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My Personality Traits And My Purpose – Technique Of Work With “BE DO HAVE” Deck


Objective: change of developed views on achievement of defined purpose(goal), revaluation of qualities of own character in relation to achievement of this purpose, change of behavior strategy to achieve the goal.


·   to visualize an important goal

·   to realize the traits of character perceived as positive

·   to realize the traits of character perceived as negative

·   to come to a conclusion which of the traits of character help and which hinder the achievement of a specific goal

·   to plan the ways for correction (of character manifestations or goal).

Equipment: deck of metaphoric associative (projective) cards “BE, DO, HAVE”

Duration: 30 minutes.

Age range of application: after 16 years.

Work algorithm.

Introduction. “BE, DO, HAVE” deck of metaphoric associative (projective) cards is displayed on a table: half of cards images up, second half words up.

Main part.

1.  Think of some important purpose(goal) relevant for you at present. Choose a card with image to symbolize your purpose and put it before yourself.

2.  Then think of your most striking traits of character. Choose five cards with inscriptions of your character features that you like: we will call them the positive traits. If you did not find any feature of own character among the inscriptions on cards, choose a card with image that reflects the necessary trait.

3.  Now choose five cards with images that symbolize five traits of character that you do not like in yourself: we will call them the negative traits of character.

4.  Put the cards with positive traits of character on one side of your goal image, and the cards with negative traits on another. Take a good look what has turned-out. Assess, what of your personality traits laid before you help, and what – prevent you from achievement of the goal. You may expect a surprise. At this stage it can be that chosen purpose does not correspond to your personality, is not so important to fight for it and sacrifice for possible opening for its achievement as you are naturally averse of it.

5.  Time to make changes to your picture of interactions of character and purpose, as those traits of character not helpful to achieve the goal dictate you a certain behavior. What behavior would be effective instead? Find a card with a suitable inscription and cover with it the card hindering achievement of your purpose. Do so with each card preventing the goal achievement. When all cards of obstacles are covered, examine what turned-out attentively. If still necessary to add any card, do so. Memorize the resulting picture and store it in own inner world any convenient way. Then put all cards in a box.

Conclusions. The traits of character that we love in ourselves are not always helpful to achieve goals, and the traits of character that we reject are not always the ones that prevent us from achievement. This technique helps to be determine what actively or passively prevents us from reaching a certain goal important for us and to plan ways for change of own behavior or manifestations of character preventing its achievement. If such change is unacceptable, to answer the question why it is not possible to achieve the goal, and to reconsider it, perhaps.

© Eva Morozovsky

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“I, Us, You, Them” Technique – group work with children

image description

Objective: development of reflection in relation to “self-image”, improvement of communication and interaction skills.


·           to realize own values, specific features, traits of character, motives

·           to be attentive to partners in exercise, to understand their self-presentation

·           to learn to build relationship and to interact with partners basing on common goals and values

·           to expand level of interactions from a dyad to small group (of four)

·           to manage to assert oneself and, at the same time, to treat with care and respect the manifested “self-images” of others.

Equipment: deck of metaphoric associative (projective) cards “Once Upon a Time” or/and “Hedgehog’s Tales”.

Duration: 30 minutes.

Age range of application: from 6 to 12 years.

Work algorithm.

Introduction. It is carried out in a group form. At first, the leader displays cards from “Hedgehog’s Tales” deck image up and suggests each participant to choose one card to represent oneself. If someone from participants wants to take two cards representing different part of their character, it is allowed to use two, but none more.


The leader says: “Now we will play the fairy tale characters. Choose a card with drawing of some character similar to you.” 5 minutes are allotted for choice of cards by entire group. Excess cards are put away in a box.

1.         Leader: “Now unite in pairs with a one beside you. In a pair, in turns, tell each other about yourself and those of your traits reflected by character chosen by you. It can be appearance, character, habits, hobbies, sympathies or antipathies, dreams. While you are listeners, be attentive, do not interrupt, neither criticize, nor argue about the features of a drawn character or partner  speaking. When everyone tells about oneself and own character, each pair thinks out what can their characters do together and what can they accomplish together regardless whether fantastic or real. You have 10 minutes for that.”

