Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Can Psychological Astrology Help to Understand a Child With Communication Difficulties?


Guest blog by Alison Chester-Lambert

Astrology has come a long way from the magazine horoscope column to high tech software, Jungian analysis and a new department for the study of astrology within the School of Archaeology at the University of Wales. In fact, it was studied extensively by Carl Jung and finally blended into a branch called Psychological Astrology in the 20th century by Dr L Greene.

Okay, it still suffers from the cynicism of the rest of academia, but it is fast making its mark in a number of ways within the healing and medical community. Member of Parliament David Tredinnick has recommended its use for counselling in the NHS, and medical trials to test astrology's use in helping infertile couples to conceive are underway in the USA.

But there is yet another way that the serious research side of astrology can help. It can help us to understand the inner world of those who cannot communicate. This is because the birth chart can describe the basic motivations, likes, dislikes and desires of the person. And it can describe these things better than we can describe ourselves in most cases.

So therefore a consultation with a psychological astrologer will reveal much about your child that you didn't know. It can help identify what will grab their attention or what makes them feel most comfortable. It will describe personality traits and what irritates them. In short, it will describe the inner world of your child down to a tee.

How will this help? Because knowing how to attract their attention or switch them on will open a window into their world. It enables a shared moment, or perhaps a rare exchange.  And as any therapist in this field will tell you, finding out and then developing what gets their attention gives the best results.

But it also makes a mother feel better. It gives you something of your baby. Understanding can be the greatest gift to the troubled mind. How many times have you exclaimed "If only I could understand him/her! If only I knew what was going on in their world."?

I have personal experience of this because I have a 23 year old daughter who was diagnosed with tactile defensiveness, sensory integration deficits, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ASD at the age of 4. She was seriously `out` of this world for the first few years and it seemed nothing could reach in. I had to give up work and care for her as Mary Poppins never appeared and child minders only lasted a day. I was separated from my husband by this time, but the State waded in with financial support and that was it…. me and my daughter against the world. Actually, make that me and my daughter against each other, and both of us against the world!

But every cloud has a silver lining and mine was the ability to seriously study something I'd always been interested in…. psychological astrology. I lived in London at the time and this was taught at Regents College by the legendary Dr. Liz Greene. I was mesmerised by it. It became the most important activity in my life as understanding unravelled before me. Nothing in all my 44 years of living had ever made so much sense. It was like opening up Aladdin's Cave and finding all the answers to every question I had ever asked. I was hooked and I still am. Years later, I am as much in love with the practise of using Jungian analysis and the structure of the Solar System to understand the fundamental drivers in a person's psyche as I have always been. More in fact. It has been the most faithful of my life's fascinations!

How does it work? How can the position of the planets at the moment of a person's birth describe so much of their personality and individuality? The simple answer…..because we live in an invisible, 3-dimensional web which connects everything up. Or perhaps our Solar System is just like a brain cell in some giant entity's head. Whatever `state` the Cosmos was in at the time of a baby's birth is reflected in the new life that has just emerged. The baby inherits that moment as a record in its epigenes. It will grow up to develop that moment as its life path, using those strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges as its tool kit. The baby was born with the `personality traits` of that moment as its blue print. And it can be understood by looking at the patterns which existed at the time - a map of the planets reflects this pattern and is called a birth chart.

Slowly but surely, my daughter made the breakthroughs, and now she lives a reasonably normal life. She can now talk about the past and happily describes how her world had been and what had made her want to make the leap into ours. Why she came `over the bridge`. And the answers had been in her birth chart all along. She did it because of fantasy, theatre, performance and drama. But it could just as easily have been gardening or horse riding; it just depends what is in the birth chart - we are all different.

At the very least, astrology could be considered a placebo…. Something that imitates a therapy but is still very effective. (In research it was found that a placebo cured a headache in 55% of the patients.)  Perhaps it is the focus of the consultation that clears the mind, perhaps it is the psychotherapy. But in my experience, astrology goes further than that. It really does uncover many things that were well and truly hidden, revealing information that is so useful when trying to manage mental disability.

Users report a wonderful sense of enlightenment and meaning. They say it helped them understand their child in a new light. That it reduced frustration and increased patience. It gave new richness to their relationship. As it only requires one session, it is worth a try surely?

If you would like to have a reading please get in touch.

I am actually looking for a Mum who would be happy to write a testimonial of her experience of a psychological astrology session with me. It is for a British weekly magazine and the purpose of writing the covering article is to encourage mothers to think about engaging with astrology as a tool to help manage their child.

