The Scaling Question: A Tarot Technique for Finding Solutions
What is a Scaling Question?
One of my favorite techniques to use as psychotherapist is called the Scaling Question. It gives you a quick, easy and accurate picture of where your client is and where they want to go. The technique comes from a school of therapy called Solution Focused Therapy, which is…get this…focused on finding solutions to client problems. Solution Focused therapists don’t go digging around in the past and uncovering wounds from the deep recess of people’s minds; they are looking to the future. This is a great technique for helping people arrive at solutions to their problems using actionable, incremental steps of their own design. The Scaling Question works how you think it works. You define the parameters and have the client indicate where they are on the scale. For example, if your client is struggling with substance abuse. It would go something like this…
Therapist: Let’s say we have a scale and 1 is using daily and heavily without any desire to stop and 10 is total abstinence, never even thinking about using. Where are you on that scale?
Client: I’m at 3.
Therapist: Imagine what a 4 would be like and tell me what we would have to do to move you up to a 4.
Let me go off topic for a second. For the record, I completely disagree with the way substance abuse issues are handled in America. I am in recovery and I support harm reduction and feel total abstinence is not the only solution, nor is it feasible or reasonable for all people but that’s a totally different blogpost. Now back to tarot
How We Can Adapt the Idea of Scaling to Our Tarot Practice
First, determine the issue and define what the best and worst case scenarios. The scenarios will be the first and last positions of the spread, representing the beginning and end points of our scale. I would choose a five point scale for a quick read, ten for something more in depth. The first two cards will be intentionally picked from the deck, if reading for a client have the client look through the deck and choose the cards. These two cards are the first and last positions on the scale. Shuffle and draw enough cards to fill the remaining positions in between. These cards will outline the steps that are needed to incrementally help solve the problem and reach the last card, the best possible outcome.
Some Tips and Variations
If reading for a client, assist in interpreting the cards, but I encourage you to allow the client to input their own interpretations as well and make it a collaborative effort. This will lend them a sense of agency and empowerment in solving their problem. A variation would be to allow the client to consciously choose all of the cards in the spread. You could also use this spread in phases. For example, complete the spread and when you have accomplished that goal take the last card of the previous spread and use it as the first card of the subsequent spread and so on.
I hope that you find using the Scaling Question, whether in tarot spread form or in its original form to be a useful tool to help you and your client solve problems quickly and effectively. If you try the spread or come up with a variation please let me know. I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org