2.         Now, the leader asks each pair to unite with another pair to form fours. Each pair presents for the second time their characters and joint tasks, tells a story of their interaction. Then they are to create a joint task for all four characters and a story about its accomplishment.

3.         At the end of this work, group sits down in a circle and discusses the issues of what is “I, we, they” like? And who are “us” and “them”? Which of the characters was closest to you? With whom of the characters was it difficult for you to find common language? What was in the way? What helped? What can all of us together do well not in fantasy but in real life?”

Conclusions. This technique allows to realize a number of traits of own identity important in interaction with people around, to develop skills of constructive self-expression; also: attention, acceptance and respect for others; helps to learn to find strengths to interact and work in common in constructive manner. Key elements are self-knowledge and confidence, tolerance to others, constructive interaction with people around.

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Ladder Of Emotions Technique

Objective: development of emotional intelligence: consciousness, self-control, empathy, ability of understanding, discrimination, expression and conscious regulation of emotions.


·   to realize what of adverse emotional states is typical for you

·   to realize that emotions are controllable

·   to want to learn to regulate own emotional states

·   to realize the number of intermediate emotions between undesirable and desirable emotional states

·   to learn to pass quickly on the “ladder of emotions” from lower to top step.

Equipment: decks of metaphoric associative (projective) cards “Facebook” and/or “Family Album”.

Duration: 60 minutes.

Age range of application: development of emotional self-control is especially relevant for 12-16 year-olds, but this technique also yields good results at adults.

Work algorithm.

Introduction. Cards from portrait decks “Facebook” and “Family album” are displayed on a table. It is possible to manage with one of these decks, but it is better to have both. Psychologist should consider whether the client was tested for personality traits accentuation. If an accentuation is known, at initial stage, psychologist should have a talk with client, to softly draw attention to the adverse emotional states most characteristic for carriers of this accentuation of personality and connected with risk of unsuccessful personal development.


1.  The leader speaks to client: “Think of what emotional state arises rather often and causes you trouble, badly influences you; the state disturbing you in everyday life, which influence you would like to reduce. Choose a card of person enduring this emotional state. How have you learned that this person feels the same feeling?”

2.  The leader reports that this technique is not aimed for client to cease to experience this emotion at all, but instead, when situational triggers habitually start negative emotion, to immediately realize it and to quickly thread through the steps of emotional ladder from negative to desirable emotion.

3.  Now ask to select one more card: representing a person experiencing that emotion that client would like to experience instead of the chosen undesirable emotion. The leader watches that choice of replacement emotion was realistic e.g. “Berserker rage” can not be replaced with “serene happiness”, or “painful jealousy” can’t be substituted with “generous readiness to share”: in both cases more appropriate feelings will be tranquility, acceptance, or confidence. Then ask to comment on the second card: “How have you learned about the feelings this person has?” Pay attention to the mimic manifestations of emotion of interest.

4.  Ecology – a recognition stage. To suggest the client to look at a picture with face of human experiencing negative emotion, and to find positive traits in this emotion. To speak about something good for us in every state, how it protects us somehow, and that in a certain life situation that you don’t know yet can happen it can be appropriate and constructive. Therefore, our purpose is not to forget about this feeling forever but just not to get stuck in it when it does not do well to us and our relations with others.

5.  Ask client to choose intuitively from three to six cards forming “an emotional ladder” from the lower step (an undesirable emotional state we are working with), to the top (desirable emotional state). After the cards intuitively chosen and spread out one after another, we ask the client to try to answer what intermediate emotions are. For example, a chain from an undesirable state “rage” to a desirable “interest” can appear as: rage – indignation – disturbance – surprise – interest.

6.  Ask client to pass each step of an emotional ladder, feeling state after state. In case if, during the previous stage, client did not realize emotional content of faces on ladder steps, they will feel these emotions now and will be able to call them. Welcome the client to top step of ladder, a desirable emotional state. We repeat this stage two more times. “Ladder” is mastered, now the way how emotions quickly replace each other is familiar and already almost habitual to client, with a desirable state as an outcome. Each next passage of the steps of the ladder of emotions turns out quicker.