Email: alison@alisonchesterlambert.com

Alison has BBC radio and American TV credits and has had 2 books published by Findhorn Press. She is the founder of the Midlands School of Astrology and has a Masters Degree in cultural astrology.  www.alisonchesterlambert.com







19 comments:

  1. "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof." Within this article are many extraordinary claims, which begin with "Astrology has come a long way" through to "encourage mothers to think about engaging astrology as a tool to help manage their child," Using my access to the Ohio Link research databases, I have been unable to find ANY peer-reviewed articles that in any way discuss a relationship between the treatment of speech and language disorders, despite the claim that astrology is "fast making its mark in a number of ways within the healing and medical community." Nor does the article provide ANY references to support the claims made as to the not simply the validity of astrology as a clinical intervention tool but the validity of astrology itself.

    Comments such as "At the very least, astrology could be considered a placebo" followed by "a placebo cured a headache in 55% of the patients" is simply a non sequitur and any inference of causality or contingency cannot be made - or indeed substantiated by evidence-based research. And recommending a course of treatment based on personal experience and supposition is not compatible with the best practices endorsed and espoused by any of the professional bodies across the globe (RCSLT, ASHA, SAC, SPA, etc.) In fact, it lends one open to litigation in the event that there are negative consequences.

    A therapeutic recommendation based on an untestable, metaphysical philosophy is not one that a speech-language professional should be adopting. While fully appreciative of the author's personal experiences with regard to her daughter (and in EBP, this is actually one piece of "evidence" that has to be taken into account), as data for evidence-based research this doesn't even make it to Level IV on the scale, and at best could be a starting point for a tightly controlled single case study.

    For a brief and cogent discussion of the role of science and evidence-based approaches in Speech Therapy, I recommend the following:

    Lof, G. L. (2011). Science-based practice and the speech-language pathologist. Int J Speech Lang Pathol, 13(3), 189-196.

    For a more detailed, comprehensive text book on the use of EBP in communication disorders, I heartily recommend the following:

    Dollaghan, Christine A. (2007). The handbook for evidence-based practice in communication disorders. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Pub.

    Both these resources (and there are many others) will help people understand the difference between untested personal opinion and evidence-based replicable research. This article is, unfortunately, an example of the former, and it would be a poor clinician who would take any of its recommendations as being good practice.

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  2. I do absolutely agree, it is time to broaden our horizon-our minds, in the end it is for the benefits of our children. Bravo to Libby Hill and and Alison Chester-Lambert.

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  3. please don't advertise this mush to parents!! speaking as a speech therapist i highly advise disregarding the above method as a way of improving your child's speech and language skills. stick with evidence based and peer reviewed therapy please :)

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  4. Thank you very much for commenting on here. I've had death threats and personal insults left right and centre, by email or Direct Message, and high level academics continuing to post on twitter. Posting on here for debate is what I wanted. We publish articles which are well written and which inspire debate. Not everything will appeal to everybody. The article is not talking about a treatment and asks the question 'can it..?'

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  5. Continued from above . . .

    I am appalled and astonished to read Libby Hill's comment that she has received death threats as a result of publishing this "guest blog" article. I do hope that she has reported these to the police and that prosecutions follow.

    "Personal insults" are another and vaguer thing altogether. In my opinion, publication of this advertisement - that is all it is - places the profession in disrepute and does not promote or protect the best interests of the population that Speech and Language Therapists serve. That is not a personal insult. It is my professional opinion.

    I am aware that this article has caused shock and outrage within the Speech and Language Therapy profession. Also that there have been calls on social media for it to be deleted - because of the damage that it might do to people whose interests we are supposed to have at heart.

    Libby Hill's position is that she would prefer such comments to be made here, rather than on Twitter for example. I hope that Libby understands why people would not want to comment here. Commenting serves to promote this blog post further and might suggest that it is worthwhile retaining. Not worthwhile for its intrinsic merit, because I do not believe that it has any, but as a "draw" to the blog and therefore to the benefit of the Smart Taker company's commercial interests.

    However, as long as it is still available to the public on the open internet I feel, as obviously do @speechdudes and @maeve, that its publication should be challenged as close to home as possible.

    As far as I can see, to retain any professional credibility, there is only one alternative to taking this blog post down. Firstly, to plaster a huge "Warning" sign on top that this is actually an Advertisement. Secondly, to follow up very swiftly with a blog post - not a guest blog - in which Libby provides a persuasive explanation of how and why, in her own professional opinion, it is reasonable to advertise "Psychological Astrology" in this way and thereby encourage anyone to pay for "Psychological Astrology" in order to "help to understand a child with communication difficulties".

    I do not mean "persuasive" in the sense of "impress a chance visitor to this website". I mean "persuasive" in the sense of heading off or answering a complaint to the HCPC. With the strength of negative comment from within the profession, which Libby Hill is clearly aware of, that is what I would be worried about right now. That would seem to me to be a more likely "what happened next" scenario rather than a credible death threat, however distressing it must be to receive any sort of death threat.

