Creative Therapy – Working with cards by Karen Stallard
Karen Stallard, Integrative Arts Psychotherapist and creator of 20 Dreams says a little bit about the creation of this versatile new card game and how it can be used in the therapeutic setting.
20 Dreams is a story telling card game which promotes creativity and the development of emotional language. It has taken over a year to develop and I really wanted to create something which was both fun and had the potential to help people explore their own creativity, imagination and broaden their emotional vocabulary. Little did I know that I was creating a game that would be so appropriate for 2020! This year has brought extreme stress and anxiety to people across the globe and now we all need tools to help us better articulate our internal emotional worlds to those closest to us.
20 Dreams is a card game, where a player uses three picture cards as inspiration to tell a weird and wonderful dream story with an emotion attached to it, whilst the other players work out the emotion.
I wanted to create a game which highlights the importance of taking notice of emotional states so you gain points if others work out your emotion but lose points if you don’t work out another players emotion correctly!
My hope is that by just playing 20 dreams people might learn the art of listening and expressing emotional content not just for their dreams but also for their life experiences as well.
In the pack there are 60 picture cards and 7 sets of 20 emotion cards, and as I was thinking about how the game might be used in other ways I realised that these colourful cards are a fantastic tool kit for the creative therapist.
The picture cards can be used instead of objects in the sand tray (great if you cannot carry all your objects with you, but also easier to reduce the risk of spreading unwanted viruses!)
The emotion cards are great to help a client begin to develop language around their feeling states. For those of you familiar with Polyvagal theory then these cards can also be used to help visually map the different ways clients experience their nervous systems response to stress.
I expect you can think of many other interventions where these cards could come in useful.
Finally just to say I really enjoyed designing these cards and using my own creativity. It stretched and challenged me in ways I have never experienced before. I hope that the game will be used, played and enjoyed for many years to come by as many people as possible. Let me encourage you all to be brave with your creativity, it can feel quite exposing to take risks but allowing the richness of the imagination to be in charge really helps us become more self aware and open minded. This is what we need in these strange and difficult times.
Thanks for letting me tell you about my project! You can find out more by visiting