7.  Photograph the resulting cards on client’s mobile phone. Task the client to return to photo of emotional ladder once a day for three weeks.

Conclusions. Emotional states are, to a large extent, under control of a person. To learn to influence in due time own emotions, to stop destructive trends and to encourage constructive ones is an important task. It is necessary to study it since teen age. This technique visualizes the complex process of understanding and management of emotions as a number of simple steps manageable both by adult and teenager. Regular practice of this technique helps person to overcome habitual stereotypes of emergence of negative reactions in response to certain external factors.

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Associative Cards as an Instrument of Work Family Relations (case)

As a well-known phrase from “Let’s Live till Monday” movie says: “Happiness is when others understand you”. There are many commenters on it, both in support and in denial. To briefly summarize the opinion of masses on happiness and understanding, then understanding is a necessary precondition for happiness, but is not sufficient for it; still, it is impossible without understanding. Understanding is especially relevant as a basis of family happiness (both between spouses, and between parents and children). Often, understanding is connected with support: spouses and parents often refuse support to each other and to children if value system, purposes and behavior of second party is unclear. Though it is quite possible to support a family member even in case of their purposes, values and behavior unclear to you; to support just from domesticity, respect and love in everything important for this person. Even if to us it is neither clear what is it nor why does it matter to this person, to accept a close one as is in full, and to help them to carry out what is important for them.

In the 70s-80s of the last century, psychologists created a special tool to help solving the problems of mutual understanding and acceptance: Metaphoric associative cards (also known in different countries as projective or psychotherapeutic cards).

Metaphoric associative deck is a set of pictures the size of playing card or a postcard representing people, their interactions, life situations, landscapes, animals, household items, and abstract pictures. Some sets of cards combine a picture with an inscription, others include separately the cards with pictures and cards with words. The combination of words and pictures creates a play of meanings further enriched with new facets when placing it into this or that context; studying of one or other subject relevant for person at the moment.

Initially, it is a projective psychological technique: what matters is not the sense put initially by researchers, but a sincere response of each person to the picture at hand. In the same picture, different people will see entirely different phenomena, and will take out own internal content of relevant experiences in response to such an incentive.

Moreover, during the different periods of life and in context of different subjects, association andinterpretation of events on a picture will differ every time even at the same person. From this point of view, a deck of associative cards is inexhaustible: an infinite number of combinations of work subjects with pictures.

For work with a family system, the portrait decks, e.g. “Family album” and “Facebook”, are usually used. Each of these decks is a set of faces of people of any age, from babies to very old men. You will find any looks in a deck: both barefaced happiness, and grief, and fear, and tension, and mistrust, and fatigue, and contact search, and hope, and light joy. By the means of these portraits, we can examine any relationship choosing cards as placeholders for participants of a relationship. When a client of psychologist chooses any card to present oneself or other participant of the examined relationship, the psychologist then asks of what similarity was this choice based on. Was it facial expression? The message broadcast to the world? External similarity, clothes style, accessories or attributes? At the initial stage of work with associative cards, you will be surprised how often people choose a person of opposite sex, of an absolutely improper age, sometimes other skin color to represent them… While, to an observer, it would not be possible to understand in any way what this choice is based on. In such a case, it is appropriate to demonstrate curiosity and to learn what features of the chosen person are of importance for the client, and what does the person want to tell us about oneself by choosing this card.

How do metaphoric cards serve mutual understanding between people? First of all, the cards help to build the bridge from person to person in cases when it is difficult for people to talk with each other on some sensitive issue. Cards help to express thoughts, to formulate them and to concretize the necessary message. Besides the simplification of verbal expression of emotions, a card, as an intermediary between the emotional worlds of two people, itself carries a certain emotional charge and can be apprehended as the message even without verbal expression. Sometimes, it is possible to just show the interlocutor three portraits and tell: “I feel like on the first card, and want to feel like on the second, but I lack for this purpose what is on the third card” – and the interlocutor will understand situation without a word. Thus, besides the use of metaphoric associative cards “Family Album” and ““Facebook” as psychotherapeutic tool in professional psychological practice, we can use them in our family and personal relationships for communication with family members and close people on sharp, probably painful, deeply personal subjects. Mediation of a card creates the atmosphere of additional safety and benevolent attention, and facilitates discussion of risky and complex subjects in families. Metaphoric associative cards develop ability to communicate with others, to understand them, to find in each person their positive traits and thing in common to unite you with others.

