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Creative Therapy: Mind Reading Magic Trick
Using Magic Tricks in Therapy


For this trick you will need: A deck of regular cards

Summary:  This trick will be used as an analogy for how a therapist (or anyone for that matter) cannot actually read people's minds.  You will show your client this trick, and apparently "read" his or her mind.  After you have impressed them with your trick, this will be the perfect segway to discuss how therapists cannot actually read their client's minds, it was just a trick.  This is a helpful way to talk about the importance of letting others know how you feel, because if we don't tell someone, how can they know!

Shuffle the deck of cards in front of your client and allow him or her to inspect them.  This will show that you are indeed using a regular deck of cards.  After you have the cards back in your hand continue to shuffle them.  As discreetly as possible, at the end of your shuffling, take a look at the bottom card (let's pretend it is the 2 of clubs). 

Now spread the cards (face down) in your hand and ask your client to pick one of them.  After he or she removes it from the deck, square up the rest of the cards in your hand.  Split the deck into two halves (the half in your left hand should have the 2 of clubs at the bottom of it).  Place the other half on the table (the one without the 2 of clubs on the bottom).  Ask your client to memorize his or her card and place it on top of the deck. 

Place the remaining cards on top of the deck (this puts the 2 of clubs on top of the card your client chose). 

Now you will shuffle the cards in a way that will still keep the 2 of clubs right next to the card your client chose.  This can be done by taking cards off of the top and putting them at the bottom, groups at a time (practice this, it works).

At this point you can end the trick or continue to make the trick more impressive, if you choose to end the trick, place the stack of cards face down in front of you.  Turn over the top card one at a time.  When you turn over the 2 of clubs, say "The next card will be your card".  Taa-dum!!!

If you wish to continue this trick, instead of putting the deck down in front of you, take a look at the cards.  I usually say something like "now the cards will talk to me".  Once you spot the 2 of clubs, the card directly in front of it is the client's chosen card.  Place this card on the bottom of the deck.  Begin dealing cards from the top and make 3 rows of 3 cards each.  When you deal the very last card, deal it from the bottom of the deck (the client's chosen card) and remember where it is.

Now you are going to do something referred to as a "force".  You are going to force your client to pick his or her chosen card.  For this demonstration, let us assume the chosen card is in the middle of the second row.

"I want you to pick a row- 1,2 or 3"

If the client picks row 1 or 3, simply remove that row.  If the client picks row 2, remove rows 1 and 3.  Get it?

Once you are left with one row, ask your client to pick a card- 1, 2 or 3.  (where 2 is the chosen card).

If the client picks 2, simply turn over the card and state "there is your card!".  If the client picks 1 or 3, remove that card and continue asking until the client either picks his or her card, or you run out of cards to remove. 

It will appear that you magically knew where the chosen card was!!!!!

Application:  After performing this trick, we talk about how it appeared that I "read" his or her mind.  We talk about how I didn't really read their mind, it was just a magic trick.  This leads into a discussion of how I as their therapist cannot read their mind as well.  We talk about how when we feel sad inside, we need to tell others how we feel, or else they won't know that something is bothering us!  We also talk about how this applies to moms and dads, caretakers, teachers, etc.

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