By Sophie Leveque, Health & Human Services Specialist at the BPL
Therapy Cards are a 2022 addition to our collection. We have two types of therapy card decks created by two different mental health clinicians. We hope you will try using both types of therapy cards because they emphasize different theories of therapy and will help you accomplish different things. Both will guide you through self-reflection in different ways.
My Therapy Cards: Best for making changes in your life. Each card has a task for sustainable change for either: mental blocks, habits, or trigger responses. These cards can be used by anyone, but the creator, Dr. Ebony, designed them for BIPOC patrons especially.
Therapy Toolkit: Best for beginners to therapy and learning mental health vocabulary. Learn about all the feelings and how your childhood affects your adult life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is using therapy cards the same as therapy?
No. However, the clinicians who created these decks felt very strongly that many people cannot access therapy for various reasons. These decks were created to fill the gap and give any individual agency over their mental health journey. Maybe you cannot afford therapy at all. Maybe you are on a waitlist for a provider. Maybe you cannot afford therapy every week. Maybe you cannot find a therapist you connect with no matter how hard you try. These resources are for you. With your library card, for free, you can start learning about yourself and putting language to your experience which is extremely valuable and are themes many people talk about in therapy with a clinician.
What is the goal of these cards?
When we began offering Headspace for library card holders in 2020, we were impressed at how popular the resource was and has continued to be. We all have mental health; it affects our emotions and our physical health. It’s important that we take care of it and the Boston Public Library wants to support just that. Mental health is health, and we all deserve for it to be strong. One way to promote these values is to talk more openly.
How do I use the therapy cards?
There is no right or wrong way to use therapy cards. These cards provide a language to describe our inner world which can be difficult if we have never learned how or are out of practice. The different decks emphasize different types of self-exploration. My Therapy Cards emphasize tasks we can do. My Therapy Toolkit focuses on reflection and learning. You can go through each card one-by-one or just choose one at random. You can use them all or just a few. This is an entirely personal preference.
Do I have to journal to use them?
Many people find journaling with therapy cards helpful, but journaling is not for everyone. Intentionality is what journaling is all about, but you can achieve that goal in other ways. Try reading the prompts aloud. Pause to look up words you don't know. Take a break if you need it. Slow down.
How can I get the most out of using this resource?
We have a couple of ideas! With a Boston Public Library Card, you can access the mindfulness and meditation application Headspace. This resource is a great pairing with therapy cards. Keep an eye out for workshops for the therapy cards too; they happen virtually and in-person at different branches. If you are new to self-reflection, a good place to start with a card is to ask these two questions: Is this something I want to take action on or learn from? Do I want to talk to someone about this? This is your journey; you get to decide.
Is there a virtual version of these cards?
These are physical resources, there is no virtual option. Throughout the year there are virtual workshops on the therapy cards, please keep an eye out on our events page. Among other options, you can filter events using the “Mental Health” or "Health / Fitness" categories. As mentioned above, the Headspace application is only virtual. Headspace has many meditation and mindfulness resources which are complimentary to the therapy cards. We also have booklists on mental health topics in our collection; check out this booklist of eBooks and audiobooks to start with.
How do I check these out?
These function just like a physical book. You can put a hold on them to pick up at your preferred BPL location. The loan period is 3 weeks. If there are no holds behind you, you will be able to renew. If there is a waitlist you will be unable to renew immediately, but you can hop back on the list.
How can I learn more about therapy after I use these cards? Or, I tried these cards and it didn’t work for me, but I’d like to try something else.
If you have tried both decks and you did not like them, we understand that not everyone likes everything in our collection. We are really happy you tried them! Earlier in the FAQ we mentioned booklists; at the Library we have books on every topic imaginable. You can always ask a librarian for more assistance either at your preferred BPL location or online at our Shelf Service. You can also visit our Mental Health page for more booklists and resources. Additionally, consider visiting the National Institute of Mental Health website. Learn more about therapy at this Psychotherapies page from the National Institute of Mental Health.
What happens if some of the cards go missing while I have them?
Please return as much of it as you can. We understand things happen. Other people in the community can still use the decks if cards are missing. Return what you can.
What do the therapy decks look like?
Here is a glimpse of the decks for you!: