Why I no longer rephrase my Clients’ Questions

Why I no longer rephrase my clients' questionsAs a professional Tarot Reader I have been asked hundreds of questions, such as “Is my husband cheating on me?”, “Will I ever find love again?“, “Am I pregnant?”, “When will I get a new job?“, “Does he love me?“, ” and so forth…

At first glance it’s easy to roll your eyes at some of the questions, but I have learned over the years to take these questions seriously and treat them with respect; after all they reflect my client’s deepest concern/worry/fear/mystery, and it is the main purpose of my work to offer the best and clearest answer I can possibly give.

When I started learning Tarot many years ago, I was taught to ask the “right” questions, and there is no doubt that they do invite insightful and enlightening readings in return.

However, I cannot assume that my clients have had a crash course in Tarot and question phrasing before they contact me for a reading.

Now it no longer feels right for me to make changes to questions, dilute them, make them fit or even make them more vague for the following reasons:

  • Rephrasing a question is judgemental. It implies the client is judged as being stupid, silly, careless, dim, ridiculous…etc. Surely he/she could have thought of a more “empowering” or “intelligent” question to ask? Tut tuut…
  • Rephrasing a question is condescending and suggests a hint of arrogance. Tarot Readers are NOT superior to their clients, and they shouldn’t give that impression by lecturing them about better choice of words.
  • Rephrasing a question is rude. Bear in mind that some clients will feel offended. Do your best to avoid that.
  • Rephrasing a question can knock a client’s confidence. They have taken the courage to ask you something that plays on their mind, troubles them, and all they get in return is some “friendly advice” on how to ask the right question. Ouch.

Can you remember your school days, when your teacher said “Don’t be afraid to ask. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s a stupid question. Just ask.” You were encouraged to open up without worrying about being ridiculed, and this is my philosophy when it comes to Tarot questions my clients ask me.

But…

what if you feel uncomfortable answering certain questions?

It’s perfectly okay to say no, and I’m perfectly fine with admitting that my abilities are limited: I’m not a qualified doctor, lawyer or financial adviser, and I cannot connect with dead people.

If I feel uncomfortable with a question, I am honest and let the client know I cannot answer it. It’s the extreme ones like “pregnancy”, which I have to decline, but thankfully they come up very rarely.

My experience over the years has also taught me that many questions I would have dismissed immediately in the past were actually quite interesting on second glance and lent themselves to deeper exploration, just like the famous “Will I ever find love again?

It is always worthwhile giving any question careful consideration and regard it as an inspirational challenge to answer it with humility, grace and integrity for the highest good of the person, who is asking. So much better than slapping the client in the face with a rephrase.

Warmest Wishes,

Christiane

 

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6 thoughts on “Why I no longer rephrase my Clients’ Questions”

  1. I found this a really interesting post, Christiane. I have often rephrased questions in the past, with better or worse results, or simply a lack of feedback. You have helped me compeletely rethink that. I agree that it could feel very insulting to the client to have their heartfelt question seemingly ignored. If it is a face to face reading situation, or even a phone call, I would still perhaps suggest ways we could make their question more effective. And for email readings, if I can get a response, I may try. However, I will no longer rephrase a question without the querent’s input. That may mean I’ll take less readings, still I found your arguments very persuasive!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Chloe. Not rephrasing a question doesn’t mean that you have to answer it. For example, a closed question asking for a yes/no answer can still generate an empowering reading. If someone wants to know, if their lover will come back to them, then I won’t answer with just yes or no (as we know, the cards don’t often give definite answers anyway ;)), but in addition the cards may reveal why it won’t be such a good idea, if he did come back, or what the client can do to make it happen.

      I was once asked about the outcome of a legal case, and I had to decline. Yes, in this situation I lose business, but a rephrase would have been much worse, because I wouldn’t have given the client what they wanted/needed, and legal/medical questions are too serious to play with (i.e. rephrase ;)).

      Yes, I also used to rephrase questions in the past, but over the years I felt it necessary to reclaim the Tarot from becoming a mere counselling tool; after all, there is Magick in Tarot and the messages it reveals, and that’s why clients come to us with questions, a counsellor wouldn’t dare to answer 😉

      For me today it’s straight forward: I answer the question as it is, or I have to decline (happens rarely), because it’s simply not in my power or ability to answer.

      Glad I made you think about it, Chloe 😉

  2. Hi Christiane, I totally agree. Although generally speaking, using open questions tend to prompt deeper insight from a reading, re-wording a question can sometimes result in a reading the client feels is irrelevant. For example “Will I ever find love?” is often rephrased as something along the lines of “How can I attract love into my life!” By re-wording the question we are assuming the client wants to explore ways in which she can attract love which may not be the case at this moment in time. It goes against alot of what I was taught – but in this case would always explore the original question on an agreed timeline say 3-6 months before suggesting another angle.

    1. Hi Sally, good to hear from you! You’ve raised a valid point about how rephrasing can lead to irrelevant readings; sometimes clients just don’t want to be “empowered”; and we need to respect that. It’s fine to offer additional insight, but the original question must be answered too, otherwise we start to resemble politicians, who never give clear and honest answers either ;). Thank you for your comment. Hope to see you soon 😉

  3. Very thought provoking, and I certainly wouldn’t ever want to make a client feel silly or as if their question wasn’t important. However, I haven’t found a productive way to give a straight answer to a simple yes or no question, since honestly I can’t help but think it’s 50/50 with or without the tarot involved, which makes it feel sort of irrelevant. How do you address the yes or no questions without a rephrase?

    1. Hi Shelley, and thanks for posting such an interesting comment and question.

      I understand your thoughts about 50/50 answers being irrelevant, but you need to consider that when you think this way, you are already making judgement. In a reading, you need to let go completely of your personal opinion, be detached yet be empathic.

      I address a yes/no question simply by reading the cards, which always contain more information than just a one-word answer. Depending on the size of the reading (from a one-card draw to a Celtic Cross) there is so much more to see and explain, but I will always keep the client’s question in mind, when I start to interpret the spread.

      It is also often necessary to say that I see more than just a yes or no; for example, the Knight Of Wands may suggest someone is coming back into their lives, but that Knight won’t necessarily stay for long; he’s on the move, not grounded, fickle, a bit selfish immature and volatile despite his passion. So, in this case the Knight of Wands may suggest a relationship to be re-started but that’s unlikely to be a happy-ever-after 😉

      I let the client discover in a reading, that the cards reveal more than just a yes/no, but I don’t have to tell them that at the beginning. I give them more than they originally asked for, and during the reading we are working towards the answer they need to help them move forward.

      So when I get asked “Will he come back to me?” or “Will I ever get a job?” My answer is “Let’s see what the cards are revealing today.” 😉

      Thank you again for stopping by, Shelley. I look forward to catching up with you again soon 😉

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