The topic for this week is “Psychic-Intuitive Readings” and the Psychological issues which surround them.

BUT FIRST some ODD NEWS collected by Fee

Odd news for 26th

Deep Sleep: Hole Nearly Swallows Gran’s Bed

A grandmother in Guatemala City has had a lucky escape after a huge sinkhole suddenly opened up under her bed as she slept.

Inocenta Hernandez woke up on July 18 to discover she was lying just inches above a 12m (40ft) deep sinkhole.

Mrs Hernandez was startled by a large booming sound which she thought was a gas explosion outside.

The sound was actually the earth under her bed imploding to create a deep and almost perfectly circular hole.

If the pit had been a few metres larger it may have swallowed the pensioner as she slept.

The 65-year-old said: “My son was crying because you never expect something like that in the bedroom.

“When they raised the bed and I stood by this big hole my son then said that we have to call the firefighters because they need to come.

“Thanks to God and the holy Mary that nothing bad happened, it was an accident.”

In the weeks before the pit appeared neighbours had reported hearing strange sounds coming from the earth and now fear further implosions.

Guatemala’s national disaster relief agency have come to Mrs Hernandez’s home to investigate the sinkhole and determine if there are any risks to residents in the area.

Investigator David De Leon said: “The whole city rests on volcanic material which means that some areas are not stable.”

Sinkholes, formed by the natural process of erosion, can be gradual but are often sudden.

Guatemala City is especially prone to them.

They are often blamed on a leaky sewer system or on heavy rain.

In 2007, the country’s largest sinkhole swallowed homes and a truck and killed three people as the ground suddenly gave way.

25th July South African ‘corpse’ wakes up

A 50-year-old South African man thought to be dead woke up in a chilly morgue on Sunday and shouted to be let out, scaring off two attendants who thought he was a ghost, local media reported

“His family thought he had died,” health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told the Sapa news agency.

“The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5:00pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place.”

This caused two mortuary attendants on duty to flee the building in the small town of Libode in the rural Eastern Cape as they thought it was a ghost.

After calling for help and returning to find the man alive, an ambulance was sent to fetch the man who had “been exposed to extreme cold for nearly 24 hours” said Kupelo.

He said the public should not assume that a sick person had died and contact a mortuary, the report said.

“Doctors, emergency workers and the police are the only people who have a right to examine the patients and determine if they are dead or not.”

Child found home alone with 19 snakes

A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged after allegedly leaving his child home alone with nearly two dozen dangerous animals in Suffolk.

Emmanuel Valazquez was charged with cruelty and injuries to children, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Suffolk police spokesperson Debbie George.

Valazquez’s 7-year-old son called police to let them know that his dog was missing.

Police came to the house and found that the child was home alone with 19 snakes, one of which was a 14-foot Python, two bearded dragons, and two pit bulls. There were also feeder mice found in the home.

Police asked where the mother was in all of this, and he said they were divorced. Police said it is legal for the homeowner to have these animals.

Man Drops Wallet In Manhole, Gets Stuck

A man dropped his wallet inside a manhole and got stuck trying to fetch it, police said.

Jared Medeiros, 21, was in head first when Ceres police discovered two legs flailing in the air Friday. When police tried to pull him out, his waist wouldn’t budge from the tunnel.

The fire department had to assist to pull him out. When they did, about 40 minutes had passed. They assessed his medical condition and found some minor scrapes and contusions. Police said he was slightly intoxicated but not impaired.

The wheels on the bus…

Terrified passengers had a right bus strop when their oblivious driver motored on – after the wheels had fallen off his coach.

Driver Shi Shao, 48, told police in Shaoyang, Hunan province, southern China, that he thought he’d hit a pothole and was returning to his depot to have the suspension checked.

But his horrified passengers begged him to stop when they saw the bus’s rear axle behind them in the road and could feel the floor of the vehicle turning red hot as it scraped along the road.

“The potholes around here are bad but nothing could be that bad,” said one passenger.

Police – who say the stranded bus caused a three-hour tailback in rush hour traffic – explained: “The driver may now face charges of endangering public safety.”

Couple arrested for sex in cathedral

Two protesters were arrested after stripping off naked to have sex in front of the alter in the middle of a service at Oslo Cathedral.

Police arrived to seize the pair – members of the F*** for Forests group – after one shocked churchgoer dialed 999.

Other furious parishioners pulled the couple apart and held them until police arrived, and also grabbed a man that had been taking pictures of the act.

A police spokesman confirmed: “We arrested three people for sexual activity in front of the altar in Oslo Cathedral.”

