I’m guessing you clicked on this article because you’re curious. Tarot in therapy?? What?? Some have experiences with Tarot. Whether we know how to read cards, have had our cards read or seen them in pop culture content. Tarot is an increasingly popular way for some to get more deeply connected with themselves, others and the world around them. Of course, like any light side there can be a darker side where people use Tarot as a means of making decisions for them, rather than using them as a supportive friend to think through their troubles or provide insight and spiritual guidance.
I do engage the Tarot in my therapy work, and it’s a little more complicated than what you might expect. I do not use Tarot to tell people what will happen in their lives or as a means of bypassing the deeper, more meaningful work.
I have found the Tarot therapeutic and beneficial in therapy because of the following reasons:
Use of Metaphor
Some of us have a real connection to the use of metaphor. We can think and feel in images. Tarot can be a great way to engage that because each card has metaphor through the images. What I find even more beautiful is how each person sees their own meaning in each card and sometimes that changes each time you see the card. Cool, right?
Bringing Language to Difficult Experiences
EEmotional pain happens in our amygdala, our mid brain, where words and logic don’t operate. This is the space of feeling. When we have difficult experiences or trauma it can be difficult to put words to what we experience. Tarot can provide language, insight and a witness to those experiences through their symbolism and how each person might engage with it.
Tarot reading is a form of divination. Whether that is connecting to God, Spirit, your Higher Self, etc. for greater wisdom and guidance. Bringing a theme to support your spiritual and/or emotional Self can be immensely grounding and feel supportive.
What I perceive as the most beneficial aspect of using Tarot in therapy is to empower clients to find and connect with their own inner guidance and wisdom. The Tarot can be the door that leads one to a greater relationship with yourself, trusting how you feel and creating a strong relationship to your intuition.
While the title of this article is a strong statement, I hope that these ideas have brought a different perspective to you. I do not use Tarot with all of my clients, not everyone heals the same way. What is most important is that the treatment bring healing, build resiliency and support empowerment.
On my Instagram account @kathleendaymft I use both Oracle and Tarot cards weekly as part of a mindfulness exercise. Feel free to follow this account for this content and more.
You may know astrology as an arbitrary grouping of dates with qualities assigned to each “type”. There are people who write “horoscopes” each month for these groups. You may have fun reading these horoscopes, yet read them with some disbelief.
What is astrology anyways?
Astrology is the study of planetary and celestial movements and their influence of humanity and the natural world.
For the purposes of this blog post, the concepts and ideas discussed are very basic. If you would like to read more about any particular topic or have additional questions, please feel free to write me an email.
What are the origins of astrology?
Astrology has two different origins, one in the west (western) and one in southeast Asia (Vedic). Astrology pre-dates modern literacy and therefore it is hard to know any exact dates of its origins. It has evolved over time and has provided different approaches/focuses to examining planets, their positions and what/how this influences people and the natural world.
What if I don’t “believe” in astrology?
Astrology is not a religion. When engaging with astrology, it is not so much that if you are (for example) an Aries sun and Pisces moon, you must live this way or you will always behave a certain way. Astrology provides a language and perspective on engaging with life that can be profoundly validating and healing. Humans are meant to change in their lifetime and astrology can be a means of supporting this evolution.
Okay… so how do you use it in therapy?
First and foremost, if you are not comfortable with us using it in our work – then I will not. Consent is an important aspect in all relationships and just because I find astrology useful, doesn’t mean that I will require it as a part of our work.
If you are interested, we will have a conversation about how you currently feel about it, if you engage with it – how much? It is a dialogue so that we can move forward together.
If we decide to bring it into our work, I will ask you to send me your birth chart between sessions so I have time to look at it before we meet next to identify some stand out aspects (how planets interact with each other) and how this may help us to identify patterns and solutions to challenges you might be facing in your life. In this time, I will simultaneously translate the language and teach it to you over time. I may also bring up how transits (how the planets are moving currently) could be affecting you and which therapeutic and spiritual tools may be helpful for you.
Ultimately, astrology can give language to, validate and understand your trauma, suffering and other life experiences.
If this sounds interesting to you and you would like to learn more about how we might work together, please book a 15 minute complimentary phone consultation. Please see below for additional resources. If you have more questions, send me an email or give me a call.
If you would like to get an in depth oral history of western astrology I highly recommend episode 280 of the Astrology Podcast.
To learn more about Vedic astrology, check out episode 196 of the Astrology Podcast.
For spiritual and self-healing with astrology I recommend ghost of a podcast by Jessica Lanyadoo.
Website to Cast a Chart
You have decided it’s time for you to seek the support of a therapist. You start by a search and you’re inundated with websites and directories. You start reading bios or websites and come across language like ‘modalities” or “treatment approach” and maybe wonder – what does that mean?
Time for a little vocabulary break:
Like most fields, psychotherapy has its own language. Therapists are fluent in it, but most others are not. Here are some tips to help you navigate searching for a therapist:
Gain a general idea of what you need from therapy
Are you experiencing anxiety? Having difficulty with a relationship? Are you experiencing a life transition such as job loss or a break up? Knowing what you’re having a hard time with and how it is effecting you will help you narrow down what you’re looking for.
How do you generally approach problems and does that work for you?
If you’re more of an analytical person and that approach works for you, then you will likely want to seek a therapist who uses behavioral modalities. This is just an example, not every modality or approach will work for every person. If you find your usual approach to problem solving isn’t working, it may be worth seeking a therapist with a different perspective than yourself and giving it a try.
Are there personal qualities about a therapist that would make you feel more comfortable or safe?
I don’t mean – are they an A’s fan or a Giant’s fan. Would you would prefer a therapist with a similar identity as yours? This could include race, gender, age or language.
I hope these quick tips on getting started looking for a therapist have cut through some of the jargon and confusion. At the end of this article are some online directories to help you get started. Best of luck and remember that each step you take towards your wellbeing is to be honored.
Online therapist directories:
Directories for Therapists of Color
Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy are often talked about as separate treatment approaches. But did you know that they are actually complementary?
Historically, hypnosis was used by psychiatrists in treatment. Hypnotherapy and hypnosis have now become part of a new wave of alternative approaches to healing in the last 20-30 years; increasingly popular in the main stream. It is practiced by licensed mental health professionals and non-licensed trained hypnotherapists or hypnotists.
Hypnotherapy can be an adjunctive modality used by therapists like EMDR or Somatic Experiencing. It is a specialty and requires additional training. The practitioner will evaluate the presenting issues and determine if hypnotherapy is indicated in treatment.
So what does that mean for the client?
In any psychotherapy it is always a great idea to ask questions! If you’re curious about hypnotherapy or not sure about what it is really is (check out my blog about common myths about hypnotherapy) – ask and your clinician should thoroughly answer your questions.
If you and your clinician determine that hypnotherapy is a good fit for you, then goals are discussed before beginning the process. Outside of specific goals that are set with your clinician, hypnotherapy can support building resilience, establishing a deeper connection with Self and decreasing the strength of the inner critic.
As a certified clinical hypnotherapist with 350+ hours of training and 3 years in practice, I have found hypnotherapy to greatly benefit the work that clients do in psychotherapy. It offers a strong tool outside of the therapy room and clients report feeling relaxed at the end of session, even when painful emotions have been experienced. Hypnotherapy can empower those who experience it as it provides a means to connect with one’s own inner wisdom and strength.