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Tarot & Visual Card Imagery: A Phenomenological Approach for Loss

Tarot & Visual Card Imagery: A Phenomenological Approach for Loss

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Buy $99

Earn 1 Credit for Technique Module toward
Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy
Offered by the Portland Institute.

Presented by

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:  Completion of this module and return of the Responsive Journal satisfies 1 Technique Module required for Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy.


This program contains the following video segments:

  1. Checking In:  Tarot as a Phenomenological Portal (43 mins)
  2. On Metaphors and Meanings:  Sparking the Active Imagination (45 mins)

  3. The Response to Brokenness:  A Visual Quest for New Orientation (40 mins)

  4. Tarot and Transformation:  A Discussion of Principles and Practices (42 mins)


  • 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;

  • Examples of phenomenological use of Tarot / visual imagery; and

  • The Responsive Journal that, upon completion and return, confers 1 credit of Technique Module leading to Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy.


Guest Presenter

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 early in 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 organizations.

Suzan Lemont, MA

Photo - Suzan Lemont.jpg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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