A spokesman for the trio – who have not been identified by police – said: “We had to pay a small fine or spend 16 days in jail. We chose the former because we didn’t want to spend so long without having sex.”

Swedish pressure group F*** For Forests is trying to publicise global deforestation by having sex in public to draw attention to the problem.

It believes in campaigning for the cause by outraging public decency.

Note To Mechanic

An auto mechanic received a repair order that read:

“Check for clunking sound when going around corners.”

Taking the car out for a test drive, he made a right turn, and a
moment later he heard a ‘clunk’.

He then made a left turn and again heard a ‘clunk’.

Back at the shop he opened the car’s trunk, and soon
discovered the problem.

Promptly he returned the repair order to the service manager
with the notation, “Removed bowling ball from trunk”.

Creative Writing

A creative writing class at Slippery Rock University was asked to write
a concise essay containing the following elements:

Religion
Royalty
Sex
Mystery

The prize winner wrote:

“My God,” said the queen, “I am pregnant! I wonder who did it?”

Wacky 911 Calls

A call came into 911 Emergency because two couples were going to share a hotel room and there weren’t enough towels.

A man called 911 and said: “Please connect me to Switzerland.”

A lady called 911 because of a fight going on in a parking lot. When asked to describe the combatants, she said: “I’ll try. There’s one man, and he’s dressed like Elvis. He’s kicking another man who’s laying on the ground and screaming ‘You ain’t nothing but a hound dog.'”

Another person called to report he had the hiccups.

A thirteen-year-old boy called to report he had “stuff” coming from his navel. Paramedics examined the boy and all they found was belly-button lint.

A male complainant called and requested police call gas stations on a main route to find out which ones were open.

A woman called emergency to report she had seen a wild mouse in her house.

Someone called 911 to report the parrot got out of his cage and is in a tree outside.

A man broke up with his girlfriend and wanted police to go by her house and report to him the owners of any cars, other than hers, in her driveway.

A man called to report he had a roach stuck in his ear.

A guy called to ask if they delivered dope. When the person answering told him it was the Sheriff’s Department, he hung up.

Another winner called to ask when the Cinco de Mayo celebration was. (Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May)

A female complainant called to request a police officer come to her residence to change the battery in her smoke detector. She couldn’t reach it.

A drunk called 911 to order a pizza.

A woman called to report that someone had trespassed on her property.
When asked how she knew this, she reported that the person had trimmed her rose bushes, and she knew it was her next-door neighbor.

A person called to find out the number to the police station

I find it really interesting how different people perceive and understand what they see, hear or read.

Like many shows, The Real Twilight, has been trying to evolve a format which makes it different – something that is important bearing in mind that Haunted Cornwall FM is a partner show on the same networks.

I posted this on Facebook last week…

Our planned guest interview fell through, but from previous weeks comments, partcularly from our friends at Inception Radio, we thought we take a look at Psychological issues related to ‘readings’ of the psychic/intuitive kind this will cover the issue of Cold Reading and may lead to a discussion of fraud within the psychic world – The Real Twilight Zone Tuesday 26th July 8pm – 10pm BST

One commentator wrote –

Not being Adversaterial… is this going to be one-sided Al?

To which my responses led to the observation from the same commentator….

So it won’t be 1/2 hr news 5 mins intuitive reading, 1 1/4 hr all readers should be put to the torch and 10 mins of The Truths music then…. Odd thought – if less intuitive ppl were to explore their intuitive abilities then they wouldn’t get ‘fooled’ by cold/fraudulent readers!

(my emphasis)

Well you’ll have to listen and read on to find out I guess….

I want to make these statements of PERSONAL TRUTH or BELIEF at the outset…

1) Psychic – Intuitive Readings have a real value for most of the people who seek them

2) If the ‘reader’ is coming from a space of support and empowerment the value is greater

3) For the most part it may not matter if the Psychic, Medium, Intuitive can prove their abilities to the scientific community.

4) Pseudo-Skeptics (those who set out to debunk rather than question) are closed minded

5) New Age Space Cadets (those who accept without question) are, in an odd way, also closed minded

6) Psychic Fraud is a reality as are those who profit from the need, pain and dependence of others.

I think that’s clear?

To take things a step further…

In order to set the record straight I need to make it clear that I have given ‘readings’, do ‘readings’ and will probably continue to do ‘readings’ – and I do work in Mind Body and Spirit fairs from time to time and run talks, workshops and sessions on many topics that would be familiar to with those who enjoy the mystical/spiritual side of things. (see here for more information)

However I make no claims of psychic ability and in many ways I feel these claims are redundant and simply part of the marketing label some folks require.

