Metaphorical maps are psychological pictures that depict people, events, and abstractions, causing each person to have their own associations. Working with metaphorical associative cards refers to projective techniques, because it helps to reveal the individual mental content of the client through the transfer to the cards. In the same pictures, one person who thinks positively and is in a good mood can see a holiday, joy, delight, happiness and other positive contents, while the other, having internal problems, will transfer them to cards and see some kind of tension, resistance, war, anxiety. A person projects his subconscious onto a picture without realizing it - it is this unconsciousness that in reality does not allow solving his problem.
Metaphorical associative cards are good because they are the translator of the unconscious to the level of consciousness. The unconscious operates with images and pictures, but the mind thinks with units of speech - with words, phrases. Unconscious processes are at the same time the largest part of the mental iceberg, only a small part of which remains unresolved, but only explains unconscious impulses.
In the subconscious, as a rule, birth, child injuries hide, which create a prohibition for a person to perform certain actions. A person may want something, but the unconscious, following his goal of preserving life and mental equilibrium, does not allow it, since a certain trauma has occurred here. Even another person could be in danger, which may persist in the subconscious and will prevent the repetition of negative, perhaps, experience. With the help of the same pictures, you can extract what impedes the achievement of goals.
Metaphorical cards - a guide for the psychologist
How do metaphorical associative cards work? A person describes a picture that he pulled out at his request, the barrier is unnoticeably removed. He does not speak about himself, but because he relaxes, working with metaphorical associative cards releases painful blocked experiences that a person cannot raise in the usual way. Through the cards, the pain can be detected, pulled out and worked through until complete healing.
Clients love interaction with metaphorical pictures, because most of the time they need to relax and play, even this has a beneficial effect on their emotional state. If the client does not always take seriously the work with projective cards - with the professional work of a psychologist, a tremendous work can be carried out with deep internal changes that the client cannot ignore.
There are many different configurations, methods of displaying maps and sets. For example, the "Person" deck is used when working with personality aspects and in arrangements. In consultation with her, the psychologist asks the client to find a person that corresponds to the current state, then the desired one, the problem one, or one that no one has seen the client. The client lays out and talks about the cards, then the psychologist offers to move them if there is such a desire. There is also a children's version of the deck - "Personita".
Cards "Oh" contain not only pictures, but also a framework for them with words. First, the frame is laid out, and the picture is placed on it, and the psychologist asks the client the question of what they mean. The client is trying to understand this metaphor. However, there are no strict rules here, if a picture with a word for it does not bind or resonate, the material did not go - you can replace the picture.
There are sets of cards for work specifically with traumatic experiences, for searching for resources, even clean sets when you can draw your own. Many card sets have a digital option that allows you to consult remotely, saving the entire process to the presentation. It can be transferred to the client, he can continue to interact with it, consolidating the results of work.
Metaphorical associative cards even allow you to hold an independent session, and the cards can be used very creatively, moving away from instructions. Expanding and interpreting the maps, a person with the experience of reflection begins to realize his current internal state, experiences, motives and attitudes.
The meaning of metaphorical cards
The law of metaphorical cards - the card itself does not mean anything, on it is what the client sees. Methodically metaphorical maps are associated with the Rorschach test, in which the subject should look at the image in ink stains. Of course, each person begins to talk about himself, seeing what he cares about. Over time, the direction has developed into a whole class of projective techniques that easily bypass the client’s resistance, solve the problem of verbalization of the problem.
Metaphorical cards help to work, when a person doesn’t even find anything to say about his emotions, is out of focus, cannot realize why he is ill. When describing a card behind a card, for example, using a six-card technique, when you need to describe each image in relation to the word laid out to it, the client usually understands the sixth card, what its problem is, what it is worth working on, and what its main theme is. Since the technique is projective, working with metaphorical maps is a big plus - there is no retraumatization. A person always talks about the map as a kind of object that is outside; he does not need to dive into his experiences. Do not confuse metaphorical cards with fortune telling, tarot cards and other esoteric techniques.
Metaphorical cards themselves do not reveal anything besides what is contained in the unconscious of the person himself, and therefore they can help with questions about the search for internal solutions and resources, but cannot answer whether something from the outside will come true without the intervention of the subject and his mental forces. To eliminate the association with tarot cards, some psychologists even began to call metaphorical cards projective cards.
Metaphorical cards are also rarely used for psychodiagnostics due to compliance with the law that the metaphorical card itself has no meaning, except for what the client sees in it.
