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A digital card deck for rethinking your relationships

You can now get a personal online card reading from the creator of the deck

About the deck

Simple Truths is a digital deck of cards designed to help you think about your relationships. These can be relationships with people such as a partner, friend, family member or colleague; or they can be relationships with things in your life such as money, health or career.

The deck is made up of two 'suits'. There is a suit of 100 'tangled' cards, and a suit of 100 'untangled' cards. Each card has written on it a simple sentence.

The sentences on the tangled cards are in red. They name a hidden dynamic or underlying issue that might exist in the relationship you are focussing on. For example, 'I am a little bit better than you' or 'I will take your pain for you'.

The sentences on the untangled cards are in green. They suggest a more helpful way of thinking about the relationship. For example, 'I played my part' or 'I will let you see me'.

You are invited to draw up to three tangled red cards and three untangled green cards. The sentences you draw will encourage you to reflect on the relationship and how it could be improved.

How to use the cards

A short video explaining how to use the cards

The story behind the deck

Having been an Oxford fellow in philosophy, Robert Rowland Smith first encountered ‘systemic’ work in 2000. He had been working on a book on Freud, and the systemic approach broadened his thinking. Where Freud analyses the individual in relation to immediate family members, systemic work looks further back into the individual’s ancestry - their family ‘system’.

Such systemic approaches come alive in the practice known as ‘Constellations’ or ‘Systemic Family Constellations’. In it, an individual’s family is set up by means of using unrelated people to act as representatives of that wider system. What results is a living picture of the system’s hidden dynamics.

During the Constellations process, representatives are sometimes asked to voice a simple sentence. The point is to name those hidden dynamics. It is such sentences that form the basis of the red ‘tangled’ cards in our deck, Simple Truths. The green ‘untangled’ cards, by contrast, pick up on the healing sentences used towards the end of a Constellation, when a resolution is in view.

Robert began his own Constellations practice in 2007. He has gone on to run hundreds of Constellations on myriad issues, for clients all over the world.

When in 2022 Robert began working with Miri O’Connor, it became clear that Miri’s background in education and her ability to relate to a less specialist audience, would be invaluable for making systemic work more accessible.

Together, Miri and Robert came up with the idea of a deck of cards that would capture the ‘systemic sentences’ used in Constellations. The deck puts the deep work of looking at relationships directly into the hands of those who wish to untangle hidden issues. Hence, ‘Simple Truths’.

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