Tarot & Visual Card Imagery:
A Phenomenological Approach for
Addressing Loss & Longing
Earn Credit for 1 Technique Module toward
Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or
Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy
Offered by the Portland Institute.
December 13, 2021
Suzan Lemont, MA
Director of Facilitator Training
Heal Her Project Storytelling Circles
USD$99 for 3-hour module
When someone experiences profound loss, whether it is loss of identity or the death of a significant and loved figure, the imagination can also suffer from a sense of disengagement or numbness. In these cases, the person might have difficulty finding any accessible connection to various external and internal stimuli, inhibiting their ability to experience pleasure, joy, or meaning in their lives. Asking a client to create a piece of expressive artwork from scratch in these situations can exacerbate the feelings of paralysis, frustration, and hopelessness even further as even the inherent human capacity for art-making can become muted or lost within the labyrinth of grief and loss, where no spark can reach without some extra assistance. This can then mute or delay the activation of the capacity for resiliency which needs to be present in the healing process.
This module introduces the Tarot and other visual card systems, as a starting point for re-ignition of the imagination. Through intermodal expressive arts forms, this module provides an introduction to a pathway towards increased capacity for meaning reconstruction and integration after significant or complicated trauma and loss. This is accomplished through a phenomenological lens, which is the direct investigation and description of phenomena as consciously experienced, rather than a traditional divinatory approach to “reading” the cards. An intermodal expressive arts framework, extremely effective in the treatment of traumatic loss, demonstrates the efficacy of tapping into personal, cultural, and universal symbolism and metaphor contained in Tarot imagery and philosophy. Various processes such as Active Imagination, creative writing, Authentic Movement, sounding / voicework, and drawing / painting will provide the components of an integrated approach to facilitate the process of finding the “just right image” or direct channel for coming in touch with whatever phenomena are present by using the principles of ‘intermodal transfer’ from one modality to another as the situation may require.
Tarot and Visual Card Imagery will be a mixture of the didactic, including a brief history of the use of Tarot and the rationale for its use in the Expressive Arts Therapies, and experiential, offering participatory exercises with discussion and reflection, both in pairs and with the group. Case studies and personal experience will acquaint learners with the use of symbols as a springboard into dialoguing with the “messages” encoded in the cards, as they are received by each individual. Current grief and bereavement theory grounded in meaning reconstruction and restorative retelling are woven into the course, to acquaint learners with this medium and its effective use with specific client populations.
Identify at least one way of how the structure of the Tarot and its use of archetypal and metaphorical imagery can act as a catalyst for meaning reconstruction in cases of profound grief and loss;
Describe how to engage in the practice of Active Imagination and Guided Imagery, using imagery provided in the Tarot, in a phenomenological framework in counseling or psychotherapy sessions with adolescents and adults dealing with loss and grief; and
Name at least two methods or exercises for facilitating the intermodal transfer with the goal of increasing effective restorative storytelling capacity, using Tarot or similar visual systems as the locus point.
Note: Attendance of the live training session confers credit of 1 Technique Module required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy.
COURSE PACK PROVIDES
A PDF copy of the presentation slides;
Detailed descriptive document of the process of working with Tarot phenomenologically, including lists of activities geared towards loss and grief work;
Case studies / examples of phenomenological use of Tarot / visual imagery;
Access to a PDF copy of the MA thesis titled, The journey into the mirror: The phenomenological use of Tarot in the expressive therapies; and
List of further resources and recommended reading.
9am-12pm, PST: Portland, OR, which corresponds to 12-3pm in New York, 5-8pm in London, and 6-9pm in Amsterdam.
The Zoom meeting link and the module materials will be emailed to all registrants in due course.
GRIEF TRAINING FACULTY
Suzan Lemont, MA is an expressive arts therapist, educator, advocate, and writer living / working in the Netherlands. Suzan currently functions as the Director of Facilitator Training for the Heal Her Project Storytelling Circles for Survivors of Gender-based / Sexual Violence, and is working on an expansion of her Master’s thesis on Tarot into a full-fledged book for therapists and community arts workers to learn how to integrate Tarot as visual imagery into therapy and community healing sessions. She has a small creative arts studio in Utrecht where she gives intermodal expressive arts training and workshops and a small private practice. She is also a contributor to the Handbook of Expressive Arts Therapies, edited by Cathy Malchiodi, which will be published in early 2022. She presents at online and in-person conferences on topics of trauma, resilience, integrating Tarot into expressive therapy sessions, and integrating intermodal expressive arts work into various settings, such as schools, and community arts organisations.