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Dr Pamela Connolly & 'Shrink Rap'
Written & published: April 2007
Pamela Stephenson - now Pamela Connolly - first made her name in the UK as a comedian, starring in the sketch programme 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' which was broadcast on the BBC from 1979 to 1982. She went on to become famous in the USA performing in the comedy series 'Saturday Night Live', and in fact was the first person born outside North America to be a member of the programme's cast.
Pamela was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia, where she went to the National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1971. She had a successful acting career in Australia, with various lead roles in the National Theatre and the Sydney Theatre Company, before moving abroad to study theatre in Asia and Europe.
In Autumn 1976 she moved to the UK and continued to act, appearing in various television programmes before making her mark in comedy with her involvement in 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'. She also performed in films and on stage, and developed a solo show which she took on tour in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. She spent a year performing on 'Saturday Night Live', beginning in 1984.
Pamela retired from being an actress and comedian and in 1991 she moved to the USA. Taking up residence in Los Angeles, she began studying psychology and in 1996 she obtained a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She now practises as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist.
This month her latest psychology venture begins: a celebrity interview programme called Shrink Rap in which Pamela has in-depth talks with public figures, endeavouring to get behind the famous personae to the real selves beneath.
What actors and psychotherapists have in common is an interest in what makes people tick. They both must refrain from negatively judging human nature and instead dig deep into the history and motivation of behaviour, character, and relationships.
In general, they try to understand the character as it is now by tracing where it has come from, and then to open up the possibilities for where it is going by generating understanding. In Pamela's chart this activity is part of her Sun-Chiron conjunction in Sagittarius:
NB Pamela's birth time was not available at the time of writing, so her birthchart is shown without house cusps. Please be careful with the Moon's position too - it could be around 5 degrees either side of the position shown.
Sagittarius is a sign of multiple levels: animal, human, and 'divine'. It is the sign of intuition, defined in this context as the ability to sense where something is from and where it is headed. It is about orientation and trajectory, navigation and contextualisation.
Sagittarius is also the sign of the jester, the wildcard character who spins a yarn that tells a truth. It is also the sign of the seeker, the person on a quest. The symbol of Sagittarius is the arrow, fired from the Archer's bow, speeding on its journey to a far-off point. To aim accurately requires good vision and sound judgement, and it's part of the unfoldment of Sagittarius to develop and hone these skills.
Pamela has combined all these themes into her acting, comedy, writing, and psychotherapy. In answer to the question 'how did you change careers from comedy to psychology?' she has said:
"It wasn’t such a switch, really. In comedy one also undertakes an examination of human behaviour, just like in the field of psychology. I simply began to approach it from a different angle."
When Pamela began studying psychology Pluto was squaring her natal Pluto, symbolising a desire to get to the roots of her life and her personality. This is an aspect normally coincident with the 'mid-life crisis', where a total inner and outer change is not only possible, but necessary.
There is usually a sense of urgency and compulsion about it, even obsessiveness, because shedding the old self, like an old skin, is essential if life is to continue to be lived. The old self is too restricting and begins to suffocate the new self waiting to be born, so it must be cast off and a completely new identity helped into existence. Pamela has said:
"They still think I'm a wacky comedian. They have trouble accepting that I've become something entirely different."
Marriage to Billy
Pamela met fellow comedian Billy Connolly on the set of 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' where they filmed a sketch together. They married in Fiji in 1989 and have three children. Pamela has written two books about Billy, the first a 'psycho-social biography' and the second about their life together approaching his sixtieth birthday.
Pamela's Sun-Chiron, symbolising the creative well-spring that can come from the experience of pain and suffering, is on Billy's Moon/Saturn midpoint, symbolising his history and parent-child relationships.
This configuration has found expression here in three ways: first, Pamela's biography of Billy drew links between Billy's childhood difficulties and his subsequent creative success, second, Pamela's creative project focused on Billy's history, and third, it brought light (Sun) to the abuse of children (Sun-Chiron) as well as demonstrated that painful experiences (Chiron) can, with creativity (Sun), be overcome.
The series of 'Shrink Rap' begins on 2nd April 2007 at 11pm. Below is the chart for the programme; much can be said about it but to keep this article focused we will stick to the highlights.
Pluto is currently stationary and will still be so for the time of first broadcast. The adverts for the programme have been shown throughout the last week, during which Pluto has been unmoving (as seen from the Earth, that is). The station of Pluto is a time when Plutonian issues become more intense - Pluto is physically closer to the Earth at such times and so it is easier to have a look at it, literally and symbolically - and the retrograde period which is just beginning is a good time to look back at and revisit the unresolved conflicts that we carry with us which sap our energy. The programme's Scorpio Ascendant reinforces the importance of this.
According to interviews about 'Shrink Rap' the series is Plutonic/Scorpionic on many levels: the interviews took place in a blackened studio, the participants had to wear black or dark clothes, the interviews were uncompromising in confronting painful and normally 'secret' issues such as sex and abuse, and they lasted 2.5hrs with interruptions not allowed, ensuring commitment and no way to detract from the uncomfortable issues arising.
In terms of stars, 'Shrink Rap's chart shows Murzim on the Descendant. Murzim is 'the announcer' and symbolises someone who speaks out. Given that Pamela has said "So many people suffer from abuse, and suffer alone" there could not possibly be a more appropriate significator for the aims of the programme.
For more on the people interviewed in the first five programmes in the series of 'Shrink Rap' click here
Tony Blair, Menzies Campbell, David Cameron, European Union, USA, War on Terror, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more
Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde,
W Edwards Deming, European Central Bank, Anita Roddick, & more
Health, emotional intelligence, zodiac elements, understanding change, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Germaine Greer, & more