long time I have been doing astrology.  I began doing charts along with my career in broadcasting, back in 1970.  I left the media and became a full time astrologer in the early 1980s, well before the Internet and the Social Media, both of which have changed the way new astrologers generate their practice and income.  It simply means that many more astrologers an make a good living through such diversification.
 
As you can see, all my earlier clients were in person in my office.  I still like that and it is still the greater source of my daily consulting business due to my continuing local reputation, but they can stay with me now as they move.   I have built up a solid and long faithful clientele, but also work in new clients as old ones leave.  Presently I am enjoying so many of the Uranus/Neptune group of young people that I see so many of these days, and who are also coming into class.  Years ago astrology attracted an older clientele.
 
As I lectured at many conferences even over those early years, I began to get a more and more telephone clients.   At first I felt that something intimate was missing but as I learned to cuddle the phone and reach my voice down the line, I felt closer to my clients.  It was simply a new experience that I soon got used to.  Of course, with the internet and Skype, our clientele stretches across the globe, particularly for those of us who have travelled abroad extensively as I have done through my work with ISAR.
 
The Astrological consultation is such a personal experience, that I do feel it is more intimate and deeply personal working with a client in person in my office.  That may make some consultants uncomfortable but I find it very rewarding and fulfilling, not only for my client, but for me as a consultant.   Even a brand new client, male or female, often ask at the door if they can give me a hug.  My Taurus Moon enjoys the exchange.  Perhaps this comfort has been built into me over the years dealing with so many people with so many different stories, griefs and anxieties.  It is all part of the process of life itself.  I feel so privileged with the opportunity of looking into so many peoples lives because I believe I have learned so much about our planetary journey.  I can only live one but can experience many through others.
 
Linea Van Horn

There is still nothing like an in-person reading, when client and practitioner are in each other’s physical auras. It’s more demanding of both, since it requires physical effort to get there. Seeing a client, being able to assess appearance and self-care; watching facial expressions and body language; seeing if and how they relax during a session – it can’t be replaced. Sadly, this is only available to persons who live within driving distance. In my case that’s over 7 million people, so as you can see, there is no shortage of potential clients.

However, being able to connect remotely via my computer or phone to virtually anywhere on the entire planet has expanded my potential client base by a breathtaking degree. I’m a big fan of online sessions, classes and conferencing. It’s such a thrill to meet with people in real time who are so far away! It’s mind boggling! Plus, for a recluse like me, the fact that you don’t have to get “gussied up” is a major plus of online meetings.

I have tried several types of online conferencing services and for me, the best option is to pay a monthly fee for GoToMeeting. It’s easy to use, has a great screen share function, drawing tools, and the meetings can be easily recorded and converted to mp4s. It’s very stable and they have good customer service. So it’s a worthwhile business expense for me, although I can see why others would choose a free service. The only downside has been a few technical issues (clients who don’t have headsets so there’s an echo; once I had to upgrade my version of GoToMeeting for it to work) but no worse and in fact way less annoying than free services I’ve tried (I found Skype to be particularly unstable and Google hangouts video is very pixilated). So – yeah! I’m a fan of both ways of meeting clients and students.
 
Armand Diaz

I still do most of my work on the phone or in-person (mostly the phone since my client base isn’t exclusively local). I do use Skype when people want the face-to-face contact, particularly on the first consultation, but I’m not too crazy about it. First, I’m usually looking at charts so eye contact isn’t great. And then I have to admit I don’t mind getting up and walking around the house (and even into the backyard) during phone calls - it helps me think - and you can’t do that with Skype. An interesting exception is working with astrology students, where Skype seems to be my preferred method if I’m not seeing them in-person.

Lutia Lausanne
 
I am a relatively new astrologer and long-time psychotherapist and creator of life passage ceremonies. I love face-to-face readings, followed up on Skype for liturgy planning. So far so good.
 

Jacqueline Lindley Janes

My practice has been a slow evolution into the technical world....and I'm still not entirely there. When I started, consultations were face to face, sometimes on a phone, and recorded on a tape. Clients had to pull me into recording on a CD. One client called me and said she had to buy a new car and the dealer refused to install her trade-in's tape deck so she could listen to our yearly consultations. "It's time," she said "to move into the world of CDs."  Of course as soon as I did that another client informed me that MP3s were the latest technology to use.

