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Distancing as leverage to change - why it is so important to keep talking through horses

A man who recently started therapy, says he feels “down”, feels like a failure, doesn’t believe he can ever succeed in life. In our session, I lay out the cards and ask him to pick one. The card he picks out shows 2 horses standing in front of each other - each one is standing on 2 feet.

I’m asking him to address the cards and he replies: ”They’re fighting the same way I do.” I’m asking him to explain, trying to get him to elaborate. He says: “I don’t know what I’m fighting about, what I know is that I fight all the time...” again, I’m trying to get him to further explain, who is he fighting with and what about and the conversation hits a wall.

I redirect the conversation to the horses, “let’s look at the horses appearing on the cards, what do you see?, what do you think the story is? what are they fighting about?” He’s looking at the cards in silence for a moment and then says: “I see a struggle of force, struggle of forces, a father and his son. The bigger horse is the father. Actually I’m not sure, maybe he is the son. Anyway, the father is having a hard time seeing his son.” He goes on telling the full story and then after a few moment of silence he continues: ”Now that we are talking about the horses I think maybe I also have an internal struggle of forces, my son recently has been offered a dream job and instead of feeling like I did a good job with him I am busy judging myself. Batteling with questions of self worth”.

I felt like this moment was very powerful and in lighting! The cards helped another patient have a break through.

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