Therapist’s guide

As a therapist or facilitator, you might find it helpful to read the text on the back of each card and become familiar with the themes highlighted. This will enable you to select specific cards which best reflect the issues your client or group is working on. You may also want to mix and match cards from different sets.

Guide to using the cards

Before introducing the cards in therapy sessions, it can be useful to use them for your own reflective exploration. This will give you a ‘hands on’ experience of freely associating with both the art image on the front and the text on the reverse. You may want to develop your own set of questions to go with specific cards if you’ve a particular client or group in mind.
The themes highlighted in the cards can be explored by asking questions such as, ‘When might someone feel this way as a child? A teenager? As an adult? At home? With friends?’, and so on. Such discussion could lead onto more personal exploration such as, ‘Can you give an example of feeling this way when you were a child? What about more recently – have you felt this way at home or with friends?’ and so on.
The role of memory and narrative – that is, the stories both families and individuals create about themselves and others – can be thought about. Common ideas about memories can be challenged: memories are not ‘facts’ or ‘the truth’ and may need to be adapted in light of new understanding.
Building the capacity for mentalisation is facilitated by thinking about how we imagine others might feel and how this can affect us. Talking about art images with this in mind can be useful.
‘Self-talk’ (also called ‘inner voice’ or ‘internal scripts’) can be discussed when thinking about themes included in the cards, especially those related to identity.
Binary thinking (right/ wrong; good/bad) can be addressed and the capacity to see things from different perspectives, or with greater complexity, can be developed.