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
· 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
· to plan the ways for
correction (of character manifestations or goal).
Equipment: deck of metaphoric associative (projective) cards
“BE, DO, HAVE”
Duration: 30 minutes.
range of application: after 16 years.
Introduction. “BE, DO, HAVE” deck of metaphoric associative (projective) cards is displayed on a table: half of cards images up, second half words up.
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.
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.
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.
development of reflection in relation to “self-image”,
improvement of communication and interaction skills.
· to realize own values, specific features, traits of
· to be attentive to partners in exercise, to understand
· 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.
range of application: from 6 to 12
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.
“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.
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.
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?”
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.
– 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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
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
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
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”.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.