I have studied the Tarot (I had my first deck over 40 years ago); I have read into and worked with Numerology, Astrology, Palmistry amongst other so called divinatory ‘arts’. They are interesting symbolic systems and although they (may) have no scientific validity (in a objective, measurable way) it is clear that they have a personal resonance on a subjective and hence formative level.

I agree totally with skeptic Brian Dunning who makes the following statement…

“This is where I break ranks with the majority of the skeptical community, and come out, surprisingly, generally in favor of those who peddle the paranormal, in cases where no harm is done.”

“In our society, people have the right to purchase things they want that are of no benefit, or even harmful. Cigarettes, alcohol, expensive cosmetic products containing questionable ingredients like “extract of oleander” — these are just a few examples. It’s a free country, and most people want these things. We’ve decided, as a nation, that the preferences of a few should not curtail the freedoms of the many. And I believe most skeptics would agree: paranormal services from palm readers to homeopathy stores have every right to exist.”

For me the phrase “WHERE NO HARM IS DONE” is crucial – and this is where I part company with a number of those ‘peddlars of paranormal patter’ who have no ethical, moral or intellectual integrity.

I think I do need to define ‘my terms’ so that what I am saying can be understood in the way that I want it to be understood…

A ‘reading’ as defined by most would refer to a situation where an individual (the client) receives insightful information from a ‘reader’ who is using some psychic, intuitive, mediumistic or symbolic system.

The ‘reader’ acts as a listener, confident, advisor and perhaps councillor (in the broadest sense).

The ‘client’ receives ‘information’ from a third party who is removed from their own personal situation and can offer ‘insights’.

In this situation all things being equal there is no need to demonstrate scientifically the reality of any claim made by the reader as the assessment is being made by the client as to the relevance and value of the information. It matters little  if that information is vague; comes from spirit; personal insights or messages in the sand – and if it does matter then this is either in the mind of the persona giving the reading or in the type of reader preferred by the client.

I have never liked the notion of ‘reading’ since the process for me is always about a conversation, a dialogue in which the ‘intuitions’ of the reader based upon whatever system they use are part of a transformational process.

Apologies if that does sound a little ‘fluffy’, but in a very real sense we can call be changed by the conversations we have and in the situation of a ‘psychic reading’ the potential for impact-full dialogue is great.

A Psychic is …. ???

In another career under a different pseudonym I wrote ….

Psychic is a much used term and one that immediately creates in the mind of the listener certain presuppositions. The word itself comes from the Greek word psychikos which means “of the soul” or “mental” and in common usage usually implies an ability in ‘extrasensory perception'”

This was an attempt to make it clear that when I used the word ‘psychic’ it was in the sense of attempting to create deeper understandings and meaning through the integration and use of all of the senses. I argued against the idea of ‘extra-sensory’ perception in favour of ‘total sensory’ perception. In this usage of the term the ‘psychic’ attempts to become open to all of the conscious and unconscious information available so as to communicate clearly and effectively.

I was interested by the closing comment made by my Facebook commentator..

Odd thought – if less intuitive ppl were to explore their intuitive abilities then they wouldn’t get ‘fooled’ by cold/fraudulent readers!

First I might say, and this will be controversial, for the most part cold reading can be as valid and useful to the ‘client’ as a ‘real’ reading.

What matters is the quality of support the ‘reader’ is giving and as long as the conversation leads the ‘client’ to options, choices and reflection there, for me is no issue.

As soon as one reader makes they statement that ‘theirs is the BEST and ONLY’ valid approach the whole discussion moves from the impact and value to the listener to the need to validate and prove that claim. We move from mystical-subjective to rational-objective and hence scientific.

It should be noted that to stay within the Letter of the Law UK all readers are required to state that their readings are for entertainment purposes and there is no scientific validation to what they are doing.

For example below you will find an example of a ‘disclaimer’ used by a popular ‘psychic’ chat room.

“Please note that this site is for entertainment purposes only. Any information given in readings and/or from members or staff of the site is not in any way guaranteed correct and accurate. Guidance and advice can be given, readings and healings can also be given, but please note that at no time should any readings or healings susbstitute advice and/ or treatment given from your GP or hospital, or treatment from mental or physical healthcare professionals, either given in the past, present, or future. Advice should also sought from the correct authorities for financial support and guidance, legal support and guidance. If in doubt, please refer to support from these authorities/ professionals as we are unable to help”

To reiterate then, it is about the EFFECT a reading (from whatever source) has on a CLIENT.

This brings us to what I believe are the core issues related to READINGS – putting aside any interest in the desire to ‘test’ claims of the psychics, mediums, intuitives, spiritualists, gurus and the vast array of symbol-readers (cards, sand, ink, paint, wax, water, fire, clouds…..)

