Tarot Therapy Versus Other Therapies
Tarot Therapy is a holistic approach informed by psychology, energy work, and quantum physics to help individuals access their subconscious and heal from trauma.
In many circles, the idea of using Tarot as therapy has received pushback over the years, even though Tarot has been espoused to be a useful therapeutic tool by psychologists such as Carl Jung. Thankfully, this outdated view is changing, and Tarot is rightfully taking its place as a helpful and proven approach to assist people in making positive changes in their lives.
Tarot Therapists Do Not Claim To Be Mental Health Specialists
Much of the confusion around Tarot Therapy is from people who equate "therapy" only with psychologists and psychiatrists.
Therapy is defined as "treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder."
In fact, there are MANY types of therapy, the majority of which are NOT practiced by psychologists. All types of therapy can have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional health.
Some types of therapy include:
- Sound Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Cranial Sacral Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
- Mental Health Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Sleep Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Equine Therapy
- Horticulture Therapy
- Wilderness Therapy
- Chess Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Sand Tray Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Dance Therapy
- Nutrition Therapy
- Water Therapy
- Somatic Therapy
- Drama Therapy
- Journal Therapy
- Psychedelic Therapy
- Martial Arts Therapy
These types of therapy vary widely and help different people with a variety of challenges.
Tarot Therapy Can Be Used With Other Forms Of Therapy
Tarot Therapy can be used in addition to other types of therapy, including talk therapy, CBT, EMDR, DBT, art therapy, or other therapies within the mental health field as well as non-psychology based therapies.
Tarot Therapy enhances self-awareness, increases reflection, and gives individuals space to see their challenges from a different perspective. It can also help remove the person from a situation enough to help them see it more clearly and without judgement, increasing their ability to problem solve and come up with creative solutions.
How Does Tarot Therapy Work?
Tarot Therapy can be used individually for oneself, with a Tarot Therapist, or in a group setting. It focuses on helping a person access the subconscious mind through imagery and story telling to promote awareness, spiritual and personal growth, and a sense of self.
An individual starts Tarot Therapy with an 8-card Life Map Spread. This helps bring awareness to the different parts of one's life, what is working, and what is more challenging. It also helps bring out any hidden challenges that an individual may be trying to hide, gloss over, or ignore.
By talking through the cards using the 5 Minute Tarot Process, a person can start to get a sense of what is really going on as well as the underlying thoughts and feelings that are present in their day to day actions.
It is encouraged that individuals hold their own Tarot Therapy session each week or meet with a Tarot Therapist weekly or every other week. Tarot Therapy Session Notes keep appointments on track, and session notes as well as monthly Life Map Self-Assessments help clients see patterns in their challenges as well as progress.
Tarot Therapy can help relieve a variety of symptoms related to every day stressors as well as those related to depression, anxiety, PTSD, CPTSD, trauma, physical abuse, eating disorders, religious trauma, and more.
Tarot Therapists consult with clients and encourage them to also seek appropriate mental health, medical, and legal help as needed.
Limitations Of Tarot Therapy
Tarot Therapy alone may not be enough for people suffering from severe mental health disorders, active PTSD or CPTSD flashbacks, severe depression, suicidal ideation or threats of suicide or harm to others, or active psychosis or hallucinations such as in the case of schizophrenia.
As in regular mental health therapy, most cases such as these would be referred to the next level of care or even hospitalization. Tarot Therapists should know their limitations and refer clients to appropriate providers as needed. Tarot Therapists do not prescribe medications nor suggest changes in medication, unless they are also a licensed doctor, psychiatrist, or prescriber. Instead, Tarot Therapists encourage clients to see their prescribing psychiatrist or health care provider for any medication changes or needs.
Tarot Therapists do not provide medical care or advice, and do not answer medical-related questions, such as, "Am I pregnant?" or "Will I have a healthy baby?" or "Will my husband survive his cancer diagnosis?" These questions fall squarely into the realm of medical care, and it is illegal to approach these matters without an appropriate medical license.
Tarot Therapists do not focus on predicting the future or try to divine your husband. They do not spy on people who aren't in the room by telling you if someone is cheating on you. Instead, Tarot Therapists focus on giving you the tools you need to create a brighter future on your own terms, to find your own spouse, or to understand your history and patterns of abuse and trauma, such as being abandoned or cheated on in the past. Tarot Therapists support you by helping you identify and work on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs.
Why Tarot Therapy
As a former psychologist who worked in the field for over 13 years, I am appalled at the prevalence of Talk Therapy as the Golden Child and go-to method of most therapy programs. Even therapists who are now trained in CBT, DBT, or EMDR, start with the foundational belief that talk therapy will help someone get trauma "up and out" of their system.
This just isn't true, and it doesn't happen.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that talk therapy can actually make trauma WORSE, and rehashing traumatic events again and again can trigger symptoms, flashbacks, panic attacks, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
CBT has been shown to give mild relief to clients who suffer from PTSD, but is more helpful for singular, acute trauma, not the ongoing trauma and CPTSD that most people suffer from.
DBT is even worse than CBT in clinical trials, and EMDR is ineffective for people who do not want to relive their traumatic events over and over again.
Yet clients are told to rehash the past, and often end up feeling worse - AND like a failure, because therapy didn't work for them.
Why are we doing this to our clients?
I left psychology years ago because the field is full of people who have recognized the ugly truth that talk therapy is NOT the answer. While many psychologists have stayed in the field and developed newer theories and methods that do show some progress (such as Somatic Experiencing, IFS - Internal Family Systems Model, as well as the Flash Technique), the majority of modalities still rely on talking about the worst events of one's life, and talk therapy is still the foundation of schools and teachings.
Instead, I set out to find tools that work better and without retraumatizing the person by reliving the traumatic events that are causing so much pain.
Additions To Tarot Therapy
Each Tarot Therapist brings their own point of view and additional tools to Tarot Therapy. This is based on their interests, fields of expertise, as well as personal beliefs.
Tarot Therapists may also use crystals, energy work, spiritual rituals and practices, journaling, prayer, meditation, yoga, walking, reading, psychedelics, somatic therapies, or a number of other methods to their sessions. We encourage exploring these other options and discussion and debate around them in the Tarot Therapy Alliance.
Results of Tarot Therapy
Tarot Therapy can help individuals understand their subconscious drives, their triggers, emotional flashbacks, overcome symptoms of a variety of challenges, and to heal from trauma. Most individuals can expect a feeling of relief, a decrease in anxiety or symptoms of depression, and an understanding of their Inner World.
They will obtain a variety of tools that can be used to further "know thyself," as well as tools they can use to understand their lives, their relationships, and the World around them. Individuals will have a greater understanding of the Tarot Cards and have the ability to see where they have been as well as how to use the cards to start to create the life they truly want.
About The Author
Amethyst Mahoney, PhD is the founder of Tarot Therapy and Spiritual Badass. She helps people learn to use the cards in a way that accesses the subconscious so that they can overcome trauma. Amethyst is passionate about helping people overcome religious trauma and start their own online businesses. She has a goal of helping at least 1,000 people become Certified Tarot Therapists so that they can help more people all over the World with Tarot Therapy. Amethyst is the author of several books as well as the best-selling yearly Tarot Therapy Planner. You can find her in her forever home near Nashville, TN with her husband Brent and their fur babies.