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Top 5 Psychic Reading Pitfalls to Avoid

October 2019

Crystal Balls and Fortune Telling

Earlier this month I was questioned about intuitive readings from someone who had never received any type of reading before. She told me that apart from the stereotypical image of an old gypsy-like woman gazing into a crystal ball, she had no idea what psychics actually do or what to expect if she were to book a reading.

As people often associate “psychic reading” with predicting the future, whenever I’ve been asked what an intuitive reading is (usually in reference to the type of readings I’ve done), I tend to answer with something along the lines of: “It’s like a psychic reading without the fortune-telling”. Sometimes this can confuse a person further, as they’ll wonder, “What’s the point of a having a reading if it doesn’t address my future?”

The absence of fortune-telling does not equate to a lack of consideration for the future. Some readers do offer to predict what lies ahead, while others focus more on the here-and-now or state what consequences can be expected depending on the path a client chooses to take (often while addressing various options or paths available to that person). The latter approach does not involve any statement about one fixed future outcome.

I’ve seen readers who described upcoming events which actually did occur as predicted. Other readings were not so accurate about the future, even though they included details that were correct and relevant to my circumstances at the time. I assume that foreseeing the future is comparable to forecasting the weather – it can be possible to some extent, but it’s a much more complicated issue when it comes to predicting how an individual’s life will turn out. Having free will means that people can always choose to change their goals, habits, or relationships in ways that will alter the course of their current trajectory, so it’s a tricky endeavour to say with any certainty what will happen months or years down the track.

I would argue that rather than seeking a prediction, there is more value in consulting a psychic for advice about what choices you can make now to create a more fulfilled and happy life, or at least to avoid any unnecessary suffering than you might otherwise experience. This is different to hearing a statement about what the future holds and can be a lot more empowering. I don’t believe the future is set in stone, which means that our everyday choices do matter.

Presuming that a reader will tell your future is just one of several assumptions that are commonly held about psychic readings, some of which are positive (e.g. “this could help change my life for the better”) while others are quite negative (e.g. “all psychics are frauds”).

Faking It? 

I was told by the woman who trained me as a professional intuitive that she had been accused of just pretending to be psychic. There were many sceptics who suspected that she conducted research on the sly before speaking to clients. After all, if the view is held that there’s no such thing as intuitive/psychic abilities or spirits or guides (let alone the potential to receive messages from them), how else could she know so much about the people she was reading for? During a conversation about this, she said, “I don’t know how I would find out through research that my client fell off a horse when he was three years old or has been thinking of such-and-such lately and other random things – it’s so much easier to be psychic.”

I too have been asked whether I do my own detective work on clients such as by looking up names on the internet before providing readings, so that I’m armed with knowledge – presumably gained without consent – to impress these people later. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard this question was, “Do you really think I’m that unethical?” (the person who asked it was a close friend of my partner) and the next was an echo of my mentor’s words: “It’s so much easier to be psychic.” Bear in mind that this question came at a time when I was working at various locations, often in busy shopping malls, with as much as a three-second warning to be told “Jess, you have a client” before that person would be ushered in for their reading, never introduced by name as far as I can recall. Pretty hard to do research under those circumstances!

That being said, there are unscrupulous people out there in every profession, and the world of psychic readings is certainly no exception.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Have you ever listened to someone who shared the idea that all lawyers are dodgy? Or that all police officers are corrupt? Have you heard anyone describe all dentists as sadists, perhaps after watching Marathon Man? (I knew of someone who said this about orthodontists after he got braces!) In addition to these sorts of comments, chances are high that you’ve also come across the assumption that all psychics are faking it in their profession.

Yes, some people who work as psychic readers are frauds. I read an article a long time ago about psychic hotlines. The article included interviews with “psychics” who admitted that they actually had no psychic ability. One woman shared that she had applied for a job with a phone sex service and was offered a role with a psychic hotline instead, as it was owned by the same company. She said she accepted the job and followed the instruction to simply tell people what they wanted to hear.

As with other professions, the existence of unethical workers does not mean there are no honest or sincere ones out there. Many lawyers are hard, ethical workers with their client’s best interests at heart. Many police officers carry out their duties honourably to keep our community safer. And hopefully any instances of torture inflicted by sadistic dentists are few and far between! Going back to psychic readers (including those who are employed by psychic hotline companies), there are many who use their real intuitive ability to bring hope, direction, and advice to help people lead happier lives.

Just as there can be confusion about what a reading involves, it goes without saying that there can be uncertainty regarding how to tell the difference between a genuine professional intuitive and a reader who, as in the case of the interviewees mentioned above, are paid for an ability that they don’t even believe in. Even amongst ethical readers, there are some dos and don’ts to be aware of to get the most out of a reading. 