Let’s look at a typical list of  ‘sceptical’ objections to ‘readings’

The existence of these abilities has yet to be satisfactorily established

OK, accepting the paucity of scientific evidence, a reading is about an exchange of ideas and information generally between one ‘believer’ and another. Proof of method is less important than personal value and meaning drawn from the exchange.

There are no standardised qualifications or levels of experience required

A bit of a problem for the sceptics this one – if you can’t validate the abilities how can you derive a standardised test for them? Is the issue more to do with ethics and ethical regulation?

Practitioners have no governing body therefore no accountability

Ah there we go – ethics. Actually the same can be said to be true for other professions. Car Mechanics, Private Investigators, Psychotherapists for example have no over-arching governing body although many are members of bodies which require adherence to a code of conduct, carrying of correct insurance and requirement for ongoing professional development.

I think, personally, some voluntary registration to an agreed code of ethics, insurance and professional development would be a positive thing for ‘readers’.

However, the sceptic is right here, formally a psychic/medium cannot be ‘struck-off’ some national register.

The trade offers a service to which there is no effective redress in law unless conventional fraud/deception can be proven

Actually the repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act a few years ago does mean that there is a better level of consumer protection BUT it’s not clear what the consumer is protected against. In many ways going to a reading is like seeking advice from another person so surely the caveat must be ‘take care when listening to the advice of others’.

Said services can potentially cause physical, financial and or psychological harm

At last a sceptical comment that I totally support in the context of readings.

There are cases where psychics, mediums, healers and readers have given advice which has proven to be detrimental to the physical, psychological and financial health of the client.

I most of these cases the psychics, mediums, readers and clairvoyants I have worked with (both in this current persona and as a previous persona) are equally disgusted as to the abuse of power and maliciousness of the ‘mystic’ involved.

The website WHAT’S THE HARM is a depressing reminder of how those who want to take advantage of others can and do cause real harm. This is the seedy, dangerous and manipulative side of the paranormal/alternative coin.

OK so let’s get a little Psychological…

What is said and what is heard are two different things…

In any reading the client, the listener, will be wanting to hear things which relate to them and their situation.

The human brain has a tendency to ‘pattern match’ and ‘make associations’ from what is seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelt.

There is also a tendency for the individual to identify with (or reject) emotional images, ideas or words. That is they apply the emotion to themselves and their own understandings (experiences) of it.

Actually it is true that most of us understand the world personally, from a self-focussed perspective, initially.  The degree of personal empathy we have as individuals in many ways controls the degree we can not only identify the emotional states of others but also allows us to stand back and decide what ‘stuff’ is ‘ours’ and what ‘stuff’ is ‘theirs’.

There was a fantastic Star Trek Episode called The Empath in which the conflicting emotions of Kirk, Spock and McCoy caused the death of a woman who was completely empathic. That meant she was overwhelmed by the feelings, emotions, desires and hidden-agendas of others and so became unable to ‘be herself’. Such total lack of ‘self’, in the story, caused her to die. It’s a great, little repeated, episode.

So let me introduce psychologist  Bertram R. Forer (1914-2000). He  found that people tend to accept vague and general personality descriptions as uniquely applicable to themselves without realizing that the same description could be applied to just about anyone.

Forer gave a personality test to his students, ignored their answers, and gave each student the above evaluation. He asked them to evaluate the evaluation from 0 to 5, with “5” meaning the recipient felt the evaluation was an “excellent” assessment and “4” meaning the assessment was “good.” The class average evaluation was 4.26. That was in 1948. The test has been repeated hundreds of time with psychology students and the average is still around 4.2 out of 5, or 84% accurate.

Forer, B. R.. (1949) “The Fallacy of Personal Validation: A classroom Demonstration of Gullibility,” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 44, 118-121.

When I run sessions on Astrology I prepare a chart for all participants based on their birth charts and then write a generalised personal profile based upon the data. I give the charts out at the session and then ask the participants to read and assess them.

They are generally 85% – 95% accurate and in some cases said to be ‘spot on’. I then show folks that they have all had the same personality profile – as you can imagine a discussion then follows about the value, if any, of such readings.

Here’s an example of a Forer style statement. Imagine that this has been prepared for you and read it carefully..

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Now critically listen to any reading given by a reader and you will find similar generalised statements. This will be especially true if you are listening in on a reading being given to someone else.

What is important perhaps is not the fact that you can hear the generalisations but what effect they have on the person being given the reading.

