To Rephrase or not to Rephrase:  That is the question!

By Hope, CTC

When I first started reading Tarot, I thought it was a simple three-step process: someone asks a question, cards are pulled, the question is answered. Boom. Done! 

With further education, I learned that I was very wrong. Clients must be coached on how to word their questions. They can’t use words such as should, would, could, why, who, or when. They can’t ask about other people, and they can’t ask what is happening in the future. Indeed, there are scores of web pages dedicated to training new readers what types of questions to avoid and how to best coach clients to rephrase their questions.  

Call me a lemming, I went along. 

So, I went along with this trend. I reworded, changed, and coached, and it didn’t sit well. I had followed the leader, and I felt like I was falling off a cliff. I decided to give this whole issue another think over. 

I thought about my personal ethics, and where I draw the line. I thought about the feelings of the client who was in essence being told that their question was wrong somehow…gads, this is not the way to build a client list, nor was it a way to treat a person who may already be in distress. 

Call me a rebel, I go my own way.

Ok, I’m not a rebel, but it sounded good. What did I do? What I always do. I asked around. Although I had never had a bad experience with tampering with client’s questions, apparently some of my peers were not as fortunate. One peer was actually told by a client that he didn’t want to hear all the psychobabble BS, he just wanted an answer to his gosh darn question. (I edited that for appropriateness…) So, I simmered. I do that a lot, too, and it occurred to me that people want what they want; they ask a question because they want an answer.  Unskilled rewording can lead to answering questions that were not asked.

So, what direction did I go in?

Sideways, of course. I’m a crab, or rather a Cancer. I skirt the issue. My job as a reader is to interpret the cards, not formulate the client’s questions. Should, would, could, why, who, or when are tricky questions, I agree, but I don’t have to announce this to the client. When I do e-mail readings, I don’t restate the question, I simply state that I shuffled while thinking about the question. For live readings or chat readings, I state that I want to explore the situation. Sometimes I answer as asked; sometimes I sidle around the issue. I ask questions of my own, like, “What do you want to do?”  I say things like, “Let’s look at both sides of this issue.”  This allows me to be more interactive with the client and involves the client more in the reading process. I come across as caring and interested, which I am, rather than as superior and all knowing, which I am not! With enough information, the client is able to discover the answer to their question on their own, which is empowering.  

Power to the Crab!

This circuitous route is true to my crabby nature! I can avoid the boiling pot of reading traps, I can avoid being high and dry by rephrasing the client’s question, and I can avoid offending my client. This looks good from all angles to me!

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

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