Reading Responsibly: Advising Querents who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Who are Struggling through the Mid-life Transition

By Peggy Firth, CTM

As a Tarot reader, you may be the first contact person for someone experiencing difficulties due to aging, disease, or mental illness.  Going beyond our field of interest often leads us into unfamiliar territory that only a professional counselor or physician may be qualified to handle.  However, although it is not our job to tell a querent what to do, or to give medical or psychological advice that we are not certified to offer, we can still do some things to help.  

For instance, querents having trouble with the mid-life transition, and querents with anxiety disorders such as GAD, can best be advised if the Tarot reader understands something of these situations.  The querent can then be gently guided towards good choices, or referred to professional help when it's warranted. 

Our wisdom and the ideas we garner from the cards often point to specific avenues available to the querent, but we must remember to respect universal and karmic law.  Spiritual teachings tell us that each person creates or attracts their own problems.  We may know of ways to fix those problems, but our job is not to interfere with another's life. We may offer suggestions, such as, "Have you considered…?"  We may also refer our clients to further sources of help, and it's a good idea to gather the names of local professionals or organizations that could be useful.  It is important for us to be supportive of our querent's overall well-being, while remembering to not overstep our boundaries.

One such circumstance that requires this delicate handling is when the querent is struggling through a mid-life crisis.  The transition to mid-life is often a time of confusion and uncertainty.  Some people approach mid-life in the way a growing child approaches adolescence.  Although the person may have gathered wisdom, it is also a time of transition, possibly with feelings of dread towards aging and wrestling with deeper questions of life.  It is often a time of finding one's true purpose, and of contemplating life's meaning.  As the reader, you may have the opportunity to offer new choices and move your querent towards a more productive and satisfying life.  It may fall upon you to assist the querent in evaluating, adjusting, reconnecting, and exploring new interests.  Naturally, if you feel that more professional counseling is needed, please suggest it.

Another special case scenario is the client with GAD.  If you encounter a querent with GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, you may find that you are often unsuccessful with your readings.  The mind of the person with generalized anxiety disorder is like a car stuck on idle on too high.  The person's thoughts keep repeating endlessly, depriving them of sleep and peace of mind.  Your querent may want you to tell them only what they want to hear, and may ask for multiple readings over a short period of time.  This exaggerated worry and overreaction to life's issues may interfere with their work, social interactions, and everyday functioning.  GAD is often difficult to diagnose since it lacks the dramatic symptoms of other disorders.  It is so prevalent that physicians often overlook the condition unless it accompanies other mental or physical ailments.  GAD often runs in families, but it can also be a learned behavior.  If you think that your querent exhibits symptoms of GAD, set a limit on the frequency of readings.  You may also suggest that medical and psychological treatment could be successful in reducing the effects of the condition.  

If you feel uncomfortable or unable to read for a client exhibiting any symptoms that may require medical attention or other professional help, don't hesitate to advise, at anytime during or after a reading, that your querent's situation might be resolved with the assistance of a qualified health care practitioner.  Be comforting and helpful, using words that allow your querent the freedom to explore all options towards achieving a healthy life.   

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008 

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