New Moon in Scorpio: Boundaries and clients

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 Scorpio: Boundaries and clients

Postby Katerusko » Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:25 am

Has a client ever crossed professional boundaries with you?
Have you ever had to "fire" a client for inappropriate behaviour?
Which are your golden rules for maintaining professional boundaries?
And if you have let your rules slacken in the course of your practice, what has been the result?

Katerusko
 
OPA supporter
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:46 am
Full Name: Kate Rusko
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: New Moon in Scorpio: Boundaries and clients

Postby Katerusko » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:35 pm

Chris McRae

When I was in my 40s and at a very attractive period of my life in the glamorous world of television,  I was somewhat concerned that my compassion and empathy might be misunderstood as an "invitation" so I may have put up an invisible protective cloak.  I often avoided any topic or issue in their chart that could be misconstrued. Now that I am older I have probably become more of a motherly or matriarchal symbol to most of my male clients and I can now much more easily mention intimate issues.  Of course the younger clients would likely think of me as a kindly, wise grandmother.  Some clients seem to feel our consultation is an invitation for a continued friendship by suggesting we have lunch together sometime, or go to dinner.  For luncheon invitations I let them know that I see clients on a regular basis and I also teach 2 or 3 evenings a week which keeps me very busy, and in between I am writing another book.

A little caution is advisable for me because my office is in my home.  Most of my clients are by referral which automatically weeds out many who could be problematic.  Many clients are still with me locally who started long before computers and the internet.  Of course with my international work I do get a lot of phone or Skype consultations.

Moon Zlotnick

I love these questions!  Yes, I've had clients make inappropriate suggestive remarks.  Very early on in my career I would just ignore them or pretend that nothing happened.  As I got clearer about boundaries I would simply say that we have a professional relationship and I need to put a boundary right up now. The handful of times this happened the client was understanding and apologetic. 

I've "fired" clients because we were a bad match, but not for inappropriate behavior.  The most extreme example of this was a man who got into a half lotus, closed his eyes and started to meditate as I began to interpret his chart. When I said that my style was interactive he said that he couldn't listen unless he continued to meditate. I ended the session, no charge.

I think having an office has helped maintain professional boundaries. Here are a few of my rules:
***I start and end classes and sessions on time.  If people are late (of course I make exceptions) they don't ruin my schedule or make other clients late.  If students are late I record the class for them.  If an important question comes up at the end of the reading I schedule a follow up at a reduced fee. If folks cancel w/o 24 hour notice I charge them half their session fee.
***At the beginning of each session I invite the client to discuss what they want from our time together and I do my best to let them know what I can and cannot fulfill.
*** I treat everyone with respect and expect the same in return.

Over the course of my practice I have done readings for friends and family.  That was an early "golden rule”… never mix business and friendship/family. 90% of the time it's worked out fine. Unfortunately I've disappointed a family member once or twice, predicting what they wanted to hear, rather than what was absolutely true.


Kay Taylor

So yes, I did have a male client come onto me at the end of a one hour consultation last year. Many clients talk to me about their marriages and aspects of their sex life. In this case he began to tell me how he and his wife don’t have sex anymore and then went on to tell me about his sexual skills and preferences with a twinkle in his 82 year old eyes, or perhaps it was a lecherous glance. In any event, I said I was sorry to hear that and suggested he and his wife go for couples counseling. I felt sad for him and his wife, who I also know.

As for firing a client, I have made myself less and less available for some difficult ones and I have referred some to others who I thought would be a better fit.

Boundaries are energetic, not just acting professional. I run my business professionally as a business. People book online, get clear instructions, are expected to show up on time, and I finish on time.

My rules have become tighter over the years, not slackened. I used to share more personal details during or after a session. I’m much more careful these days to rarely share something personal and only when it is directly related and I can’t think of a more impersonal way to share the same information. People want the reading to be about them and they deserve that honor and service.

Sol Jonassen

I cannot say that this has been a problem for me. I tend to keep a laid back, but professional relationship to my clients, and my first rule is that work is work and friendship is friendship.
 
Yes, a few years ago there was a student who became a friend. It morphed into friendship quite naturally and when we were friends, I stopped being her astrologer. It was a natural process.

Margaret Logovatovskaya

In my experience, often happens that clients become my friends, we begin to communicate friendly, easily and naturally, as if this is not advice but confabulation. And that all turns out automatically, without my efforts to do so. This occurs because the steward of my Seventh house, the house of clients, is in conjunction with the ruler of the house of friends.So my consulatations are more like friendly dialogues, where I am a friend who has the necessary knowledge. Because of this, any difficulty has not occurred yet. But once, client was a young man, he became a little intrusive in his questto to talk to me. He said a lot, not realizing that consuming my time and strength . So this time I had to put a border to stop this process. He was surprised, he thought it was normal thing.But after my explanation he understood. After that, I realized that some clients simply need to be set in boundaries to avoid misunderstandings. But mostly I have such advices in the way of confabulation. Such is the impact of my natal chart.