After many years, I became proficient over the phone in being able to sense and hear the nuances of the client's conversation much like I had been able to do so in person, also reading body language. We develop the skills we need if we want to continue in the work and the profession.

Just a year ago when a move from Connecticut to the Philadelphia area was contemplated, I realized that much of my practice could go with me. I had started using SKYPE as well as the phone. Using SKYPE is almost as good as having the client in front of you. Now I can read the body as well as the voice.  In phone contacts I now use a service that records the consultation and I can send it by e-mail as an attachment. I still have to make CDs for some clients who are even less technical than me and cannot burn the MP3 onto a CD from their own computers. (I struggle to do so myself)

This "old dog" learned "new technical tricks" because I love my work using astrology to give folks new ways to look at their unfolding lives. Do I feel completely at ease with technology. No. I still sometimes miss the face to face, personal contact with the client. However, I am consciously working at making a work space for myself that puts me in an attitude of being present for the client in a different sense of time and space, whether it is over the phone or on SKYPE and reaches out to the client to pull them into that space.

The challenge is developing the skills to create the interpersonal connection over time and space.  I recently spoke with a client in Australia the evening of one day in summer in PA wearing short sleeves while she was early morning the next day in Australia wearing long sleeves experiencing a stormy winter. We made a warm connection. It can be done when the desire to be present and connected with the client is there.


Lynn Bell

I have been a practicing astrologer for over forty years, I bought an isight camera in the early 2000's and left it in the box for a few months until  friends started to get one, so I came to the camera early. It has totally changed my practice, since in the past I would not work by phone, only in person. The visual opens things up for me I though sometimes I only work with audio, I always find this harder though.  I do Skype at least several times a week, I work with clients all over the world.and it has expanded my practice. My face to face practice is still strong, as most french people have not adapted the habit of distance yet.

As for teaching I find it more frustrating, I am a very interactive teacher and like seeing the faces of those I teach, I read the energy of the group. i am beginning to get used to it,  I prefer live teaching,

As for consulting I sometimes spend more time with clients in person, and so the internet has an advantage in managing time. It's fuller and richer, but can also be much more demanding.

Mary Lewis

I had years of experience in my previous professional life with crisis and
supportive phone counseling, so, phone work was really a natural for me. I actually
found the transition to *in person* more of an adjustment than I had predicted,
even though I had also done lots and lots of in person work (actually more)
in my previous work. The BIG difference is that my previous work was totally
focused on what was coming from the client, in every way - verbally and non-verbally.

With astrological consults, this is not true. There is information - lots of it -
coming from the astrological chart that needs to be conveyed. With *some* clients
this means I spend a good bit of time, carefully, thoughtfully and respectfully redirecting
our attention back to the actual information that is contained in the chart. And I find
this occurs to a greater extent in face to face work.

Kim de Noüe

I, personally, find this much easier to do in a phone reading. There are also distractions
for me in an in-person reading that are not present in a phone reading. But, inspite of
this, I am finding more and more, as I do more and more local readings, that my comfort
level increases and I really enjoy them alot! The percentage of phone readings I did
in the beginning was very high compared to face to face. Now it is tipped dramatically in the direction of face to face readings.

Although I have been doing readings for about 40 years, I have learned to adapt to the online formats as well and currently use GoToMeeting, and have also used Skype, Google Hangouts and even Team Viewer in the past.  I don’t mind doing readings online, but am partial to face-to-face contact.  There is nothing like sitting next to the person you are reading for.  While the chart is my vehicle, there is another level of information that comes from feeling the person’s energy and it seems easier for me to connect to it when the client is present physically.    

On the other hand, the marketing potential and revenue generation from online sales is a huge factor.  In my early career, it was difficult to get off the ground, as all clients were found via referrals or direct contact or because they wrote books.  Now clients can find us on our websites, Facebook and a multitude of other online locations.  This makes it much easier to generate a living that is sustainable, for which I am very grateful.  