I don’t think that it’s just psychic/intuitive readings are prone to over generalisation (and hence pattern-matched, personal acceptance). I would argue that many psychological profiles suffer from the same problems.

If these tools (astrology, ennaegram, tarot, palmistry, MBT) are used for analysis and over-simplification of the c0mplexity of human experience then all are equally dangerous.

If they are used as a basis or framework for discussion and exploration then perhaps they are useful?

Back to the sceptical stuff…

It is easy to see how the Forer (or Barnum) effect leads into a discussion of what has been called Cold Reading.

Basically Cold Reading is the ability to make accurate statements about an individual based upon a series of Forer  (Barnum) style statements and then following up by restating or reframing what you say based upon the ‘feedback’ you get from the person being ‘read’.

For me this is REAL READING in the non-mystical sense because you are ‘reading’ the responses of the individual. It is an art and when used by a skilled ‘reader’ looks like ‘psychic ability’ and according to a definition above IS psychic ability.

The Cold Reader will augment their statements with ambiguous statements which can be interpreted as being correct no matter what the response..

eg:

“You’re not thinking about money right now?”

To which the skilful follow up could be “Yes I thought so!” or “No, I didn’t think so!”

The statement is never wrong!

What about this…

“What is it about your and…. water?”

This could mean absolutely anything – but the listener may well ascribe meaning to this and hence the reader has ‘hit on’ another personal bit of information.

Let’s face it the people in any culture will have broadly similar concerns and in terms of a reading these concerns can be broken into broad headings of Health, Wealth, Relationships and Love.

Of course the Cold Reader, unless they are totally without morals, cannot make any claims about ‘the beyond’ or convey messages from ‘lost loved ones’. HOWEVER there have been numerous examples of mediums who make these claims and are doing little more than playing the odds; cold reading (often badly) and being totally ambiguous in their claims.

The website www.woogooandmuckymuck.com was collating examples of this kind of fraud.

Some of these frauds go as far as to use HOT READING – that is the solicit, collect and research information on those in their audiences.

For some more on Cold Reading visit The Rational Mystic Blog and Cold Reading 101

So back to readings…

Let me introduce  Carl Jung

According to the theories of Carl Jung, tarot cards, particularly the Major Arcana (the first 22 cards of the deck) can be used during psychological analysis.
While considered unscientific by most, Jung believed the symbolism contained within the Tarot could be extremely useful to followers of analytical psychology. By using a selection of the cards to create a story, the symbols can be related to the problem being discussed.

Jung’s Archetypes

In psychological terms, an archetype can be broadly described as a model of a type of person or behaviour that can be used in an interpretive manner. Jung identified five main archetypes, these were:

  • The Persona: The face we present to the world
  • The Shadow: The part of us unacknowledged but that exists nonetheless
  • The Self: The essence of the psyche, what enables the individual
  • The Anima: The female image in the male psyche
  • The Animus: The male image in the female psyche

There are endless archetypes but the above five together with a small amount of others tend to be the most prevalent. For example, The Mother, The Child, The Wise Man are all archetypes which recur regularly. Archetypes relating to behaviour include that of endurance and sacrifice, related to Strength and The Hanged Man cards respectively.

The Minor Arcana

Further to attributing archetypes to the Major Arcana, Jung also attributed certain functions of the mind to corresponding suites of the Minor Arcana:

  • Wands: Intuition
  • Cups: Feeling
  • Swords: Thinking
  • Pentacles: Sensation.

Now we’re not in the realm of scientific rationality here, but within the mythic (mystical) world of subjective experience. Jung has been called the ‘darling of the New Age’ because he openly spoke of astrology, tarot and the importance of the transpersonal/mystical experience. He himself practised ‘automatic’ writing and had two key ‘spirit guides’ called Philemon and Basilides.

Jung was not afraid to cross the boundaries between ‘reality’ and the world of ‘symbol’ and ‘metaphor’. For me the key challenge is that oversimplification and misquotation of his work, ideas and approach is common amongst those who have only red his work referenced on New Age Fluffy sites.

“[t]he images of the collective unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.” (Jung 1989: 193)

Again, back to readings…

Are the readings being given by the multitude of readers out there ‘transformational’ in any way?

Do they ask the ‘client’ to explore and reflect upon their situation and their own inner world or are they simply vehicles for the ‘reader’ to show off their ‘spiritual prowess’ and own ‘advancement’.

Does the reading become a monologue with the reader seeking ‘proof’ of connection in some way or is the reading a dialogue, a conversation around which images, ideas, emotions are discussed.

I am afraid I see a lot of the former and less of the latter.

Some of the psychological issues related to this kind of reading (where the ‘reader’ tells) is that the client can have a sense of  ‘disempowerment’ and this of course will lead to an abdication of personal responsibility.

As I have mentioned on Haunted Cornwall FM at one time I was invited to be a ‘reader’ on one of the UK’s leading psychic/intuitive  web-sites and found that there were folk who were becoming ‘hooked’ on getting readings.

They would call and get advice from their favourite reader on almost every decision. So I seen this industry from the inside; from the point of view of how it was in the readers best interest to keep these folk on-the phone and spending money. Make no mistake this is an industry and it is profitable.

As those who know me will understand, as soon as I realised that the enterprise was not about empowerment but about ‘capturing’ clients I left and chastised myself for my own naivete.  I was younger then and perhaps hadn’t quite seen behind some of the fraudulent psychics whose company I was keeping. It was shortly after this experience, and in conversation with a fellow conjuror, who under another name is a well kn0wn ‘reader’, that I started to try to bring some of my disparate worlds together and begin considering the way I wanted to work – but I digress.

Apart from creating ‘dependency’ in a client the reader has a tremendous responsibility for the emotional and psychological well-being of those they read for.

It is a sad fact that not all of those folk seeking a reading are, shall we say, in the most balanced of mental or emotional states. I would hope that any reader who has the simplest of psychological/counselling backgrounds may be aware enough and so not put their psychic foot in it and make matters worse. It’s relatively easy to find examples of where this has happened.

Of course it’s not only psychic and not-so-intuitive readers who cause problems in this regard. What about the Priest who tells a manic-depressive that she’ll get better if she accepts God – she does – she doesn’t improve and the Priest suggests that she’s deserted God. The woman throws herself off a cliff! (I know about this because I worked with the family and the aftermath)

One of the big differences between counselling and amateur counselling is that the former recognises that there is a process; that the process comes from a particular way of thinking and that the clients experience is uniquely theirs. (With apologies for simplifications to the various schools of thought)

Amateur counsellors frequently make the assumption that because they have had a particular experience they have a ‘authority’ to talk about someone else’s parallel issue. I hear it a lot in training sessions…

“I’d be good working with those who have suffered loss because I lost my….”

Well, fine that person may be good at working with others but will only make an effective counsellor if they recognise that their experience is theirs and not necessarily that of the clients.

Why this digression?

Well a psychic reader often comes from a particular metaphysical perspective – which is great when they read for those who share that truth…. but what happens when their client is coming from another space or is seeking?

There are several cases of well meaning spiritual folk imposing their dogmatic views onto those they are supposed to be supporting. As a key example the Orkney Satanic Abuse cases where interventions by Social Services were skewed by beliefs and perhaps ‘spiritual agendas’. This happened under ‘regulation’ … h0w much more prevalent is it in the New Age Spiritual Reader Community?

Lucy B (named changed) has had a string of bad luck; her relationship of ten years ends messily; the kids start misbehaving; she is depressed. She visits a New Age fair and following the suggestion of a friend seeks a ‘reading’ from a ‘spiritual medium’.

All starts well and Lucy feels that the ‘reader’ is ‘on her wavelength’.

On the recording that was prepared for her it is clear that the ‘medium’ is ‘on the money’…

“You’re having a very difficult time at the moment…. I think there’s been a recent loss”

Yes – Lucy volunteers – my partner

“Oh, that must have been difficult ….. his passing was quick”

Yes – Lucy says – he just up and left… I didn’t expect him to leave me and the kids

“…. yes of course and with his leaving quickly its like… well, you’re grieving…”

Yes

“…. now everything is confusing isn’t it – I sense a young person involved – no, wait, two young people – about 10 and 6 … they are crying a lot aren’t they?”

Yes – Philip, my oldest is 15 and Dan my youngest is 9 –

“…. yes …  I see and …. there’s lots of books around not being read – Philip – is he studying at the moment …”

Yes he is…

“…. ah well he can’t concentrate because what has happened – he’s very concerned about you you know…”

Ok – put aside any comments about the quality of the information actually offered and the nature of confirmation bias suggested by Lucy’s own responses, it’s not the ‘reading’ per se that was of concern. Later in the tape the ‘medium’ suggests that Lucy’s run of misfortune is because an un-named, but mean spirited departed relative is causing mischief.

The offer of a ‘house cleansing’ at the cost of £65 is accepted.

What follows is a series of ever increasing problems defined by the ‘medium’ in subsequent sessions. In the space of four months Lucy has 10 readings (at £25); a ‘house cleansing’ (£65); a blessing (£45) and a special healing session for herself and two sons (£65).