Lucia Lu Luyao, China satellite

I want to ask a question. Do astrologers all consider themselves as counselors? 

I would like to think if we clearly defined ourselves as counselors then there is a boundary but if not then I do not feel this is an issue.

The problem I have is I have to explain to my client why I want to keep a boundary. But actually Chinese are the people who have no boundaries at all in general. In small cities people will get into your apartment without calling you first if you are friends. And my American friends keep on telling me that how nosy Chinese are. If my American husband walks in a small city they will just stare at him and they will pat my baby and ask how old my husband is and how old I am. :-D 

I think boundary in general is a very western modern idea. Young people in big cities are obviously aware of that in China but most Chinese do not have it. So my counselor friend who just started her business three years ago said to me that she has to write articles teaching her clients again and again about boundaries and how and why boundary helps. Astrologers in China mostly do not do sessions. Some of them sell crystals instead. Because Chinese are not used to schedule sessions!  

I do face serious boundary issues dealing with local clients and actually I think I have to establish a club for them instead of having sessions. I do not have issues with my online clients. If they ask a question and I believe a session is needed then I tell them clearly about it.  

Kim de Noüe

Has a client ever crossed professional boundaries with you?
Yes.  Nothing serious, but people sometimes have called more than once after a reading to ask more questions.  I also worked as an astrologer in a bar in NYC for about six months, so there were times when people would flirt or tease me about being an astrologer, while I was reading.  I would usually just try to find something in their chart that would get their attention and that usually worked to get them to stop.  I have also had people try to get me to tell them what they should do in terms of a relationship issue or a life choice.  I always tell them that it is their life and their decision, while attempting at the same time to give them a sense of the bigger picture view of the things they may want to consider in terms of the aspects to their chart.  It has also useful proven helpful to provide critical timelines so they understand the duration of an issue or crisis.
   
Have you ever had to "fire" a client for inappropriate behavior?
I don’t recall every having to fire someone as a client.

Which are your golden rules for maintaining professional boundaries?
I have not needed any specific rules.  My only request is that people are respectful and that they do not expect me to tell them how to live their lives for them.

And if you have let your rules slacken in the course of your practice, what has been the result?
My biggest issue used to be not adhering to the agreed-upon timeline.  I try not to do that any more, as people do not respect you as a professional when you do that.  I still will make exceptions and extend my time with them, if someone is really distraught or dealing with a crisis.


Alexandra Karacostas

Q: Has a client ever crossed professional boundaries with you?
Yes. In the more distant past, clients wanting to engage with me outside of the professional environment and being obvious about it. Didn't work for me. 

Have you ever had to "fire" a client for inappropriate behaviour?
Yes. For stealing too much time and for behavior issues addressed above. This hasn't happened often, perhaps  4-5 times over the last 27 years. Also, for disagreeing with me, not behaving respectfully, but wanting to return again and again. That doesn't' work that well for me either. 

Which are your golden rules for maintaining professional boundaries?
Dress professionally, be polite and have a professional environment to work in . Even when my office is in my home, I keep it clean and organized, with appropriate seating for myself and clients. Be on time and end on time. Don't discuss personal views, especially re: sensitive subjects, i.e. politics, religion, gender issues, etc. Charge money!

And if you have let your rules slacken in the course of your practice, what has been the result?
The bottom line is my self esteem suffered. Not a place I enjoy going.


Donna Young

These are not issues I've ever had to deal with as an Astrologer, but when I was younger and in a sales capacity I had these issues with clients. I never fired a client for inappropriate behaviour, but I (like to think that I) have a great sense of humour, and my biggest asset in deflecting before anything got out of hand was to say something like "well if I didn't know better I'd think you were flirting with me HAHAHAHA" - and they would have an easy out without feeling too uncomfortable. 


Marjorie Lutz

No, no one has ever crossed boundaries of propriety. My own demeanor discourages that.
I am professional and command without stating it, that behavior is appropriate.  Besides, at my age, who would dare??

Mary Lewis

I live in a small rural place, with the culture of a small, rural place.
This, in and of itself, makes things more challenging.
I have never had a client cross professional boundaries with me but I have had them pushed, many times.
I have never "fired" a client, but I have chosen not to do a reading for one client who was very concerning to me. I referred the client to another astrologer.
The referral was not utilized and this was not appreciated, but as things further unfolded, I was very glad that I had listened to myself and not worked with this person.
My golden rules are: Above all: strictest confidentiality. And secondly, the consult is for and about the client ONLY. It is not about me or anyone else. Period. Stop.
Some of my clients are also my yoga students and dance students. I think this is actually helpful in reinforcing who I am and am not, in their lives.


