Mediums have been taking a beating in the press.

Sad to say, but the professional practice and field of psychic and medium services has a long way to go to become reliable and credible. While I don’t agree with everything recently said by critics and skeptics, they are right to be raising questions.

If you missed it, check these out:

Inside the Secret Sting Operation to Expose Celebrity Psychics

John Oliver Mocks Psychic Readings on Last Week Tonight


The good, the bad and the ugly. 

Mediumship is like any other professional field (attorneys, doctors, financial advisors, therapists, etc.), in that you will find a very wide range of competency and ethics among its practitioners —even among those who hold certifications:

  • There are cons who prey on vulnerabilities (in people and/or laws) for their own gain.
  • There are people who have good intentions but lack adequate skill and development.
  • There are skilled, professional experts who apply their skills in service of their clients.

As a professional medium, I am always seeking to advance the ethics and professionalism of the field, to protect you — the consumer. Let’s look at what’s really going on out there, how you can tell what’s real and not, and how to avoid the people who are just putting on an act!

Note: This is all my own opinion, based on my experience as a professional medium and teacher of mediumship. It is not my intent to refer to any specific person who represents themselves as a medium; rather I want to empower YOU to make your own best decisions.

Yes, frauds are out there.

Frauds want money, fame and/or prestige. There are three kinds of “readings” that these folks do.

Fraud #1: Predatory Manipulations

These con men (and women) use fear, mystery, pain and drama to draw you in and scare you. They will often tell you that your deceased loved one is in pain or serious trouble, or that you have been unknowingly put under a curse that is harming you.

They will tell you that they can immediately help your loved one, clear curses and spells, and protect you — for an additional fee. Some time after your first meeting, they may phone you (out of the blue) to say that they have studied your situation and now have new ways to help you — for a fee.

Real and professional mediums do not manipulate or use scare tactics. They are transparent about their fees (I personally believe fees should be listed on websites). They will not surprise you with add-on fees or try to upsell you. And they certainly do not call you and push more services!


Fraud #2: Hot Readings

A fraud who does a “hot reading” delivers pre-known information but makes it seem like they have made a true medium connection. Before the reading (or working with a partner), this con gathers specific, compelling facts about you and your family (from the internet or other ways) and then weaves them seamlessly into their “mediumship” delivery.

Of course, they add a bit of drama and style to help you believe the act! The reader will provide names, dates, places, maybe even some elements of a spirit’s personality. The information will be close to 100% accurate, and you think — wow, that is incredible!

However, you will not hear any validating information or messages that only you could know, that wasn’t published somewhere. When you reflect later about the reading, you may feel a bit empty.

No medium is 100% accurate all the time. While some mediums are quite good with getting factual information from the other side, the most effective and professional mediums will be asking the spirits to provide information or evidence that only you would know. If the medium sounds like they have been reading a phone book… they probably were.


Fraud #3: Cold Readings

A “cold reading” will sound like a real medium reading, but the information is not coming from a legitimate medium connection with the other side. If the reader KNOWS they are cold reading but presents this as a medium reading, then that person is behaving fraudulently.

Frauds who cold-read are phenomenal observers of people and behavior — and highly persuasive as well. They are able to prompt you into unwittingly give them cues, clues and information.

Essentially, they go “fishing” — making generalized statements or asking questions (“Who has a parent who passed?”). They closely observe your reactions to find your “tells” — the involuntary reactions in your face or body when they have hit on something that resonates with you.

In a group, this “reader” will pick out the audience member who responds with the most outward emotion. That person is the most vulnerable AND most likely to continue to readily provide cues as the fishing expedition continues.

Once cold readers have gleaned a little information from you, they construct a story that will be generally credible to you and will make you feel good in the moment. But later, as you reflect on the reading, something seems missing, something seems off. You don’t have that same warm feeling. You realize that you never received any truly personal message or validation with information that only you could have known.


Under-developed mediums are out there working, too.

Establishing and holding a medium connection — communicating with those on the “other side” — is incredibly difficult to do. It takes years of practice to become skilled in managing energy, holding a strong connection (and simultaneous connections), and receiving, organizing and delivering information. (There’s a whole lot more to it, but that’s a subject for another time!)

If you go to different mediums, you will most likely encounter some who are still in the earlier stages of their development. They are often unaware of their skill level and authentically believe themselves to be fully developed mediums.

Under-developed mediums don’t realize when they are cold-reading.

Under-developed mediums sometimes cold-read but don’t know it. They are inadvertently taking verbal and non-verbal cues without awareness or any ill intent. They often are genuinely connecting to spirit, but they rely more on the client’s cues than the spirit’s communication.

As a teacher, when I find a student cold reading, I make them aware of it. I teach them different ways to conduct medium readings, so that they learn to do all the work themselves and not rely on the client for feedback.


Under-developed mediums may not realize where they are sourcing information.

Psychic and medium connections are not the same thing, and under-developed readers may not know the difference. They will often want you to provide a name, a photo or object of your loved one. If they have psychic skill, they will be able to then glean past information related to that individual. Often times they do make a true and legitimate medium connection at the start, but it is fleeting. The don’t have the skill to hold the connection, they may not realize when it’s gone, and they slip into psychic information instead.

The only way you will know if a reading is psychic is that all the information will be of the past. There is no sustained in-the-moment connection, so this reader will not be able to provide actual messages. For example, they will not be able to say that your loved one saw you or was with you in spirit when you (for example):

  • Attended your son’s kindergarten graduation two weeks ago
  • Gave away all of your deceased husband’s things last month — except that one favorite shirt that you hid in your drawer
  • Stopped your car today and cried when that one Beatles song came on


So, what can YOU do?

Regardless of the reader you choose, never, ever “feed the medium.” A true, professional medium will stop you from proactively providing information. Let the medium do the work to get the information legitimately through the medium connection and then pass it to you for validation.

Do what you can to research a medium before selecting. Look for signs of ethics and professionalism. In my opinion, you should be able to find the medium’s prices and policies clearly spelled out.

Read the reviews and look for specifics rather than generalities. If the medium has certifications listed, find out what that actually means. Did they attend a workshop for a weekend? Did they go through a rigorous testing process?

As part of your research or vetting process, don’t be afraid to ask questions to a medium about their background, ethical practices, and ways of connecting. If the medium cannot or will not give clear answers, they may not be the right reader for you.

Real, professional mediums serve both Spirit and you.

There are a lot of fantastic mediums out there in the world who make genuine medium connections and help people in so many ways. They have worked very hard to develop their skills and have devoted their lives to this work. Some of them are on TV. Most of them are not. As a teacher, I will always emphasize ethics and professionalism with my students. Our field can be better, and it must be better if we are to serve as Spirit truly intends.