Donna Young   

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love how convenient it is, and the ability to do readings online can allow me to see clients regardless of where they are, and regardless of where I am. The ability to take my work with me makes it way easier to enjoy my life without being tethered to one place. But all of that aside, I truly prefer face to face. I like the personal connection and the ability to see the full body language, which is also revealing. 

Arlan Wise

I live in a rural area with a small population so i have "seen" clients on the phone from the very beginning of my practice.  I prefer seeing someone in person as there's a vibrational essence that is created in the consulting room. But, there are advantages to working on the phone ,the client is home and comfortable and sometimes will open up more than he/she would in an office space where they are not familiar. A disadvantage is when the client's cellphone battery runs out and there is no way to finish the consultation.
 
I use Skype now and like that I can see the client but find that the main advantage of Skype is that is is free and I can have clients call me from anywhere on Earth.

I hope that in person contact never becomes obsolete. There is really something precious about it.


Carol Dimitrov
 
Although I began practicing Astrology during the popularity of electronic communication, I tend to prefer one on one sessions when possible...they are more work in coordinating and prep time since I do not have an office.
The sessions are held in my home. I try to make a very comfortable and welcoming space and I feel my clients bond with me and the work more. I find this to be especially true when they have never had a reading and are unsure it. There have been times when I was unsure about having someone in my home and I recommended Skype. I also use Skype for clients who do not live in my area.

Susan Falk

I have been a practicing astrologer for 36 years and I still value an in person consultation. There is something different and special about being with a person,sharing the same energy space.
Nevertheless,I have done and still do many sessions by phone and find those to be of value to my clients and satisfying for me as well. Sometimes there is even a more intense focus when I only hear the voice of my client and the nuances and feelings conveyed therein. I actually prefer a phone session to Skype as I find it to be somewhat distracting and feel that I should be looking more at the client than at the chart which I admit is my personal preference.I like to keep my focus on the chart because as I am looking at it there is often something new that pops out at me that I had not noticed in my advance preparation. All in all I guess I'm an old fashioned astrologer as I'm more grounded in the old ways.


Margarita Logovatovskaya

When I started consulting, I had personal meetings more than communication via phone or Skype. I communicated with people who could not or did not want to come by phone and Skype, so it was more convenient to consult distantly. At the same time it didn't have any bad influence to the quality. In this era of lack of time it becomes much easier to communicate remotely as it saves time.On the personal meetings consultations take more energy than remote, but they are also filled by the exchange between the Astrologer and the client. And there are some clients with whom a great joy to meet and very pleasant to work with. Now the amount of consultation via Skype or phone has increased as it is very convenient, because It saves time both partiсipants and I do not have to spend my personal resources for further communication.At the same time it does not affect the quality of the consultation, as client needs is a clear answer to his question. Personal meetings I carried on any activities, such as work in salons or partiea for girls, where the format of the event allows you to communicate with people conducting a rapid consultation. Due to this now distance communication more popular, as it is convenient not only for Astrologer, but, primarily, for customers.

Dmitriy Paramonov

Yes, I believe that the development of information technologies affects the counseling process. I cannot think if my office located conveniently for the customer, I'm no longer interested in my operation, I do not need to spend money on office rent, the creation of the image, advertising in the media. 
On-Line counseling - it's cool. Customers can contact me at any time convenient for them, I can work in a comfortable environment. I do not need to spend a lot of money to maintain the practice. I can do everything myself, and there are no external factors that would affect my work. Customers always know that I'm available through social networks. If the client is comfortable - so it's good.
But not everything is so perfect as it seems at first. 
We have to understand that using computer technology we are deprived of direct contact with the client. We lose the connection with the thin client. We see no reaction, we do not feel the subtle physiological changes, we have lost the connection with the client. Therefore counseling via the Internet is difficult. It increases the chance of subjective judgments about a person. We hear a customer's question, but we do not understand that this issue means for humans. Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice - all this reveals a deep understanding of the client. Unfortunately, the online consultation cannot us a complitely understanding.Astrologer has to be doubly attentive to what is going on at the time of consultation.Through personal consultations every Astrologer produces their counseling system. Every Astrologer has their tricks, methods of communication, disclosure of the methods of the horoscope, the methods of defining the problem and its solutions. At first, when I started to use the technology to work with clients, I began to notice that the quality of my advice has fallen sharply. So I began to write down my consultations on the recorder. After consultation, I listened to the recording and pointed to myself moments where I made a mistake, that it is necessary to improve, what to reject and what to add.I tried to understand why this is so, why consultation via the Internet differs from the live.
Some things have remained unsolved for me, but now I can say with certain that some of the questions I was able to solve. I have developed a few rules how to conduct consultation through the Internet, how to ask questions, how to listen to the client and how to talk with the client.
 