Top 5 Pitfalls to Avoid

Here are five pitfalls to avoid when it comes to psychic readings. Through becoming aware of these pitfalls, you are more likely to avoid them before, during, and after your next reading, and to increase your chances of receiving a good one.

1. Lack of Preparation

As with most things in life, the more you prepare for a reading the more you will probably get out of it. This includes preparing your mind through some meditation or quiet time, preparing your questions so you don’t need to worry about forgetting something important, preparing your space to ensure you will have privacy and feel comfortable, and doing enough preparation to find the best reader for you. Lack of preparation in any of these areas may mean that you end up having a dud reading that leaves you feeling as though you’ve wasted your time and money.

Not Preparing Your Mental/Emotional State

If you don’t schedule some time to calm your mind and allow any strong emotions to settle before a reading, then you may end up feeling scattered and unable to absorb as much information as you otherwise would.

I’ve been told by several intuitive readers that “urgent” sessions are rarely a good idea, as these tend not to give a client what they want or need for a number of reasons. A person who has rushed into having a reading is often in a distressed emotional state, with less capacity to communicate well and to accept the messages that come through. They may not be ready to hear a particular message and become even more shaken as a result. Part of the reason why preparation time is so important is that you can use that time to become as centred, calm, and alert as possible. For this reason, it’s worth resisting the urge to book a psychic reading if your desire for one is being fuelled by a sense of urgency or even emergency.

Remember, you’ll benefit much more from a reading if you are patient enough to prepare so that you are in a better mental and emotional state. 

Not Preparing Your Questions

You don’t have to offer your questions upfront during a psychic reading, but without working out in advance what you’re most curious about knowing, you may miss the opportunity to receive answers that can bring you more clarity.

Write down any questions you want answers to, and either memorise them or take them with you on paper or a mobile device to make sure they’re covered during the reading.

Not Preparing Your Space

Trying to receive guidance in a busy, loud, hectic place is not ideal. If your environment does not allow you to have sufficient privacy, or if you have someone with you or even close by, you may find it challenging to relax and open as much. Your reader may sense that they can’t share something openly with you without consequences. You may be less inclined to respond or follow up on what’s said, compared to if you were to have your own quiet, private space to talk.

If you’re having a phone/Skype reading from home, then it might be easier to prepare your space beforehand to get the most out of the reading.

If it’s a face-to-face reading, make sure you’re not going to be too self-conscious about being heard by anyone else. Suss out the environment beforehand if you can, or speak up if you find out after booking that you feel uncomfortable.

At festival settings and other public places where readings may be offered, be aware that the environment may not be conducive to having an amazing experience or any epiphanies during your reading. Having offered readings at festivals before, I can say that they are usually cheaper than if you book a private one-on-one session, and they can be lots of fun and insightful as well. However, having crowds of people around you as well as constant distractions can interfere with your chances of having the best reading possible.

Lack of Preparation When Choosing a Reading/Reader

Preparation can also be considered when choosing who you would like to receive a reading from. There’s no need to rush this choice. Take the time to ask your friends or family for recommendations if they’ve seen an impressive psychic. Choose someone who is a good match in terms of their pricing and what they can offer you.

Become clear on what type of reader you would like to book with. Are you hoping to see a medium to connect with a loved one who has passed on? Do you enjoy tarot cards, psychometry, runes etc more than intuitive readings which involve no physical tools, or vice versa? Are you wanting to find someone with a fun, vibrant personality for entertainment during a party? Or to discuss some serious issues and concerns with an intuitive who appears compassionate, warm and empathetic?  What would make it a great reading for you?

If you skip this step, you may end up booking a reading randomly with someone you know nothing about or who may not be a good fit for you. With a little preparation, that can be avoided by discovering in advance what to expect from a particular reader or service.

Finally, trust your intuition. Pay attention to your gut feeling about each of the readers you may be considering, and choose on the basis of how comfortable you feel regarding each one. Don’t ignore your intuition! This leads us to Pitfall No. 2 …

2. Forgetting Your Intuition

It’s important to make use of your intuitive ability at all stages of a psychic reading, not just in the lead-up to having one. After you’ve used your intuition to choose when, where, and with whom to book a reading, don’t forget to listen to it during and following your appointment as well.

During a Reading

Take note of what messages resonate with you as your reader provides them. Does the reading feel as though it’s on track or is it totally off? Is the reader genuine, based on your gut feeling? 

