This book outlines various techniques for using astrology as a psychological counseling tool. Bogart has authored several books on this subject; this is a new and improved version of Therapeutic Astrology (1996) with only a few remnants of the original in Part III.

Part I gives a summary of the contents of the book and the author’s reasons for writing it. The technique he presents here blends depth psychology, existential psychology, and humanistic astrology. The author credits his predecessors, particularly Carl Jung and Dane Rudhyar, for creating a foundation for the self-empowering form of humanistic astrology that was popularized in the 20th century.

Chapter 5 outlines the meanings of signs and houses. This is the most troubling and problematic section of the book. Since this is in no way a beginner’s astrology book, this basic information is a waste of space. Bogart conflates the signs and houses, a flawed precept that is becoming obsolete in astrological praxis.

Once the reader gets past the first 147 pages of confession, history, and unnecessary basics, the text improves in Part III, Chapter 6, when the author finally gets around to discussing the subject advertised in the title. Bogart describes a range of methods for blending talk-therapy and astrology for individuals and couples counseling. A method for using a combination of astrology and visualization for self-improvement is offered. There’s a section on using astrology as a tool for working with couples to improve troubled relationships. Many readers will find this the most valuable section of the book.   

Plenty of so-called “sample charts” are included with case studies. These stripped-down charts only show the specific natal and transiting planets that the author has decided are relevant to the case. This keeps the author’s discussion focused and streamlined, but on the downside, it forces the reader to accept the author’s chart analysis. By default, the analysis is dumbed down. Any reader attempting to apply these methods has to use a complete birth chart, not one with problem areas conveniently highlighted. Furthermore, a distinctive problem in a client’s chart is invariably thematic, i.e., appears in two or three (or more) chart combinations between the natal chart and transits or progressions. Since charts aren’t presented as bi-wheels, a complete natal chart with transits, for instance, there’s no way for the reader to identify chart themes that offer clues to the client’s problems.

Chapter 7 presents descriptions of psychological issues associated with individual planets and planetary cycles. There are specialized planet-to-planet combinations that are the usual suspects for mental health and relationship issues. Bogart discusses the invisible outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, as transits from these planets can trigger long periods of personal difficulties. Part IV centers on Synastry and couples counseling, and the material here is particularly valuable since so many clients show up with relationship problems. Part V is about predictive astrology, and describes the importance of transits, secondary progressions, and solar arc directions. Part VI offers a series of case studies.

Whether it’s called evolutionary, humanistic, or depth astrology, this is a specialized branch of astrology that will be of particular interest to astrologers with counseling credentials. Bogart is carrying on a 20th century methodology that has valid uses in counseling practices. The glitch is that Jungian-style therapy and existential psychology are considered passé by contemporary psychologists. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the hot new thing. And at $150 to $250 an hour, very few clients can afford regular weekly talk-therapy sessions. Personal evolution ain’t cheap! That doesn’t make depth astrology irrelevant or useless, but it narrows the range of application for troubled clients.

That said, experienced practicing astrologers who counsel clients will find this book useful, whether they have degrees in counseling or not (a contentious issue). Bogart does a good job of demonstrating how an astrologer can present chart problems as opportunities for personal development and evolution, and how to frame remarks to a client in an empowering way. There are plusses and minuses to this book, but Bogart does a good job of sharing his techniques and experiences. His case studies show how astrology can be quite useful in helping clients with personal and relationship issues.

Recommended for practicing astrologers who have already done some preliminary reading of Rudhyar, Liz Greene, Steven Arroyo, and other writers in a similar vein, and who embrace the idea of using astrology as a tool with psychological counseling.

~Review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: Greg Bogart
Ibis Press 2012
pp. 380, $24.95

RocketTheme Joomla Templates