The Gift of Reading the Tarot: Be Curious with Clients


Inspired by Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s book The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients, I am looking at each chapter through the perspective of tarot reading…*



Simple words of wisdom from the author, Dr. Irvin Yalom:


“Take advantage of opportunities to learn from [clients]. Make a point of inquiring into the [client’s] view of what is helpful about the [session]… [T]herapists and patients do not often concur in their conclusions about the useful aspects of [the reading session].”** (p. 36)


Well it makes sense that different people will take away different messages and bullet points from a tarot reading than you think they might have. People hear what they want to hear; people see what they want to see; people interpret a turn of phrase from their own relatable experiences and conditioning.


…One way to gauge receptivity of your client is to ask questions. Gee, have I ever mentioned that tactic before? I’m quite certain I have.


Another method to keep your sonic radar pinging is to ask the client what they see in the card images (rather than necessarily telling them, or at least discussing how the traditional interpretation might relate or differ to what the client experiences from the spontaneously viewed image). Granted this edges towards a therapeutic tarot reading style, compared to a psychic- or intuitive-style, but…well, that’s how I fly. It’s also how some of the best tarot masters you probably know are conducting their readings, too.



Optical Illusion Painting by Salvador Dali

I know what I see, but what does my client see?


Not only does asking your client questions give you a sense of their mental receptivity; it also assures your client that you are invested in hearing their details and opinion of their situation. And if it turns out that you seem to be far off-base from where your client’s mind is… “recall that fundamental…principle that all that happens is grist for the mill.” Stick it in your back pocket of teachable moments and stories and let it inform your future understanding of how the human mind works.





Although I am exploring Yalom’s reflections on the profession of Psychology and Psychiatry, I do not claim or pretend to have any training in either of those professional fields. I am simply interpreting Yalom’s reflections and concepts from the perspective of the art of reading the tarot, which although it is a talent for which I have had certified training and for which I have several years of professional experience, is not a clinical or licensed profession or activity. Readers of this blog are reminded that unless you have training and a license in the psycho-therapeutic arts, that you should NEVER be diagnosing or attempting to diagnose a reading client for clinical symptoms. Rather, you should always refer the client to seek professional help if the concern arises that the client’s issues may be related to or appear to be psychosomatic in nature.



**In quotations taken from Dr. Irvin Yalom’s book that are presented here, some terms are exchanged in order to make their pertinence relevant to the art of tarot reading. In particular, “therapist” is often replaced with “tarot reader”; and likewise, “patient” is often replaced with “client” or “querent.”





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Posted in Discovering Meaning in Imagery, Psychology of Tarot, Tarot Business, Tarot Reading and tagged , , , , .

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