If you forget to use your intuition, you are at risk of giving your power away rather than achieving greater clarity on how to move forward. You may be tempted to accept a psychic’s words as gospel even though it doesn’t sit right with you. If you know for a fact that the reader is providing inaccurate information about you and your life, you might push down your feelings in the hope that their level of accuracy will improve as they move on to describe your bright and brilliant fortune yet to come. If the reader’s words are not clear or down-to-earth enough for you, you might resist saying anything about it due to an assumption that you should settle for a more abstract reading 

The Issue of Validation

Without being offered information that you can confirm or deny (as in the case of a reading that is focused primarily on future predictions), it’s even more important not to forget your intuition when choosing to accept or dismiss what a psychic has told you 

Whether you consider yourself very intuitive or feel some doubt about accessing or trusting it yet, it’s crucial to receive some validation that your reader is on track. For instance, a chakra reading often provides reassurance that a psychic is properly tuned in to a client’s energy and can accurately describe what they are currently experiencing in various areas of life. Validation can also be achieved through being told something very specific about your circumstances or inner world that only you would know about. That way you’ll know that your reader isn’t making things up.

A good reader will usually check in to ensure that what they are saying resonates with you, and will be open to your feedback if you let them know that something sounds wrong. This allows the opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding, to clarify what a vision or message means in case it has been interpreted incorrectly, or to steer the reading in a whole new direction if that’s what your intuition is telling you would be best.

I once saw a psychic who I thought was amazing and on the mark for the whole session, and yet she was incredibly humble at the same time, ending off with “I hope that was okay for you!” By contrast, another reader I saw would not accept that I disagreed with a statement she gave about my love life. She told me that I was not in a relationship, and when I confirmed that I actually was, she dismissed my comment and said “not a romantic one”. While a certain level of confidence can be an admirable quality, I felt comfortable with the first reader who demonstrated more humility and respect towards me, even though she expressed less certainty than the second reader. I’m sure my intuition would choose that first reader again any day! 

After the Reading

Don’t forget your intuitive ability after the reading is over, and allow it to continue to guide you afterwards. A great question to ask yourself is, “What advice or suggestions am I most inspired to act on now?” (See Pitfall No. 5 for more on what to do and not do after a reading).

3. Great Expectations

While it’s understandable that you would want a fantastic reading, it’s good to keep your expectations realistic.

I remember being impressed after watching a medium at a live show. He was interacting with the audience and sharing details about their deceased loved ones. My sister, however, was not so impressed. “Why couldn’t he give more details more quickly? Why couldn’t he have said the person he was connecting with was ‘Judy’ straight away instead of saying that the name started with ‘J’?” 

Have you ever found it hard to understand someone who was whispering to you? Or who had a strong accent that was different to yours? They’re speaking your language, standing in front of you in physical form, and yet you may have had to strain a little to understand that person, or repeat what you thought they said to receive confirmation that you heard right.

Psychics, by contrast, tune in to energy and non-physical presences. Expecting the same level of detail to come through as with an everyday conversation down here in the physical world, with no need for interpretation or checking in at all, is simply unrealistic. It can happen some of the time, but it doesn’t happen all of the time or for every reading. So keep your expectations realistic – remember your reader is only human!

Clamming Up

If you hold the expectation that a psychic will say everything you need to know without you having to engage much at all during the interaction, you may end up disappointed or suspicious that they are not for real.

While you don’t need to divulge a whole lot of information, be willing to open up energetically and answer clearly and truthfully if you’re asked to clarify something. Becoming receptive to what the reader has to say can lead to more information coming through as well 

There was a time at school when a small group of us tried to guess numbers that we were each thinking of. We would mentally pick a number from 1 to 10 and then one of us would guess what it was. Then we amped it up by choosing a number between 1 and 20. Eventually we increased the challenge to include all numbers from 1 to 100. We started to move further away from each other, wondering if proximity played a part. Sometimes we had a witness there who heard the number-picker whisper that number into their ear before the friend who was guessing the number would yell it out from the other side of the school yard. We were often accurate when guessing that number – more often than seemed possible by chance. In hindsight I find it amusing that we each accepted that a guessing feat like this could be possible, without expressing much shock or surprise when we were able to actually do it.

I tried this on my sister (the same one referred to above who was sceptical about the medium’s performance). She told me she didn’t believe it could be done, but agreed to play along. As I made the attempt to guess what number she had selected, I didn’t get anything and noticed she was looking ahead rather intently, frowning slightly. It made me think she looked kind of constipated. “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m imagining a brick wall, so you can’t get the number”.

For someone who didn’t believe it was possible, she was certainly trying very hard to prevent her chosen number from revealing itself! I’d played this guessing-the-numbers game with other kids and later workmates and even parents and teachers, but never had I witnessed someone trying so hard to block me from accessing their number. And it was interesting that it seemed to have a noticeable effect on how easily that number could pop up for me.

So, if you book a reading, please resist the urge to clam up (thus doing the equivalent of visualising a brick wall). The reading will flow much better if you don’t.

Spilling the Beans

While it’s worthwhile keeping an open mind and not clamming up too much, it’s better not to give too much away either. Unrealistic expectations can be a pitfall, but you don’t want to set your expectations too low either.

