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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner

How Astrology Can Deepen Your Client Relationships

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Do you notice that particular clients seem to make no headway with shifting the issues they come to you for, while others see immediate change and leave your practice renewed and happy? Do you ever wonder why some clients seem open and willing to work, and others have deep walls that you come up against each session? Do you see multiple clients having intensified issues and emotional reactions at certain times, without understanding what the common thread is or how to work with it?


In my studies I have encountered amazing therapists, healers, and shamans, who all have found ways to approach their clients with empathy, yet still face these questions. While there is no simple answer to any of them, I have found for myself that the astrological perspective can shine a light on each of these hang-ups in private practice, revealing the client’s underlying motivations, feelings, and difficulties in a new way, and is especially useful for getting through stuck places in your client relationships.


The natal chart (the sky and planetary positions at the time of birth) reveals things that feel totally inherent, natural, and unavoidable to the person…it shows how the person is influenced every day of their lives by the first imprint received from the heavenly bodies. Turns out that birth is, like, really important! Go figure. When we are influenced by something that significantly, it shifts our reality, our views, and our perceptions, and essentially makes us who we are.

*I am referring to Vedic Astrology in my writings, the astrology used for centuries in India.

The natal chart explains everything from why one person is introverted and shy while another is confident and radiates it, to the shape of the body, to the level of challenge experienced with finances and what will have to be overcome to get to financial health.


The natal chart is truly amazing in how much nuance it can reveal.


As a practitioner, you can use that information to enhance your individualized approach to each person, reducing any feelings in your client that you don’t quite get the whole picture of the situation, and perhaps relieving your own inner frustration that some people are moving forward in your practice and others seem to be on lock-down. It can also affirm your intuitions, lift your sessions with newfound clarity, and renew the client’s enthusiasm for their own unique destiny.


Three levels of karma


In the Vedas it is said that we each have a mountain of karma amassed on the other side, and with each incarnation, we take a percentage of that karma with us to heal and work with. The percentage and type of the karma changes from lifetime to lifetime. Sometimes we take a huge chunk and lead an extremely challenging life. Other times, the karmic load is lighter. Often, as I’m sure you’ve seen in your clients, one aspect of life is very challenging (health, finances, relationships, addictions, moods), while the rest of life flows somewhat smoothly.


The three levels of karma are dridh, adrida, and dridha-adridha karma:

  1. Dridh (heavy) karma is the most difficult karma, and usually if there is some in the chart, it is very difficult to change. Nothing the person says or does changes the feeling of this type of karma. In being present in the life of someone who has dridh karma activated, deep compassion and acceptance are the most helpful tools.
  2. Adrida (light) karma is mutable through the person’s choices, actions, and intentions. With this type, often the first part of life constellates in the karmic way, and later the person makes a shift and lives more aligned with their joy and free will. An example would be someone who enters a negative marriage early in life, and lives many years in suppression, then breaks through and leaves the marriage behind, and goes on to live and love again in a better way for them. Another would be someone who is terribly afraid of speaking out loud in groups but overcomes the fear entirely through choosing to face it and becomes quite adept at public speaking.
  3. Dridha-adrida (mixed) karma is experienced as a mix, or something that can be offset through choice but not necessarily changed entirely. An example might be a lifelong alcoholic: they can become more and more aware of the addiction, go to support groups, avoid the situations that trigger them, and live peacefully, but the threat of re-engaging in the addiction stays with them as a reminder of their humility throughout life.


As a practitioner, it can be helpful to understand what level of karma is being experienced by your client in the area that they present challenges in.


Some of this I’m sure you can experience intuitively. Does the situation feel inevitable, impossible, or only slightly improvable? When there is a dridh karma situation like this, you can serve your client most by helping them find acceptance, peace, and positive surrender. It can be counter-productive to try to help them change the outer situation through their actions, as it is something they are here to experience fully. Dridh karma is about letting go and facing life on life’s terms. It can bring a person to a deep space of truth when they are able to let go and face what is in front of them. And, understanding it can help you, the healer or therapist, feel more permission to let go of wanting the person to change or questioning why your presence and techniques aren’t having the impact you would like them to.


Dridha-adrida and adrida karmas are more changeable, and therefore the counseling relationship can be geared more towards making that change possible for the person. Overcoming negative tendencies and ingrained habitual energies is most needed with working with these types of karmas. Applying your healing energies, your presence, and your techniques will promote the person’s ability to make the choices in life that will bring them to a new place. Even if the same issues presents repeatedly, you can assist the person with finding better coping skills, say, for their depression or addiction, vs. surrendering to a “this is just how it is for me” mentality.




