Here are a few of the most common ways people use them. You can also check out the hashtag #teaandempathy on Instagram to see how people are bringing the cards into their lives.
Think about an experience about which you’re currently having feelings.
Go through the deck card-by-card and lay out the cards that match what you’re feeling.
You can make a grouping of “things I’m feeling” and another of “things I want to feel.” Move the cards around and organize them however makes sense to you.
This might be part of your reflective self-care practice, a journaling prompt, or a way to unpack your feels after a challenging day. Some people use this a tool to help enable decision-making when they feel stuck. Others like it because it helps them get some words to describe how they feel before having a difficult conversation with a loved one.
One person is the sharer and one is the listener.
The sharer describes an experience about which they’re currently having feelings.
The sharer goes through the deck card-by-card as they would in the Solo Style. They move and organize the cards as they see fit.
After the sharer lays out all the resonant cards, the listener asks why those particular cards came up.
The listener actively listens to the sharer’s responses without giving any unsolicited advice or other anti-empathy strategies.
"My friends and I regularly do this process together so we can check in about how we're feeling about life. It's been a fantastically helpful tool for connecting and communicating about the stuff that can be difficult to articulate." - Kate
For this activity, the T&E cards should be divided into challenging feelings and enjoyable feelings. Take a couple of minutes to sort the cards before starting.
Get a volunteer to be the first sharer. Everyone else is a guesser for the first round (they get to be sharers later).
The sharer has one minute to share an experience about which they’re having feelings.
When you’re a guesser, just fully listen.
Round 1: Have one guesser divide the “challenging” feelings cards evenly among the guessers. Each guesser goes through their stack of cards and picks four cards they think describe how the sharer is feeling.
Each guesser takes turns using a card to guess what the sharer was feeling or is feeling in the situation they described.
The sharer will say “yes” or “no” (or some variation) and lay the cards that elicited yeses out in front of them.
After the guessing is done, the sharer takes a minute to observe all the feelings laid out.
Round 2: The same sharer puts their cards from Round 1 off to the side, and then Round 2 begins. The deck of enjoyable feelings is divided among the guessers.
The guessers now take turns asking how the sharer wanted to feel in their situation.
Each guesser chooses four cards that reflect how they think the sharer wanted to feel in the sharer’s situation.
Each guesser takes turns going around like in Round 1, holding out cards and making guesses. The sharer says “yes” or “no” accordingly.
The next sharer takes their turn, and the steps are repeated until everyone gets a chance to be the sharer.