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  6. The answer is "no". At this point there is no reason to believe that astrology will in any way help parents to understand their children who have speech and language impairments. I'm sorry you have received death threats in response to this article. I find that beyond horrifying. I do know it is very shocking to see a SLP blog about such wish wash. Parents do not have time, money, or energy to waste on non-evidenced based practices. Children deserve to participate in treatment which is evidenced based and most likely to provide the highest level of function and/or therapeutic benefit.

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  7. I disagree completely with the concept of psychological astrology as a treatment for ASD. From what I can tell, there is no science to back up that point of view, whatsoever. However, I understand a parent's drive to understand and connect with their child and to attribute that connection to something...anything...that might work. However, there lies the problem. By having this post on a SLP/SLT blog, the potential to exploit that need for connecting is very real...and wrong. Exploitation of a parent's desperate need to connect with their child is wrong on every level - even more so when it comes from a communication expert.

    I also disagree with the call to have the post removed for a couple of reasons. One, it's important to know what "fads" are out there so that we, as SLPs/SLTs, are able to respond appropriately to them. In all honesty, I had no clue this was a ... thing... until I read the blog. But I know many parents will have seen it or heard about it or whatever... I'd like to know what I'm arguing against when I'm explaining the difference between dreams and reality. The same way that I will argue against magic elixers that cure stuttering and articulation disorders. But I have to know they're a thing before I can argue against them.

    The second reason I'm against removing it is because no one has the right to micromanage what someone posts. Do I feel the post should have a disclaimer - ABSOLUTELY. Would I post it on my blog? ABSOLUTELY NOT without a serious disclaimer and/or paragraph explaining WHY I'm posting it...But, Libby has the right to post what she wants as she wants it. She is NOT advocating for the product. While some people may consider that the same as advocacy - I don't. Sometimes, information is just for information.

    I am concerned that the post, without a disclaimer or blurb explaining it, will discredit the site and, as such, discredit further posts/suggestions. However, the post also has the potential to discredit communication services as a whole.

    I would LOVE to see a disclaimer and Liz's suggestion of a followup post carried through. While I personally and professionally disagree whole-heartedly with the article and I feel it is wrong to place such an article on an SLP blog without a disclaimer, I also recognize that it is Libby's right to do so.

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  11. I am neither a speech therapist nor an astrologer but I am enough of a scientist to respect others beliefs and discuss them rather than shoot them down. Perhaps we should remember that the most famous speech therapist was by modern standards completely untrained and worked on gut feeling, personal experience and belief. He was also ridiculed by the so called academics and professionals. I think some of the more learned negative commentators on this article have missed the point of this publication. It appears to be a relatively light, interesting, forum for debate to me, not a dreary academic journal.
    Interestingly astrology (by which I do not mean the nonsense in some daily newspapers) has more evidence supporting its basic validity than many mainstream scientific theories commonly accepted.
    As far as advertising goes, I have written a number of formal papers and I am often invited to give my details at the bottom of the article. I have yet to be inundated with new clients through this.
    In support of enlightened open mindedness.
    Peter Phillips MCIEH, CMIOSH, Environmental Health and Health and safety Consultant.

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  12. I am neither a speech therapist nor an astrologer but I am enough of a scientist to respect others beliefs and discuss them rather than shoot them down. Perhaps we should remember that the most famous speech therapist was by modern standards completely untrained and worked on gut feeling, personal experience and belief. He was also ridiculed by the so called academics and professionals. I think some of the more learned negative commentators on this article have missed the point of this publication. It appears to be a relatively light, interesting, forum for debate to me, not a dreary academic journal.
    Interestingly astrology (by which I do not mean the nonsense in some daily newspapers) has more evidence supporting its basic validity than many mainstream scientific theories commonly accepted.
    As far as advertising goes, I have written a number of formal papers and I am often invited to give my details at the bottom of the article. I have yet to be inundated with new clients through this.
    In support of enlightened open mindedness.
    Peter Phillips MCIEH, CMIOSH, Environmental Health and Health and safety Consultant.

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  13. Interesting comments and thank you, I have taken the time to read them thoroughly. Some contain great fear and this is fairly common within the polemics of astrology.
    I think I should explain that I have not suggested that psychological astrology should replace speech and language therapy. Complementary therapies are just that – complementary to any NHS service. Diverse therapies such reiki, Indian head massage, psychotherapy and CBT can also support NHS care.

    With regard to evidence based science, as one of the first sciences, the practice of astrology has a practitioner evidence base that goes back 5,000 years. The Babylonian texts on this matter are full of the very advanced astronomical calculations necessary. Astrology is regarded as a science in India and China of course; in fact this matter was settled by the Indian High Court recently.

    As for my own academic ability – my undergraduate studies were in psychology, I graduated into a Masters degree with distinction in 2014 and I am currently researching a PhD. I hope that answers any questions regarding my academic abilities?

    Many thanks for this opportunity to have an open dialogue with regard to your fears. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    Alison Chester-Lambert - author of the above blog.

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