Persons, landscapes, abstract compositions. These drawings and photographs excite curiosity and are becoming increasingly popular. What are they for, who uses them and can they be played?
“It’s hard for me to open up to people,” admits Yevgenia, 29, who admits. – I came to the psychologist, but could not bring myself to speak. Then he laid out a stack of cards with landscapes and offered to consider them. Some I liked, I put them aside. The psychologist asked why I chose these. Gradually, I started talking … "These cards are special, not playing and not fortunate.
“They are called metaphorical or associative,” explains Yekaterina Mukhamatulina, a psychologist and director of the Genesis publishing house, “because the images presented on them become a visible metaphor of our values, fears, desires, or are associated associatively with our inner experience. Another name is therapeutic cards, because they are used in their work by psychologists. ”
In the photo – evening deserted street, illuminated by rare lanterns. "This is an image of loneliness," says 32-year-old Anna, "and so I wander through life alone, without companions, and it is already beginning to get dark, and that scares me." The 45-year-old Ivan perceives the same image in a completely different way: “The working day is ending, and you can finally relax, walk around the city, and no one will twitch me,” he explains.
Metaphorical maps are not a psychological test, although the mechanism of psychological projection is also involved in working with them, as in many tests. What is the difference?
“In the test, a set of all possible results was laid even before we started its implementation,” explains the creator of several decks of metaphorical cards, psychologist Galina Kats. – After passing the test, we end up with a ready conclusion about our character, abilities or condition, it already depends on the purpose of testing. With cards everything is different. The choice of one or another card in itself says nothing. There are no ready-made results, there is a process: we suppose, we introduce clarifications, we reflect and gradually delve into the meaning. ”
This way can be done independently or together with a psychologist, whose task in this case is to move with us, without looking ahead.
Almost everyone who has come to a psychologist for the first time is uneasy in varying degrees. It is not easy to immediately trust another person, besides, while unfamiliar. It is not easy to talk about problems that frighten or cause a sense of shame. It is much easier to start with a discussion of the picture, because then you can spend some time in the shade. To speak not about oneself, but about the image and to control the measure of one’s frankness. This is especially valuable for those who find it difficult to be in the spotlight.
“Many are preparing for an unpleasant or difficult conversation with a psychologist, and looking at pictures is a simple activity in which no one can fail, so the tension quickly subsides,” remarks Galina Katz.
Cards can be used at any time when the client is anxious and there is a need to help him feel safe.
Find a way to important topics.
Few know in advance what result they would like to come to during psychotherapy. Some leads to the office a vague feeling of dissatisfaction. What is the reason for it, where did it come from and what exactly would you like to change in life – these questions can be the beginning of psychotherapeutic work. Taking a deck at that moment, you can pick up the symbolic images “as it is now” and “how I want it to be” by making them visible.
“We live in a visually-oriented culture,” psychologist Galina Katz stresses, “therefore, visual images are more easily perceived and serve as a starting point for conversation. If we listened to music more, we could probably turn to melodies. But we are accustomed to watch. Therefore, we offer pictures that evoke the imagination. "
Metaphorical cards help not only at the beginning of psychological work. They allow you to touch on the taboo or difficult to discuss topics such as violence or incest.
“It is easier for many customers to show the corresponding card than to call with words what happened to them,” remarks Galina Katz.
For example, a client cannot say out loud: “Father beat me,” but she chooses a card with a picture of a waving hand. Then, with the help of a psychologist, he finds the strength to describe everything that happened. Thus, thanks to metaphorical maps, the prohibition on utterance is lifted, and feelings finally find their expression.
For different purposes
Some like cards with specific images (house, apple), others find it more convenient to work with abstract images. Preferences depend on the habits of thinking and perception. Psychologists often offer the client several sets to choose from. For example, a deck of two parts: the larger cards depict different bodies, male and female, in home or official clothes or naked, and on cards of smaller sizes … heads are placed. You can choose a body and attach different heads to it. Or vice versa.
It turns out strange, sometimes fantastic combinations – on a woman’s body, dressed in a dressing gown, curly head of a Negro. These hybrid creatures make sense in the context of the client’s psychological life. "The head can symbolize the mind or conscience, – explains Galina Katz, – and the body – the desire, physical life."
There are other sets of cards, such as a deck, suitable for talking about childhood. On one card, the child holds both parents’ hands, and the other looks out from under the cover of a large chest. These decks are suitable for work with adults and children. Special for children created a deck with large, bright and more simple drawings. They help children learn social skills: being friendly; to ask questions; ask the other to stop if he does something unpleasant.
There is a "Cope-deck" ("cope" in English, "overcoming"), created to work with injuries. It is divided into two parts: half of the cards depict traumatic situations, such as physical injury. The second half shows different resources to overcome: support for friends, creativity. With their help, you can talk about how we usually cope with difficult situations, and find new, not yet involved, opportunities.
How to choose
If we select metaphorical cards for ourselves, for reflection, meditation or discussion with friends, the choice depends on the goal and on our taste. Here, everything matters – and themes (for example, the “Windows and doors” set is suitable for thinking about how to interact with the outside world, and “Paths-roads” – for understanding life paths), and the color scheme, and even matte cards or glossy.
“Many see the gloss as something more joyful and optimistic,” Ekaterina Muhamatulin notes, “but there are also those for whom he symbolizes detachment, it’s like someone’s life.” Now in the publishing house "Genesis" you can buy some sets in two versions, matte and glossy. However, professionals prefer matte, they are more suitable for psychological work. "
And if we are going to turn to a psychologist? “In this case, you need to choose not the cards, but the specialist who works with them,” emphasizes Galina Katz. “Cards themselves are only an auxiliary tool, they are not a method of psychotherapy, but only its tool.” At the same time, they are universal, they are used by psychologists who practice a variety of approaches, from Jungian to cognitive.
With these cards you can play. Here are just no losers, everyone will win.
Consider for example the game "To your misfortune." Players take an equal number of cards from the deck, usually 5–7. The first one chooses one of them and quickly comes up with a story “by the picture”, addressing it to another player and starting with the words “to your misfortune”.
For example, a card with a dragon can serve as the basis for such an embryo: "To your misfortune, a terrible dragon is chasing you, he wants to eat you."
The task of another player is to “cover” the presented card of one of his own, accompanying her with a happy ending, which will begin with the words “to my happiness”.
For example, the "dragon" covers the "lake": "To my happiness, I can swim, but the dragon does not know how. I dive into the lake and find myself safe. ”
The next move can develop this plot or start a new one. Other players can help the "attacker" or "lucky" – there is room for imagination.
“Such a game stimulates ingenuity, trains the skill to quickly find a way out of the situation,” explains Galina Katz, “and also allows expressing aggression in a playful, non-playful form. In “your misfortune” it is good to play in the family or with colleagues, because in every group there is almost always hidden aggression ”. And the game helps to relieve the tension arising from this.
Detailed information on the metaphorical maps can be found on the websites of the publishing house "Genesis" and the psychological center "Creative World".
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