Now I know some of the ‘readers’, ‘mediums’ and ‘psychics’ reading this will throw their arms in the air and grit their teeth. Of course NOT every reader is in this category and many will have given sound, emotional and possibly spiritual support to Lucy. I wonder, however, of those colleagues of mine who work in this area and who are coming at the venture with positive intent, could fairly easily identify some readers they have seen behaving in a similar way?

Psychology’s Forth Wave

In general terms there are three schools of psychological thought and focus…

Psychodynamic

The First Wave :  Psychodynamic, began with Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis, which has been expanded through the insights of Ego Psychology, Interpersonal Psychology, Object Relations, and Self Psychology.

Behaviourism

The Second Wave : Behavioral : championed by B. F. Skinner and others. It has been augmented by Cognitive Psychology theory and methodology during the last four decades.

Humanistic Psychology

The third wave, Humanistic, spearheaded by Carl Rogers, has been amplified by innovotions such as Focusing.

These approaches said little about the nature and value of altered states of consciousness and awareness. With Carl Jungs work on dreams, mysticism followed by the research of Roberto Assagioli, Ken Wilbur, Charles Tart, Stan Grof, Kenneth Pelletier, and Charles Garfield the FORTH WAVE of Psychology was has been defined as Transpersonal Psychology

In essence Trans-Personal Psychology places emphasis on the trans-personal, transcendent or spiritual aspects of human experience.

The British Psychological Society says that Transpersonal Psychology is:-
“….the psychology of spirituality and of those areas of the human mind which search for higher meanings in life, and which move beyond the limited boundaries of the ego to access an enhanced capacity for wisdom, creativity, unconditional love and compassion. It honours the existence of transpersonal experiences, and is concerned with their meaning for the individual and with their effect upon behaviour….”

For me the link between Rationalism and Mysticism can be found within this area of Psychology. Whilst honouring the need for questioning, evaluation and empirical research it is clearly possible to explore those things which are not easily measured, captured, objectively defined.

As I said at the outset the know-it-all-pseudo-skeptic and the know-it-all-self-referencing-new-ager are two sides of the same coin.

One sets out to debunk everything which they deem to be outside current scientific rationale…

The other sets out to deny the value of ‘research’ and questioning because they have answers from a higher source which need not (or cannot) be questioned….

So back to a statement made earlier by my Facebook commentator… viz …

Odd thought – if less intuitive ppl were to explore their intuitive abilities then they wouldn’t get ‘fooled’ by cold/fraudulent readers!

I would love to accept this a truth but I like many can identify examples of ‘intuitive’ folk who have been fooled, conned and taken for a ride. It’s easy to suggest that they we’re either ‘listening to the wrong voice’ of intuition or ‘listening but not heeding’ – and more to the point I think cold reading isn’t the issue – it’s the con-artist who takes money, self-esteem, creates a cult following using direct emotional, spiritual and psychological coercion.

Here’s some personal truths…

The world is not always the most wonderful place to be..

Life has its sweet moments, it also has it’s share of knocks, heartaches, difficulties and problems

The universe is REALLY BIG

Sometimes people feel really SMALL

There are so  many things that don’t make sense and so many things seem to be done to us

Then along comes a psychic, spiritual guru or ‘reader’ who promises to help make sense of it all. If we are desperate we may well accept with question the simple answers they provide. Indeed there may be a simple answer….

More often than not the problems we face require us to deal with them – either by facing them or by having developed an attitude or coping mechanism. Note it is the INDIVIDUAL who has to deal with it.

Good readings, whether they be from your metaphysical world view or from someone who offers insight and reflective questioning can be empowering.

Some working in this area lack the self-reflection, empathy or intention to empower the client to make their own choices can create a range of problems for their clients.

Some feel that their way is the ONLY way that they cease to be effective people helpers and become advocates for their truth to the exclusion of anything else. They KNOW they are right!

A few use their abilities (skills) to obtain money, property, services, power – they are the ones who are really dangerous.

An email from a reader READER!

This was emailed to me when I put the notice on Facebook, I thought I would share it…

A Professional Reader Writes :-

Firstly I want to say that I do not call myself a Medium nor do I claim I can connect with the dead and I do not believe that you can connect with the dead in the sense that you can hold a conversation with them.

I read cards and do Ouija boards and also am able to connect to inexplicable energies if you want to call them that.

I do not “talk” to the dead as they have no voice box but their souls or spirits – the electric life force does have some sort of a voice as they are able to change atmospheres.

This is what I believe we pick up.

If there is a bad atmosphere in a room we walk in to – say people have had an argument and you have walked into the room – you can tell they have argued by the vibe or the energy that is surrounding them.