Ursula Stockder

When my values and those of my clients are not the same I have had to fire 2 clients.
- One of them was an Italian gigolo who married a very traditional 18 year old Mexican girl without her family knowing, he used her and as soon as he decided that Mexico wasn’t his place to life or study he decided to leave the country without letting her know about his decision.
- The other one was the husband of a very good friend of mine and while my friend was in the bathroom he started to speak very ugly about their sexuality and was unrespectful to the integrity of my friend and in a polite way I told him that I only could work with my friend but not with him.

As soon as I notice that someone has interest in me, I immediately tell them something about my personal life, so they know where they stand and I proceed with my work. I think it is very dangerous to get involved in a relationship with a client.

Boaz Fyler

Yes, I did have a woman client once who came in for regular weekly sessions of therapeutic astrology. On our first meeting, she asked if she could go to relieve herself a few min after the session started. When she came back from the restroom she was wearing a very short black mini skirt. I was angry and told her there is no place for this kind of behavior here and it is not tolerated and suggested she should find someone else to work with her. At first she was shocked by my reaction, than broke down and asked me to forgive her. I did. She ended up coming in every week for almost a year. We worked as well on her need for love and attention and the ways she tried to get it. We were both very pleased by the end result. She is still a client and comes in once in a while. The fact I could forgive her behavior and resist the temptation gave me added credibility and strength in her eyes and that was a contributing factor for her rehabilitation. However, I am very thankful that all my sessions with clients are always recorded from the minute they come in to the moment they leave. As a male astrologer with about 80% female clients, I see it as a necessary reassurance.    

Dmitriy Paramonov

I had a few of these situations. Once I advised a client from Latvia. Consultation took place via Skype. The client was drunk. I stopped consulting, offered to meet the next day, when the client will be able to have a conversation.
Also I had very interesting situation with the client from Israel. The client was offered to invest in the esoteric louge and so the client asked whether this business develops. What if he invests money in this business? Horoscope showed that business will not be popular, the expected profit will not bring better and refrain from investing in this type of business.
As soon as I said that, the third person broke in the conversation. The person was there but I didn't see him, and he listened to our conversation. This man was the initiator of this dubious business project. That moment, I fell down a curse. Then I learned a lot of new words, especially which that a person can be called, learn about different versions of my future and even about the level of my knowledge.
But I didn't blame the person. I realized that my answer had destroyed his expectations, so he had this reaction. I gave him to speak out, and when his emotional anger asleep,I asked if they had more questions? There were no more questions and I wished them good luck, thank for the fact that they came to me and completed our consultation.
But that's not so simple. I understand that staying calm is very difficult in such situations. Perhaps another time I could not do it. But there is a little trick: the fact that the consultation was held on a paid telephone line. Every minute of that call cost 10 shekels for the client. So I easily listened the man, knowing that I receive a good compensation for this. The longer he would scold me, the larger would be the amount of the invoice for consultation. 
How do I keep the border with clients?
I just do not get close to them. I'm not friends with customers, I don’t make business, I do not have any relationship with them.
I know if I want to give quality astrological advice to the client, I cannot be his friend. If the person is a friend of mine and if I want to keep our friendship, I don't consult them.
 

Angela Tiki

I would like to share an experience I had recently. Few months ago a lady came to me, and I gave her an advice from which she benefited economically. Her husband was thrilled and he wanted to visit me also. The lady called me and said that if he’ll come, she would like me to tell her everything. Of course this is something I wouldn’t agree on. She avoided as much as she could to give him my telephone number but at the end she couldn’t do otherwise. A couple of months later, he called me again to arrange another appointment. And guess what, his wife called me again, only this time she wanted to bribe me, feeling that now I would agree. I told her never to call me again. Occasionally I have to “fire” clients, especially when they try to manipulate me or take advantage the fact that I try to make them feel comfortable during our sessions. My biggest problem though is that some clients (fortunately very few) bombard me with messages in a regular basis, thinking that after a session they have the right to ask questions every day or inform me for whatever is happening in their lives. So, the good thing is that whenever I close the door to a negative client a new one opens with many more – positive ones.


Maurice Fernandez

99.9% of clients are respectful and we all benefit from our exchange.
 
An incident I can think of were one where the client wanted to test my skills in the course of the reading and would argue with me on every sentence disagreeing about how I got to my conclusion (not about the facts, but how I got to them!) – fired indeed!
 
Golden rules: Explain your service accurately on your website so there is no misunderstanding, have clients send questions ahead of the reading to make them come to the session with an intention and not for entertainment purposes, Make sure they pay for the reading ahead of time.

Kate Rusko

I have never had anyone cross any serious boundaries, but I am pretty aware of those naturally.
I do have clients though who address me in ways that go beyond traditional client-counselor relationships: I get emails with heart emojis and such things, and sometimes they sign off with “love”. I keep my own response friendly, but neutral, even when it may be tempting to respond in kind.
I love giving readings, and that is more precious to me than making a new friend, so I am careful to keep things as they should be.


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