How to work with metaphorical maps?
In the process of work, the psychologist, as a leader, asks leading questions, the client answers, describes the picture, verbalizing and then realizing his own mental contents transferred to it. For example, a client made a request to find his destination. The psychologist invites him to pronounce his question and draw out one picture from the "Persona" set. The client turns it over and sees a person with ambiguous emotions. The psychologist asks to describe who he sees on the map, to tell what this person is. After that, the psychologist suggests the client to analyze how the description of the person in the picture corresponds to the very personality of the client, what is the similarity.
If he saw something very unpleasant for himself in the picture, causing discomfort - you can immediately work through this problem, find a resource for it. For example, black hair for a client has been associated with a difficult character, then the psychologist suggests him to choose one more card from the next Persona deck to solve this problem, expressing before him a wish to find a resource that can most fully help. For example, it turns out to be a card with a person who covered his face with his hands. The client describes him as playing hide and seek, leading now in the game, he is in a state of concentration, expectations, which we all experienced in childhood.
If this is not enough for the client - he can choose other pictures in the open. For example, for self-confidence, he stops at the image of a person diving against the backdrop of the sun and the beautiful weather. He is focused, his body radiates strength and relaxation, he feels well and enjoys his body. The map can even be placed on top of a previously stretched map, causing discomfort, as if overlapping it.
Having described the resource map, you can postpone it and look again at the first map that caused previously unpleasant associations. The psychologist asks the client to see what has changed on her. Surprisingly, what did not like, as if softened - ugly hair becomes quite attractive, prickly look gets better. The client already reports that the person on the map has confidence, he is going in the right direction.
Often at sessions the picture changes literally before our eyes. If the client’s facial expression is tense, his eyes are sadly closed, then after interacting with the map, adding strength and resources, and other states, the client sees calm, even some kind of joy, relaxation, changes immediately take place for the better. As soon as he starts working with the cards, he seems to give a command to the subconscious that perceives the images of the pictures and returns the answer on a conscious level, as a result of which life changes occur.
Metaphoric Cards Techniques
Metaphorical maps are a good working tool that reveals in depth the easy content of a person’s deeper contents that he couldn’t even tell at once.
The technician of using metaphorical cards is numerous, moreover, one can freely invent new ones, use several decks simultaneously. For example, if a person laid out a card of the current state, and with it a perfect card, you can offer him to find a card and a transition state that will allow to achieve the desired. You can ask questions and get cards at random, you can look at the cards, simply explaining what you see on them. Each metaphorical deck is usually about 90 cards, because the plot lines can be expanded quite a lot. Having extensive experience with different sets of cards, the psychologist can choose the most suitable deck for each client and his problems.
In the classic consulting work, the psychologist usually asks the client leading questions to each card, and the questions must be open and not push the client to the content that the psychologist himself could put on the card. For example, if the map shows a mountain or a volcano, the psychologist only asks what mountain, what volcano, where they are, what is happening there. Listening to the content of the client, in the end, the psychologist will find out from the client, maybe he has something else about it.
There are also technology, mainly based on the game. For example, in the "Obstacles and Opportunities" technique, the psychologist acts as a moderator and asks the players to select 5 cards blindly, without even asking any questions before, without formulating requests. The game is associative, because there is no gain, except, of course, the psychological benefits of the findings. The psychologist asks the first player to look at the cards without showing them to others, and choose one, on which obstacle is depicted, difficulty. For example, he chooses and puts out a card with a house, informing him that he is falling apart. The task of the second player is to find among his cards and lay out the one that represents the opportunity to solve the problem. The first player who presented the problem listens and accepts the proposed solution. If it turned out to be, as he considered, unsuitable or insufficient, reports this, the second player again offers a card of opportunity. After the decision is made, the players change places.
After the game, the psychologist suggests the players to analyze whether the game intersects with life, whether the participants have discovered any personal problems, as well as solutions for them. Explanation to other participants, because it is not necessary for him to be detailed, it is enough to understand the situation for yourself, having voiced a little. However, often before the participants understand what caused their choice of cards.
The next technique is called "Place and time of my dreams." The client is offered to choose one card turned upside down, before that you can also not formulate a request. Looking at her, he should think about what country it is, what time, whether it is ours, the past. Than he may need to stay in this time. The client can imagine himself in it, as if entering the world depicted on the card, and walking in it, seeing, even mentally taking a gift to himself or to a loved one. The psychologist asks again leading questions, asks that the client found useful information for himself in this time, which resource could replenish.
