From my perspective as a holistic nurse with an education in nursing, art, psychology and transpersonal studies, I suggest the beginning Tarot Counselor have the following education.
Starting with mainstream psychology and progress to transpersonal psychology. You may or may not want to get a mainstream counseling degree. I didn’t get one because I wanted to work in health psychology and there still isn’t a good mainstream track for that and so I custom designed my education to suit my bliss.
From my perspective, you are dealing with human conditions and need undergraduate classes in psychology (at least). Basic psychology 101 is an overview of psychology and will broaden your mental horizon. For instance, you will learn what the four tracks of psychology are about. They are behavioral, cognitive, humanistic and transpersonal. Then take a class/s in abnormal psychology. This is a real eye opener class. It has so much information that sometimes it is given in two classes. This will take you a long way in knowing how mainstream views dysfunction and how to see from this perspective. After that you might want to read books by Dr. Arnold Mindell. He sees the same things but frames the dysfunctions as “extreme states”. So one can get two perspectives on “dysfunction” to carry with you to your sessions. It will also serve you well to be able to recognize delusion and psychosis and choose not to work with people who display these symptoms. If you really like psychology classes, personality theory is good too.
If you can find a class on Jungian psychology (he coined the term transpersonal) that will serve you too. If you can’t find one, get a book about him. He wasn’t a good writer and his writing is hard to read. One about his methods are better. This will give you a holistic overview of psychology. Although he didn’t work with Tarot cards, he was familiar with the symbols of transformation, which is basically what you are dealing with as a tarotist.
I do interactive Tarot counseling using a projective technique. To do this type of counseling, you need to study dream interpretation on an ongoing basis. When you shuffle and layout the cards you are basically getting a dream in the form of Tarot images. Also, as you become familiar with your own symbolism, you can discuss it, as appropriate, with the client. For example, “If this was my dream symbol (or Tarot card symbol) it would mean……” Sometimes this works to jostle an insight loose for the client. I might do this after their interpretation. Or I may just offer the traditional meaning of the card.
Take a look at my personal website under biography to see how I undertook my preparation as an alternative counselor www.tonigilbert.com . Be well, Toni