Therapy Cards Reading

What is Therapy Cards Reading

Therapy Cards Reading (TCR) is an open-ended method of working with picture cards. It was originally developed by Dr. Ofra Ayalon, head of the Israel-based Nord institute and publishing house, who specializes in post-traumatic therapy. Today it is a powerful tool used by thousands of Israeli therapists, social workers, relationships and career consultants, life coaches and similar practitioners. It has also motivated the creation of many new picture cards decks. Outside Israel, it is relatively unknown.

Therapy cards workshop, Minsk 2014
Ofra Ayalon at a Therapy cards workshop, Minsk 2014

TCR is not limited to a particular deck. It can be used with Tarot cards, oracle cards, or even personal picture sets. It is amazingly efficient in bringing out subconscious contents, expressing hidden desires and strengths, tapping unknown potentials and suggesting creative solutions to specific problems.

Therapy Cards workshop 2006
Ofra Ayalon at the Nord Institute, 2006

The working method of TCR is interpreting a card image as a visual metaphor referring to the person’s life issues. But unlike divination or Tarot reading, an important principle of TCR is that “the one who holds the card holds the message”. There are no fixed interpretations for the cards, no professional “reader” who interprets them for you. Instead, a guide or a partner is there to help you focus on an issue, and explore what the image means for you. You can pick up the card “covered” (face-down) or “revealed” (face-up). In either case, examining the image you will find deeper layers of meaning that you couldn’t see at first sight. These meanings are the keys to your problems and to your resources in tackling them.

Therapy Cards workshop at the Nord institute
Therapy Cards workshop at the Nord institute

TCR can be used in a personal encounter or in a group. It is particularly helpful in situations where Tarot cards may arouse resistance – for example, in professional groups, in organizations and companies, or in any situation in which Tarot cards may be perceived as too mystical or esoteric. “Skeptic” people can understand the process in psychological terms, without committing themselves explicitely to a “magical” view. Thus, TCR‘s potential audience is much wider than the Tarot. In other situations TCR can enhance and enrich the reading of Tarot cards. For example, on several occasions I have found it helpful in “breaking the ice” at the beginning of a Tarot consultation or group session. In this manner, TCR can help bridge the gap between Tarot cards reading and more conventional methods of therapy.

 samples from OH Therapy Cards sets
samples of OH Therapy Cards
more samples  OH Therapy Cards
more samples from different OH cards sets

Web Resources on Therapy Cards

There are currently very few written documents on TCR, most of them in Hebrew. The name “Therapy Cards Reading” is also provisional.

Two papers in English by Dr. Ofra Ayalon:

Other web resources:

  • OH cards – creators and publishers of the card sets used by Ofra Ayalon
  • A video interview (with English subtitles) with a family psychologist using OH-cards in therapy from Dnipropetrovsk State Canal, Ukraine.
  • Itzik’s World of Cards – website of Itzik Shmulevich, a Therapy Card Reading teacher, practitioner and creator with a slightly different approach
  • Points of You – a picture cards deck developed with a coaching perspective (English)
  • A catalogue of various sets of Israeli Therapy Cards, including several focusing on feminine issues. Also many inspired by traditional Jewish and Kabbalistic ideas (Hebrew).
  • There is also a Rabbi’s reply authorizing use of Therapy Cards by religious Jews.
  • Some video clips by independent Therapy card creators, presenting their products (in Hebrew, but you can see the cards):

Michal Viemer, “communication circles cards”

Tal Weiss, “at home in the body” 

Neta Almekayes, various decks