The “Breaking the Deadlock” technique is suitable for finding a way out of difficult situations and analyzing recurring problems that the client cannot solve. To determine the current situation of a deadlock in front of a client, several cards are laid out open, it is proposed to choose one that best describes the current state of affairs. It is necessary to choose with feelings, the card which attracts the most attention. Having chosen, the psychologist specifies that the client is hooked on this card, where the gaze lasts all the time. Turning his attention to this detail, the client should observe what emotions he has. Perhaps on the map he will also find what he does not like, causes rejection, unwillingness to look at this element of the map. Next, the psychologist asks to talk about the situation depicted on the card, and the hero of her plot.
The next layout in this technique is the image of various doors as ways out of the situation. The client needs to select one and describe what is behind the door, whether it can help break the deadlock, whether it is difficult to get into it or easy, whether it is open or closed to it. Then, perhaps, the client will be able to imagine what is behind the door, describing his feelings. If for the client this door is not an exit, then the psychologist specifies where it can lead.
Then follows the alignment of cards on the issue that prevents to get out of the impasse. Here, the client can choose up to three cards, those that describe fears and blocks. The psychologist clarifies what the client himself means in each chosen card, which may scare the client or impede the search for an exit, asks to tell the story of each card, about the characters depicted on it, in order to maximally reveal what blocks the client, does not allow him to leave situations. Often, the client’s secondary benefits are also found on the cards, the psychologist asks him to think about what benefits he gets from what remains in this impasse, what fear may protect him, what more terrible things can happen in life if he decides to change. Aware of their fears, blocks and secondary benefits, the client can move on and has a chance to overcome the impasse.
The last deal is resource. Again there are several cards in front of the client so that it can help break the deadlock, make changes. The psychologist asks him to choose those that are for the client support and a resource on which he can rely, and having chosen, describe each. The client tells what is most interesting, positive for him on the card, which attracts attention, causes a surge of energy, gives strength. The psychologist proposes to consider which of the resources shown by the client already have, and which can be attracted, to think about how the resource can be used, what can be done in the near future. The more the client answers the questions describing the map, the more meaningful he will get the result, the more interesting discoveries he will get about his deadlock, why he is in it, why he needs a dead end. This can be a point from which the client can even turn his worldview.
With the help of associative metaphorical cards, you can work with the Shadow. The psychologist then asks the client to create a mental intention, and then from the deck of cards with persons to choose himself, how the client now sees and accepts himself, then his opposite. The gender and age of the person depicted on the card does not matter, only his emotions are important. If a client finds it difficult to choose only one card for each of the incarnations, he can choose two or even several.
Describing the first hypostasis, the client tells what he sees on the card, what feelings and emotions are present on it. If the person depicted on it, according to the client, looks at someone, the psychologist asks to choose from the deck of the person he is looking at, what can be done in the closed room, and then describe it. Next, the psychologist translates the client to the description of the map of the opposite. Then he asks if the cards are correctly located on the table in front of him, or the client wants to change their positions. Most often, the client moves back the map of the opposite, symbolizing his Shadow.
The psychologist asks the client to analyze the interaction of antipode cards, asking if one card sees the other. Если да, то, как изображенные на них личности относятся друг к другу, нужна ли карта противоположности главной карте, может ли главная карта за что-то поблагодарить свою противоположность, что негативного привносит карта противоположности в жизнь главной карты, если ее хочется отодвинуть.
Если карты не видят друг друга, то, что необходимо изменить в раскладе, чтобы они увиделись. Когда клиент изменяет положение карточек, психолог узнает, что изменилось у главной карты. When a client talks about the negative qualities of the antipode, the psychologist listens, then offers to transform these qualities, replacing them with positive synonyms, and summarizes, saying what positive grain was found, how the main card can integrate these qualities, how it will change, whether it can thank the opposite and what feelings after gratitude it experiences.
After the work done, it will be great if the client, on behalf of the main card, speaks thanks to the antipode card for the transferred resource. Perhaps after that, the client will again want to change the location of the cards on the table or even replace some card with another from the deck.
This technique allows you to work out the shadow qualities of the individual, as a result, the client can integrate, accept his shadow side. The psychologist asks what the client feels in connection with the work done, how his feelings have changed after reconciliation with his previously ousted part.