How do the associative cards help us to accept each other…? Through the transfer of own psychological phenomena on the same card. Through the assignment of own meanings to looks and features of the represented person. In case of non-portrait cards (with landscapes or abstract pictures), by creation of the common contextual space; common in two senses: common “virtual reality” and, as one of the parts of this common reality, of common language.

In the directions to a deck of metaphoric associative cards “BE, DO, HAVE” the following mode of work with a relationship is given: choose a relationship that you would like to understand (with a partner, spouse, friend, child, parent, colleague, chief, etc.) Pull out five cards blindly:

1. What does not work in the relationship?

2. What do I bring in the relationship?

3. What does the second party bring in relationship?

4. What works in the relationship?

5. What has to happen to improve the relationship?

In case of work with a deck where each card has both an inscription and a picture, a person is free to choose what to be associated with: with a picture or its part, with a particular element, with a situation, with a time of day or year, with a color or certain form at the picture or with the words only; and what to refuse as insignificant at this moment. One of my clients, while sorting own relationship with mother and suffering from misunderstanding from mother, has drawn such cards:

What does not work in a relationship? – “to possess control”. What do I bring in a relationship? – “to risk”. What does my partner bring in a relationship? – “to keep traditions”. What works in a relationship? – “to possess respect”. What has to happen to improve relationship? – “to forgive”.

She has interpreted the cards she got as follows: “In a relationship with mother, maternal aspiration to control life of an adult daughter and to choose for her the best (from point of view of mother’s) job does not work. In turn, the daughter tries to control a part of her mother’s time demanding care for her own children/mother’s grandchildren; to control her mother’s affairs and priorities. It does not work for both.

What does the client bring in the relationship? She told: “The fact that I am at a psychologist discussing the relationship with mother is risky itself. I am sure it would not be pleasant to her if she learns that I discuss our relationship with somebody else. She is a secretive person, and also demands from me “to wash dirty linen at home”, to add to the question of control again.

What does the mother bring in relationship? Mother is very traditional, she, on one hand, very well copes with that “everything was as it is necessary”, “as it is necessary” and “as at people”, on other hand, she demands same from me. Sometimes she helps me, for example, makes a dinner for my family because it is a tradition to have home cuisine, a family dinner.

What works in a relationship? Despite the lack of mutual understanding, we respect each other for success and professional solvency.

And what is the answer how to improve a relationship? Forgiveness is a universal answer. As client explains: I need to forgive mother for fact that I do not have from her. To accept her imperfection and fact that she does not answer my expectations. To try to give, without expecting gratitude, and to rejoice to all the good that exists between us.

The given example of work demonstrates us two main ideas of working with metaphoric associative cards: they have no pre-assigned meanings, and self-interpretation of pulled-out card by client without assistance of psychologist. Psychologist only asks clarifying questions. As a result of interpretation and speaking through the meanings of cards found by client, psychologist draws a conclusion about perception by client of one’s situation, and client oneself finds the answers to questions of concern and draws a conclusion where to move further.

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What are metaphorical associative cards?

Metaphoric associative (or projective) cards are a set of pictures about playing or a postcard size representing people, their interactions, life situations, landscapes, animals, household items, abstract pictures. Some sets of cards combine a picture with an inscription, others include separately the cards with pictures and cards with words. The combination of words and pictures creates a play of meanings further enriched with new facets when placing it into this or that context; studying of one or other subject relevant for person at the moment.

It is a projective psychological technique: what matters is not the sense put initially by researchers, but a sincere response of each person to the picture at hand. In the same picture, different people will see entirely different phenomena, and will take out own internal content of relevant experiences in response to such an incentive.

