Can Tarot Cards Improve Mental Health?

By Beth Leipholtz 01/03/19

One expert says tarot card reading for mental health can be helpful in ways similar to meditation.

woman reading tarot cards for mental health

Sometimes tools for managing mental health can be found in unlikely places — such as tarot cards.

According to Teen Vogue, some individuals are finding comfort and meaning in the cards, which contain pictures, words and symbols. Social work graduate student Jessica Dore is one such person. Each morning, Dore shares a card on her Twitter feed and discusses the implications and interpretations it may have in regards to topics like relationships, boundaries and guilt.

“The work that I do is really focused on trying to help people figure out what it is that they want, what is important to them, what are their values, and then also what is getting in the way of them moving in that direction,” Dore tells Teen Vogue. “There's all these different ways of helping people see that for themselves through the tarot cards.”

Over past centuries, Teen Vogue reports, the way people utilize and read tarot cards has evolved. Some think they are a tool for divination, while others feel they can be used for understanding one’s world and circumstances. 

Dr. Rachel O'Neill, a therapist with online therapy website Talkspace, says tarot card reading for mental health can be helpful in ways similar to meditation, such as being mindful and taking in the present moment.

“I think that there is so much space within tarot to find meaningful strategies that go beyond the card reading,” she says. “For example, looking at the card and just taking in what you are seeing, and even using it to practice acceptance without judgement. Be objective, instead of saying what does this mean, is this a bad card or a good card, just kind of accept the card and ask how is this personally meaningful to me?”

For Lisa Nwankwo, working the cards into her morning routine has helped her learn to reshape her thinking.

“To start the day I’ll pull a card to see how my day is going to go,” she tells Teen Vogue. “I use it for guidance. Based on the cards that come up, it might be something that is ‘negative’ like The Tower. Instead of thinking, OK, today is going to be a bad day, it just reframes how I am going to approach this day. It gives you a different perspective.”

Nwankwo adds that interpreting tarot cards can aid in self-confidence and ownership over circumstances. 

“My advice is to really use tarot as a way of inquiry and not confirmation,” she says. “Ask a question like, where should I focus my energy for the day? Honestly the best ways to make an internal change towards your health and wellness is to feel like it is coming from you, with tarot you can have ownership over that because you are guiding yourself.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.