This is what I believe I am able to connect with.

I think that when we say we can talk to the dead – it’s their vibes we pick up. When we move our lips to talk we create movement in our atmospheres particles and I think that if you are tuned in enough, you can feel the change in these particles and pick up what seems to be a conversation.

Most of the time I believe it’s a sub-conscious thing – when you’re working with pendulums – it is working on your unconscious most of the time – when you’re working with a reader or Medium and you are genuine it is either a sub conscious thing or an change in energy reading.

Take God for example..

Millions believe he/she exists but no one has ever been able to hear him/her talk like we would talk to each other. We can only hear his/her voice in our heads but not full sentences but the odd word. This is because we are expecting this to happen – we are actively looking for a voice and there for we expect it – we hear it – on a subconscious level we are creating it ourselves.

But just because we can’t really hear him/her or see him/her doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t exist does it??????

Now your probably thinking how can I say this when I do boards – well I believe that the life forces can move things around somehow – take the wind for example it can shut doors or make trees move and we can feel it but we can not always see it. This is how I think the energies work along with again a sub-conscious workings behind it sometimes.

Now I have come to learn that so many people are being taken advantage of by some people that call themselves Mediums/Psychics or Psychics. Where better to cash in but to claim you can talk to the deceased loved one for a client or discover hidden feelings, thoughts or motivations.

Have you noticed that they are not always direct these readers??

They often fish for answers for example –

Medium/Psychic:- I am connecting with a woman – I believe someone’s Mother possibly

(Here is the perfect opening – saying the word possibly means that there is room for adjustment for if someone says no then you only have Nan, sister, niece or cousin to work through – but lets say for this that it is the mother the client is wanting to connect to)

Client:- Yes it is my mother

Medium/Psychic:- She comes across as (then they describe personality.)

(Here is where cold reading comes into place – you can automatically tell most of the time the personality and traits of the “deceased” by the way the client is and how they look when they think about the mother. This is called body reading. Again the Medium/Psychic will try to fish out info from the way the client is behaving and will try to avoid using words that they can’t quickly go back on without being noticed.)

Medium/Psychic:- Your mother died suddenly didn’t she?

(Here we go – foot in the door – there are only 2 ways to die suddenly or slowly.)

Client:- Yes she did

(The Medium/Psychic has now got the clients attention as the Medium has got a few facts right.)

Medium/Psychic:- She died from…….heart attack – cancer etc

(Here they will touch parts of his or her body or only say part of the word looking for movement from the client almost looking for a signal)

Now some Mediums/Psychics work with closed eyes where they claim they cannot read body-language or physical responses – well this does not mean they can’t cold read.

Some work in way in which they cannot be challenged.  Describing what the world outside this world is like and baring in mind none of us have actually been there and back – we cannot disagree.

There are however some readers that do not work like this – some readers can get info like exact dates and times and nicknames and info that no one else would of known and will not be fishing for info. Some readers cannot explain how they do this but my guess is that they are just in tuned with something unknown or are sensitive to the surroundings.

I myself try not to do face to face readings if possible as I  find it works better not being able to see the person so therefore there is no way possible for look for signals.   But I have done face to face readings but I do not guess – I cannot fully explain how I do it or how some others do it really but I can only give you my explanation on how I think it works – and that is what you read at the beginning.

Most important question regarding Readers?

Do readers do it for self gain using other’s misfortunes?

I think many do – they pray on the bereaved or people desperately looking for answers.  If a Medium says to you that your mother has told you that she gives her blessing for you to get married – who are we to question this – where is the evidence that suggests that the medium is lying?

There isn’t any – we go on trust and we put our trust in that Reader so there for what the reader has told you must be true.

Some Mediums/Psychics work to try and help others come to terms with a hard period in their lives, I do not see anything wrong with that UNLESS they are knowing that they have no gift and just want to pretend to be something they are not – this is when I feel that the reader is using someone’s misfortune to gain wealth and power.

I believe that when it comes to things like this – if you’re going to call yourself a reader and claim to want to help others – you need to go through training to be a counsellor too as there are too many Readers given false hopes that sometimes leave people so cut up and distraught that they end up making the ultimate sacrifice to find peace – taking their own lives.

This is my view on readings –

My view doesn’t mean that you should not go to a medium or to a reader – my only intention is to give you an insight into the world or readers and Mediums/Psychics and to always be careful.

Writer asked for identity to be kept secret.

Tonights Music from:

Sam McKenzie – Anywhere : support the Long Rock Village Hall by contacting alan@aljones.net

Callel – Try to be Quiet from Aardvark Records

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