How do Metaphoric cards serve mutual understanding between people? First of all, cards help to build bridge from person to person in cases when it is difficult for people to talk with each other on some sensitive issue. Metaphoric associative cards help to express thoughts, to formulate them and to concretize the necessary message. Besides the simplification of verbal expression of emotions, a card itself carries certain emotional charge as an intermediary between emotional worlds of two people, and can be apprehended as a message even without verbal support.

Metaphoric associative cards are a tool of professional psychologist, psychotherapist and coach used in diagnostics, correction and development of abilities. They are a tool of business coach and leader of psychological groups used for “warming up” of a group, establishment of trusting relationship between the group members for diagnostics of relevant needs of a group, and as a technique for group work.

And at same time, Metaphoric associative cards are a game you can play safely and with full pleasure with own and other people’s children, parents, spouses, colleagues, friends, acquaintances and new people: a game without rules, but with the thousand ways to play it, and an opportunity to think up one thousand first!

When used in the work of professional psychologists, psychotherapists, coaches, and trainers, Metaphoric associative cards have following advantages:

  • Associative cards are international and can be used in any cultures, for any age;
  • Via working with associative cards, we bypass the rational part of thinking;
  • Metaphoric cards help us to establish dialogue between internal and external, to bring deep material to a surface;
  • Metaphoric cards are a springboard for our imagination starting fancy associations leading us to unexpected discoveries;
  • Associative cards help to remove protective barriers of mentality;
  • Metaphoric cards create for the people conditions for self-knowledge;
  • Associative cards create a safe and comfortable situation for self-disclosure in a pair or group, help “to come out from own shell” and “to break ice” in a disturbing situation;
  • Metaphoric associative cards can be used as representatives for Hellinger constellations during the therapist-client work in private.
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How to interpret the meaning of the card?

How should you consider a card? First, you should examine the image. Ask yourself about the larger image that is formed by this visible fragment. Try to imagine and think of something that is beyond the sight of the card, what is happening in this situation, what kind of story is in the background. Pay attention to the questions raised by this image. Once your imagination to processes the image well, read the words written on card back. Try to feel your first internal response to these words. Try to keep the image that occurred to your head when reading these words. Compare your mental image with one represented by the card. Try to associate the words and the image represented by the card. Already association itself becomes your unique association.

How should you associate a card with your inner world? Your association may be a direct one, for example, the “render and accept help” card recollects cooperativeness and thoughts about self rendering and accepting some help. The association may be a backward one. The “Have Good Health” card may cast such vision like “I am healthy” for some persons and “I am unhealthy (sick)” for others. One person says that discipline helps him in his life and the other says that he cannot imagine himself being disciplined when they draw one and the same “Be Disciplined” card. “It has nothing to do with me” response also demonstrates connection with your own experience.

Sometimes image and words mean different things for you when you draw a card. Then it is up to you to decide about the way you make your association – relative to the image or verbally expressed notion. You may ignore wrong association and keep your mind on things that affect you, for example, choose a card relative only to image when ignoring the words, or vice versa, choose the notion when ignoring the image that is insignificant at the moment.

Some cards of “Hedgehog’s Tales” deck
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What is the peculiarity of metaphorical associative cards games?

The feature of this games is that they are interesting, informative, and useful. They may be used for self-coaching, individual and group coaching, psychotherapy, training, and psychological counseling. These games may be used in a pair for sincere, sound, open and linking communion of, creating a feeling of true intimacy other than for the purposes of coaching, personal and general development, decision-making, goal-setting and planning. Ultimately, they may be used for entertainment by any friendly team as any other game.

Unlike other known card games, associative cards suppose neither winners nor losers, neither competition as such nor need to suppress true feelings and current state of affairs. The purpose of the game is to understand yourself and others better, clarify own perception, reach a higher level of awareness, acceptance and responsibility. It features no specified values and an interpretation of cards like it occurs relative to a Tarot deck; only subjective associative array of a player really matters. Different people may find completely different clues judging upon the same card and have different impressions of images. Moreover, one and the same person at different periods of his life and in different situations considers the same card differently, and his associative insight will be unique every time.

Some cards of “Once Upon a Time” deck