OH Cards for Dramatherapy
I was introduced to OH Cards by my mentor and dear friend Dr. Ofra Ayalon fifteen years ago when I attended a workshop at her OH Associative Cards Centre based in Tivon, Israel.
Since then, the cards have been an important tool in my work. They have enriched and enhanced my therapy and my clinical supervision work.
I am a dramatherapist and clinical supervisor who specializes in dealing with emotions in families, couples, groups, and individuals. I also work as a clinical supervisor for professionals in the caring professions and for dramatherapy students in training.
How OH Cards Help
OH Cards invite clients to create and tell their own untold stories in a safe and distant way. Clients find it easier to talk in a playful manner about characters, scenes, or symbols than to talk about themselves directly.
The distance the cards create facilitates the breakdown of communication barriers and obstacles and also encourages creativity and spontaneity.
OH Cards take us to unknown places, if we’re able to bear the uncertainty of not knowing where the cards or word/picture card combinations will take us. We’re able to discover more about ourselves. We can get in touch with hidden or suppressed emotions as well as with our rich inner resources. We can express, work through, accept, and transform our emotions.
How I Use OH Cards
I use OH Cards in many different ways, and adapt the activities depending on the clients’ needs. OH Cards are an invitation to connect with memories and experiences and to develop stories. Generally, the story created by one member of a group becomes everyone’s story. Everyone resonates with the emotions expressed. The cards become a script or text of a written story, which is followed by an enactment of it. The group brings alive the new story that has been created, encouraging a sense of belonging, community, and healing. I have many methods for using the cards. One is using the MORENÁ and SAGA decks to facilitate the exploration of difficulties and resources that have been dormant in our lives.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. – Seneca”
I begin by referring to the Sleeping Beauty story: “Once upon a time, a princess was born. The fairies invited by the king and queen brought a lot gifts for the baby. One fairy who had not been invited cursed the baby.” I invite clients to think of themselves as a prince or princess. What are the gifts and what is the curse they received, and which of those have they have developed in their life? In this way, clients are able to connect with their own resources, discover many that were sleeping, and awaken with their cards.
You can do this, too. Choose cards that represent your gifts and the curse you have developed. How will your resources/gifts help you work on your curse/difficulties?
More Ways to Use OH Cards
Another way I’ve used OH Cards focuses on the interaction cards that come with the PERSONA deck, which can be used to explore relationships. Here’s an example of this method:
Maria is a new immigrant who came to the UK with her sister in search of a better life. However, she found difficulties in adapting to the new way of life and became dependent on her sister. She was unable to go out on her own.
Using the PERSONA interaction cards, Maria explored the past, present, and future of her relationship with her sister. Maria realized that her relationship with her sister had become like a mother-daughter relationship. What she really wanted was to recuperate her sisterhood of being equals and discussing things sister to sister.
It is vital to open up the possibility of a different future from the present place. The cards allowed Maria to see where she wanted to go.