How else can I solve this problem? A tarot spread
Two for one: A tarot technique

What is working well? Appreciative inquiry

ID 918404
© Steven Dern | Dreamstime.comIn tarot, as in life, when we think about solving a problem, we usually think of what we do not want, or what is negative, painful, or needs to be fixed. Even the word “problem” is problematic: it immediately focuses on what is wrong.

What will happen if we focus on the positive instead?

[A modified version of this article was first published in SynTAROTis.]

Suppose, instead of asking …

  • What do we want to avoid?
  • What do we want to leave behind?
  • How can we eliminate this?
  • What needs to be fixed?
  • How do we fix it?
  • What do we want to improve?
  • What went wrong?
  • What must be removed?

… try

  • What is going well, and how to get more of it?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What is working, and how can we improve it?
  • Where do we want to be, and how do we get there?
  • What can we add?

Of course what is wrong should be fixed, and the negative should be avoided. But if we ask different, positive questions—appreciative inquiry—we might gain a different perspective.

Appreciative Inquiry as a technique was formulated in the mid-1980s by David Cooperrider at Case Western Reserve University. He suggested that rather than focusing on the pain, we look towards increasing the pleasure. The technique is also an effective way to identify opportunities and strengths for improvement.

Appreciative Inquiry involves four Ds: Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver. First we define the problem, then we decide where we want to go, how we can get there, and how to do it.

Let’s use these elements in a Tarot spread:

Spread 6-card appreciative inquiryPrologue:

1. What is going on?
2. What can be improved?

Second row:

3. Discover: What is working well?
4. Dream: Where do we want to be?
5. Design: What do we need to get there?
6. Deliver: What is the next step?

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