Christos Archos

I have been a practitioner the last 11 years and I still believe that human contact in person is very important. Astrological face to face counselling may be the choice of many astrologers but there are some advantages in online computer mediated communication.  Through online counselling we can reach people in many different geographical regions and become a source of help to people that may be unable to communicate with their surroundings.  E- Counselling is a viable source of help but I believe only when face to face counselling is not available.
  Through e – counselling we can have astrological services at any time and any day during a month and people from regions that are not having an astrologer can have the opportunity to have a successful astrological counselling. They are villages in Greece that do not have any astrologer close to them or even regions in Germany and UK that may be close to big cities but may not have an astrologer. Online counselling is very good because we have the ability to talk and help people that may be disabled, they are people that they cannot walk or have specific phobias that makes them unable to travel even short distances.  Some people may need an increased confidentiality especially people from small towns may not want to have a face to face consultation but to talk to someone far from them.  There are also those people that travel a lot and they don’t have enough time from their schedule to come to an astrologer’s office and an online counselling can help them in their work without losing time.  Finally, online counselling may be a solution for people in extreme crisis that they may feel the need to communicate with their astrologer to solve a great problem that may arise. 
  But while online counselling is something viable and positive, comparing it with face to face counselling is having some mayor drawbacks. We know that online counselling has a great risk in communication, several psychological papers showed to us that the lack of non-verbal communication and limited observance of body language can bring problems to the counselling procedure.  In person communication sometimes may be a solution for many problems our clients they have. We know that it’s not just the information the astrologer is providing to the person that may help them, is the relationship with the astrologer that may bring change for the person we do the counselling.
  Through chart readings we don’t only provide raw predictive information, we help our people to understand their problems but also their mistakes and we try to act as a bulb in a dark labyrinth and we can enlighten their choices and help them find the proper choice for their standards.  This counselling alliance with the significant other we have every time we do counselling is stronger if there is a face to face communication. Sometimes online counselling  may be misinterpreted by some people as not so integral and important. Finally, although digital revolution affected several people around the world there are still people and places that cannot have a proper counselling through the internet because of lack of internet access or lack of digital education.
 
Roderic Walter

I have not used tech much for my own practice at this point, yet I am the beneficiary of it when using it to consult other astrologers.  Payments are easy and instant - and you can usually get a time of payment, if that is wanted.  Furthermore, tech makes it effortless to watch the monthly (free!) astrology talks of some of the finest living astrologers living today.  This "connection" is vital and priceless for those who, for lots of different reasons, are not able to travel.
 
Tech also makes it much, much easier to mentor, as you and your mentee do not have to be available at the same time of day.  To make this point even more vividly, I mentor an astrologer who lives on another continent and the correspondence is very functional.
 
The sky is the limit with tech, and my feeling is that you have the option to customize your correspondence to the needs of your clients at a reasonable cost.  This flexibility is something that, without tech, used to come at great expense.
 

Kate Rusko

My first astrology clients were from another country, so I began my professional career doing readings by phone and Skype. I had already had some training in this as during my certification process, one of the clients was a no-show and I subsequently did her chart through Skype. It was good practice.
I now do charts pretty much exclusively by phone or Skype. If I have a client in town, I give the option of meeting in person, but doing it remotely seems to suit everyone, and I am happy for it.
However, during a recent reading, Mercury was stationing direct and my Skype kept dropping, so we switched to the phone. I realized then that there is an advantage to seeing the client: I missed seeing their reaction. On the phone, I feel compelled to keep checking in: is the silence at the other end rapt attention, or dismayed confusion?
There is no doubt in my mind, though, that these technological options have allowed me to launch my practice much sooner than I would have otherwise. They don’t “replace” anything, but expand on everything, providing many more options and avenues.

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