In my practice recently, I collaborated with a psychotherapist who felt frustration with how to counsel a particular client. The client was deeply depressed about being single for many years, and came to each therapy session with extremely heavy moods, complaints, and an overall analysis that life felt unfair to her. The therapist referred the client to me for an astrology reading to get some deeper insight on the whole issue of relationship for her, because the therapist could see through multiple sessions that the client’s attitude and outlook were not shifting easily on the subject. She would not let go of the fixation on relationship as her one-and-only key to happiness, which life was unfairly keeping from her. Their client-therapist relationship was basically at a standstill.

*names withheld for privacy

In the chart I could see that this woman’s relationship karma was quite heavy. The attachment to being in relationship was ingrained, and the difficulty in relationship was apparent through the chart. But the karma was adrida-dridha, so though heavy, it was not unchangeable. I could see that nothing would shift for her until she actually let go completely of the whole idea of partnership and defining her identity through having or not having a partner. This is what the chart revealed. It showed that growth and lightness of being could come more easily in other areas of life. It showed relationship as something to let go of, and accept, mostly, and that she needed to find her identity outside of partnership. And that once she did that, she would be far more likely to find relationship, mainly because she would be able to show up in one with less heaviness and over-emphasis. Don’t you just love Spirit’s irony? I know I do.


I told all of this to the client in her session. She wanted a different answer, but at the same time she could feel the truth of it.


Both the client and therapist were now equipped with the new information, and integrated the knowledge into their work together. A little ways down the road, the therapist reported this to me:


“I felt [the reading] shifted her perspective and allowed her to hear something from a different paradigm instead of just going over and over the same issues again in our talking to each other. It seems like even though it brought up resistance at first, eventually she had a deeper sense of her soul patterns and also how they were operating in her current transits, so it brought out much more acceptance and humility.
Another impact was knowing what areas did have fulfillment and flow, in her case career. It helped us to shift to places where there was universal support as opposed to running up against obstacles.”


I could hear in her voice that the stuck feeling in the sessions had been replaced by a new focus and a deeper feeling of acceptance for both people around the client’s harder karmas. As is so highlighted in the Brennan system of healing, once you, the practitioner gets unstuck in the client/healer dynamic by gaining clarity about what is going on, then the whole experience of meeting and working with the person can change dramatically for the better. The new perception shifts the dynamic and gives a new spin on how to work with the person.


Understanding Transits


Transits take me back to this question: “Do you see multiple clients having intensified issues and emotional reactions at certain times, without understanding what the common thread is or how to work with it?”


Transits are time periods when certain aspects of life get highlighted for everyone to some degree, depending on the nature of the planets involved. Saturn transits tend to bring difficulty, maturing, and a feeling of pressure, for example, while Jupiter transits tend to bring luck and expansion.


Transits impact each person’s life differently. If say, the current Saturn/Mars conjunction we are experiencing, hits right on a personal planet in someone’s natal chart, the effect will be highly magnified for them, whereas in another client it could be a much mellower experience.


As a practitioner, you can know that most of 2016 has a fiery, edgy, power energy influencing us all on personal and global levels. So people’s reactions to fire, edge, and power will be very noticeable as well as their own positive and negative uses of their personal power and passion. If there is lack in these areas, that will show more, too, and life will feel hard to folks whose power is dormant. It will feel like life is bombarding them and they can’t keep up. To others it will feel like a big test of courage, and will offer a chance to come forward with more positive leadership.


This year will test everyone in these arenas, and, as mentioned before, it will come in different areas of life depending on each person’s natal chart. For some, it is learning to communicate with more power and truth, with others, it could be an incredible maturing and intensifying of their spirituality. It can be very fascinating to know where your clients are being impacted at this time, and you can use the information within the transit to help them develop themselves with more intention and clarity.


In my private energy healing practice, I use astrological awareness all of the time. It has allowed me a much more comprehensive understanding of my clients, their struggles, and their gifts. It has also helped me immensely to see my own hang-ups, limitations, and potential as reflected in my own chart. Knowing one’s self deeply, I find, allows one to know others more deeply as well, and with astrology, the self-discovery is limitless!


To learn more about Vedic astrology, I suggest subscribing to James Kelleher’s newsletter, where there is a lot of approachable knowledge shared about transits and other factors in astrology. To schedule a consultation with me to discuss how you might use astrology to deepen your practice, please contact me at

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Nina Handwerk: Brennan Healing Science Practitioner