Thinking of consulting a psychic?
The following advice will help you to get the most from your reading.

While the majority of psychic consultants - including clairvoyants, astrologers, Tarot readers, mediums and so on - are genuine and sincere in their work, unfortunately there are also fraudsters posing as psychics; and there are many other consultants who are honest and well-meaning but simply incompetent. Unfortunately it isn't always easy to tell the good guys from the bad ones in this field, or the talented psychics from the not-so-talented. There are no formal qualifications or licences required to become a psychic consultant, and there are no universal standards. A person's outward appearance and demeanor isn't always a reliable guide to how psychic or legitimate they are. A reader who appears to be scatterbrained may turn out to be exceptionally astute and intuitive when it comes to giving readings, whereas a reader who appears to be personable and intelligent may turn out be a charlatan, or to have little or no psychic ability. That's why it is always preferable, whenever possible, to get someone you know to recommend a consultant, or go to an established consultant with a good reputation.

In her excellent, commonsense book, Psychic Counselling (Aquarian/Thorsons), Liz Hodgkinson writes: "One of the main advantages of psychic counselling is that it is extremely quick. For whereas standard psychotherapy and psychoanalysis can take months or even years, psychic counselling can often achieve astonishing results in a matter of hours. This is because psychic counsellors make full use of an ancient ability often derided or marginalized in our supposedly rational and logical world - that of intuition. Without always knowing exactly how or why, the truth of a situation flashes into their mind. The best counsellors can spend a few minutes looking at you and then "see" your past, present and aspects of your future in a kind of vision. But although the best psychics can be wonderful, there is of course a lot of scope for trickery, for sheer bad advice and for leading people up the garden path."

The following, simple guidelines will help you to get the best from your reading and avoid some of the pitfalls mentioned above.

1. Never visit a consultant without first making an appointment, either in writing or by telephone. Also ask whether he or she is a member of any well-known society or organization that you might have heard of - such as the British Astrological & Psychic Society - or that you can check up on. It only takes a quick phone call or an email to find out whether a reader is who and what they say they are.

2. Always ask the consultant for full details of his or her fees before confirming your appointment.

3. Make sure he or she is offering the type of reading you want. Some clairvoyants offer predictive readings; others specialize in counselling and problem-solving. Still others offer personality assessment, past lives readings, life-direction or career guidance - and so on. Not taking the trouble to find out exactly what kind of reading a consultant specializes in is by far the most common reason that people are disappointed with their reading.

4. Take notes. Bring a notebook with you and write down what the clairvoyant tells you. If you have a small tape-recorder bring it with you, but make sure the reader doesn't mind if you tape-record your session. Some readers don't mind tape-recorders - in fact many provide tape-recordings of all the readings they give - while others find them distracting.

5. If you don't understand what the reader is telling you, don't be afraid to say so. And ask questions if you are not clear about what is being said.

6. Never visit a consultant on your own - always take a friend along with you.

7. If a clairvoyant tells you there is a "hex" or "curse" on you and offers to remove it for a fee, get up and leave straightway. Also be wary of readers who offer to sell you expensive "wish" candles or talismans to ward off "evil spirits" which they claim to be able to see around you.

Well, this varies enormously, depending on a number of factors - the type of reading you are having, the experience and reputation of the consultant and so on. In the "psychics market", as in most other areas, you tend to get what you pay for. Most competent readers charge at least £25 - £50 for a reading. Astrologers usually charge higher fees because of the amount of time and work involved in preparing a chart. And a "celebrity" psychic's consultation fee can be anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds. Again, you should always ask the consultant for details of his or her fees when arranging your appointment. The more questions you ask on the phone, the less likely you are to let yourself in for unpleasant surprises later on.


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