Trust that your reader is proficient enough that they don’t need you to tell them everything. If you provide lots of details about yourself or share your deep dark secrets before hearing what the reader has to say, then it’s very hard for them to offer any validating information to demonstrate that they are genuinely psychic. Let them speak first!

4. Asking the Wrong Questions

First up, let me say that I totally agree with an ex-boss who told me that the only stupid questions out there are those that are never asked. If you’re ever tempted not to ask a question for fear of looking stupid, or that the question itself is stupid, remember that not asking that question guarantees that it is going to stay with you. May as well clear it up and get it out of your system. 

At the same time, there are some types of questions that really do not serve you when it comes to psychic readings. When I use the word “wrong” in this context, it is not to say that such questions are stupid or inherently wrong but rather that they can keep you stuck or prevent you from accessing any gems of wisdom that a psychic may offer you. As such, try to avoid the following types of questions if you can: 

Yes or No Questions

Saying to a psychic that you just want a yes or no answer to a question does not allow for an exploration of an issue that may be important. For example, if you ask, “Should I move to a different neighbourhood, yes or no?”, then you haven’t accounted for the fact that there may be pros and cons to both options. Sometimes there might be a clear yes or no that comes through, but in general it’s more complicated than that, and often there simply isn’t a correct yes or no answer.

Repetitive Questions (i.e. the Same Question Worded Differently!)

It’s a waste of your time to ask the same question – even if it’s worded in different ways – over and over again. The answer is unlikely to change, plus refusal to accept an answer can interfere with the flow of a reading and stop you from having more questions answered. This may happen in the case of receiving information that was unexpected or surprising, or due to only wanting to hear a certain answer (e.g. “Are you suuure my lover won’t leave his wife for me this year?”).

Questions About What You’re Not Ready to Hear

This is a fairly straightforward one. If you suspect that the answer to your question involves something that you’re not willing to know about, and that won’t help you at all, then don’t ask the question until you feel open and ready to hear the answer.

Fantasy Questions

Try not to focus your reading on things that you may fantasize about but may not happen. For example, questions such as “When will I become rich and famous?” or “How old will I be when I marry my one true soulmate?” are not necessarily grounded in reality.

I once did a reading for someone who said she had become obsessed with a man after being told by a psychic that she was destined to be with him, despite the fact that he already had a girlfriend. The message I offered was the same one that she had received in other readings since then, that it was important she move on from the obsession and there was no reason to believe that he would be leaving his current partner any time soon. While she agreed that she didn’t know the man very well, was pretty sure that he wasn’t yet attracted or interested in her, and couldn’t name one thing about him that she liked or that may indicate he would be a suitable match for her, she said it was too hard to let go because she had waited so long and wanted to believe what the first psychic had told her. She said she didn’t even want to date anyone else in case she might miss an opportunity to be with this particular man after his inevitable breakup (despite the fact that as time went on, his relationship with the other woman only seemed to grow stronger). 

These fantasy questions could also be considered as falling into the above category of Questions About What You’re Not Ready to Hear.

5. Failure to Take Action

You may have heard that a good meditation practice prepares you to go out and live more effectively in the world. Just as the real work starts and the benefits can be experienced when you stand up and leave the meditation cushion following your practice, so it is that the hours, days, or months after a psychic reading is where the real work begins! 


It’s not ideal to move straight from a reading into a hectic schedule without ensuring that you absorb the most you can from it. That would be analogous to going for a workout or sprint following a large meal … give yourself time to digest first! 

Choosing to ignore, forget, or dismiss information received during a reading can be a real shame if that information truly resonated with you. Many people admit to not taking action after a reading for various reasons, such as a lack of focus, apprehension about making changes, or just forgetting to do so.

Avoid this pitfall if you can by taking notes during (and/or shortly after) a reading so that you can review them later, or listening to the recording if it was recorded. Go over it several times if you must in order to absorb all the information you found useful. It also helps to leave enough time after a reading to properly absorb or digest the information, and perhaps making a list of things that were suggested, so that you’ll have it to remind you to take action later.


Obviously it’s not wise to take action on the basis of what a psychic told you if it clashes with what your own intuition is telling you. However, if you agreed with any advice or messages from the reading, test them out. At worst, you may discover that the results you get aren’t as wonderful as you expected, but the possibility that your life will change for the better makes it worth being proactive. After the reading’s over, make a plan for what to do as soon as you can. Set yourself up so that you have the best chance of moving forward and making positive changes after the reading. Remember, those changes are unlikely to happen if you don’t take action.


From my own experience, I can say that there are some readings that I’ve found incredibly inspiring and even transformative when I stayed open to the guidance received and applied new knowledge or advice in my life. Through avoiding all the pitfalls listed above, my hope is that you’ll be in a much better position to prepare well, have fun, and take away as much as possible from any reading you choose to have in future.

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