The local therapist finds a new approach to helping people

Cognitive behavioral therapist Richard Killion seated center speaks to some of the visitors at the launch event of his Wisdom Cards, a set of 52 colorful cards each containing a simple phrase that helps people deal with challenges in their lives

Over the past 20 years, Richard Killion has counseled countless people out of his Mount Kisco cognitive behavioral therapy practice, dispensing the best advice he can based on his extensive training.

Sometimes gems of wisdom can come from clients too, who seek help with any number of issues in their lives.

To help them between dates, and really just about anyone else who needs a little cheer up, whether they’re in therapy or not, Killion has captured some of his best advice in little sentences, which he included in a new product he unveiled last weekend – Wisdom Cards – during a launch party at Bobo’s Café in Chappaqua.

Resembling a deck of playing cards, a 52-card set from Wisdom Cards, with a tie-dye pattern on the back of the card, uses four different categories or suits – therapeutic, spiritual/holistic, common sense, and questions – each with the own color that draws on different aspects of people’s personalities. While there isn’t an absolutely correct answer or reaction to each card, the set does contain an explanatory booklet that contains Killion’s thoughts on what each phrase entails.

“So what I’ve done is draw on the training I’ve received as a cognitive behavioral therapist,” Killion said. “The holistic/spiritual theme has to do with how people are really taking care of themselves in really tough times.”

An example, in the therapeutic category, is a card that reads “All of Nothing”. Killion explained that it’s a description of thinking when people think in all-or-nothing terms, where they don’t see the gray area. Something or someone is good or bad; something should always or never be done.

“I think for anxious people, when you’re thinking all or nothing, it’s kind of comforting because you think about it this way or that way, and you don’t open your mind to the possibility that it could be any number of things,” she said.

One of the more inspiring phrases Killion used on the cards – “Redirection, not denial” – actually came from a client, who thought he was on the verge of getting a job that would make him move to London. It would have been a great personal and professional opportunity, but in the end he couldn’t get the offer.

“He said, ‘You know, this is not my rejection; this is a redirection of where should I go.’ And I thought, why do you need me? Killion recalled.

The idea for the card set also came from customers. Some of the people Killion has seen the longest have marveled at how he can help them with a fresh perspective with simple, direct but sometimes profound “Richard-isms,” as they called them. A woman urged him to write a book, but he thought the world didn’t need another self-help book.

It has therefore been suggested that Killion should at least put his favorite sayings on the cards, so that others can benefit from them. He thought about it a bit and about a year later, with the help of friends, he made packs of wisdom cards.

A box of wisdom cards

One of Killion’s friends, Vicki Lin, said she was “in awe” of Killion’s ability to take something that may seem overwhelming in someone’s life and help them with a succinct phrase or sentence.

“It’s second nature to who you are,” Lin said while interviewing Killion at the launch party on Saturday. “You have such insight, wisdom and generosity.”

Like many people, Killion found his calling after a rough start in life. He was born and raised in a small town in Wyoming, and flunked out of school his freshman year at the University of Wyoming. As a young gay man, that environment was even worse as he felt compelled to remain closed.

At 19, she took a job managing a homeless shelter because the facility couldn’t find anyone else. One of the first things Killion did was purchase some brightly colored paint to replace the institutional drab beige walls. Soon there would be sunny yellow, magenta, bright blue, and stark white, depending on which area of ​​the building you visited. He tapped into that chapter of his life with one of his cards with the phrase “Color me happy.”

“What I noticed immediately, people came to that shelter and their eyes lit up, they smiled at me, they were looking at me like ‘Wow, where am I?'” Killion said. “And it made it a safer place because they knew that they were in a safe and secure place. It was friendly, it was cheerful. It was just like we were staying here for the next day or so until you get in your way.

While not immediate, that experience led Killion towards a life of helping others. He went back to college, earned a master’s degree in social work from Boston College, and eventually became certified in psychotherapy at the New York University Institute for Psychoanalytic Education. Killion has also worked in the corporate world helping companies in their HR departments by administering employee assistance programs.

One of nearly 40 people who attended last Saturday’s meeting, Barbara Hines, a therapist in Jersey City, New Jersey, said Killion’s Wisdom Cards should be successful because they help people think for themselves about a variety of subjects. She said it was a new idea and she believes they will be hugely successful.

“You can arrange them by colors, you can mix them, you can make two of each, so everyone can personalize their own path to healing, with a little bit of motto, or a little bit of theme that says where I am,” he said Hines. “So the uses of this philosophy are endless.”

To learn more about Richard Killion and the Wisdom Cards or to order a set, visit

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