Tarot has often gotten a bad rap, primarily because of unscrupulous "fortune-tellers" who promise to disclose winning lottery numbers, a soulmate's address (and time of meeting) or break a "curse"--all with a card reading.
Personally, I use Tarot as a brainstorming tool, as well as a visual map for affirmations, setting intentions and determining where I'm at in life.
It can help me clarify my values, encapsulate my feelings and re-orient myself to a more balanced place.
This Tarot "world view" has informed all of my Tarot books, as well as the two decks I've co-created with my artist husband, Ron.
My approach to Tarot has always favored using them consciously. That is, working with the cards--face up--to create vision boards, inspire creativity, suggest (or cement) affirmations, capture feelings, facilitate conversations (like with our son on the Autism spectrum) or provide options I may not have considered.
This is one way Tarot Life Coaching differs from Tarot Reading. With Tarot Readings, a person shuffles the deck, asks a question and then chooses random cards (face down) to provide an answer. Most people who read like this are fortunetellers who are trying to guess what the cards are saying and determine what the future holds.
When Carl Jung discussed Tarot, he noted that the cards speak in symbols and archetypes, which often lie in our unconscious (as well as the Collective Unconscious). Although he sought to accelerate individuation through divination (usually the random selection of cards), he eventually gave up on the idea (either because of lack of funding, the challenges of peer review for such experiments--or both).
We can absolutely use the universal symbols found in Tarot to individuate--especially when we focus on the present moment, and use the cards consciously.
Even Alexander Jodorowsky said of the cards:
You must not talk about the future. The future is a con. The tarot is a language that talks about the present. If you use it to see the future, you become a conman.
However, we can use the cards, consciously, to help calibrate our soul's GPS--determining where we're at in life, then uncovering ways to adapt to where we are or setting intentions (and designing a plan) to move to higher ground (or deeper soil).
Besides the present-moment focus, another difference between Tarot Coaching and Tarot Reading is that Tarot Coaches often have specialized training and certifications in Life Coaching, REBT, CBT, Art Therapy, Goal Setting, Forgiveness, Emotional Intelligence and other modalities. (See my post What Is a Life Coach?).
Although Life Coaching in general may use methods like REBT, CBT and Positive Psychology, it is NOT therapy. That is, unless a Life Coach has specific psychological training and credentials, they do not get "down and dirty" with past trauma and wounds in the attempt to heal. Rather, coaches bring attention to the present moment and help clients get from point A to point B--usually with some goal in mind.
That goal can be promoting a specific emotional state, reducing stress, neutralizing disempowering thoughts, increasing creativity, becoming organized and so on--but it actively engages the client to work with the coach to achieve results.
In other words, Life Coaching is not a spectator sport!