Going To A Psychic Can Be Strangely Comforting When You’re Feeling Vulnerable

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Nobody ever knows what to say when your eight year relationship collapses. Friends and family will offer well meaning platitudes but, really, they can’t know for a fact things will get better. 

This is frustrating because it’s times like this when you want solid answers. Was it my fault? Will I ever fall in love again, or even, will I ever feel even mildly okay again?

This is the situation I’ve found myself in recently. The cosy coupley future I’d envisioned had been flushed, irretrievably, down the toilet and I was facing cold, terrifying uncertainty. Reality and logic just wouldn’t do.

In a moment of tearful madness I contacted a local psychic and booked a reading. She had excellent Yelp reviews and this surely counted for something. Comments such as ‘very accurate’ smothered me like a witchy security blanket.

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This compulsion is pretty common. Head of Goldsmith University’s Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Professor Christopher French, spoke to UNILAD about how paranormal beliefs can increase during difficult times:

All kinds of magical thinking, including paranormal beliefs, will increase when people feel like things are getting, or are already, out of control.

According to Professor French:

By going to see a psychic, you might be able to somehow give yourself that extra edge. You might be able to see what’s coming, what the future holds, and so on and so forth.

That might help with the situation, especially when you’re feeling very vulnerable. There’s that sense that something could come out of the blue and knock you for six.

People don’t like that. It makes them feel very, very uncomfortable.

I’m a reasonably cynical person and have watched enough Derren Brown to figure out some of the cleverly deceptive tricks of the psychic trade. However, I was sick of being told to take things slowly, to get manicures and to devour a lot of chocolate in front of Legally Blonde. 

I didn’t want ‘me-time’ and spring cleaning and new hobbies. I wanted to imagine some order in the universe again, even an imaginary order.

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I pulled myself through the grey sludge of the early post-breakup days with the vague idea of things making sense after the reading. I admit, the critical part of my brain was feeling a little woolly…

The day finally came and I suddenly wasn’t sure what I wanted. I realised, despite my scepticism, I’d poured a hell of a lot of hope into this reading.

The psychic seemed quite ordinary, but had keen eyes which swept over me searchingly. We sat in her lounge, at opposite sides of a coffee table filled with tarot cards.

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She was convincing enough to be comforting, naming some names from the ‘spirit world’. Some names meant nothing to me and she explained how they would do in the future.

She mentioned one name which meant something to me, but it’s a fairly popular name so my feelings were mixed.

According to Professor French, it’s not unusual for those who visit a psychic to hold on to scraps of relevant information and ignore the irrelevant information, or convince ourselves all will become clear.

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She told me how I needed to move on and forgive, how I just needed to concentrate on myself. A lot of what she said was not dissimilar to the advice I’d received from friends, but it all just seemed so much more mystical and entrancing.

According to Professor French:

Some people, for some reason, if the advice is kind of wrapped up in a paranormal package they find it somehow more compelling and convincing, rather than if it was just a friend saying, ‘well, I think you should dump him’ or whatever else it may be.

I admit I shed a bit of a mawkish tear when she made some pleasant predictions. I was going to travel, I was going to find my ‘genuine’ soulmate, I was going to have a daughter.

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According to Professor French:

Most psychics tell people what they want to hear, and people come away from the psychic feeling better than when they went in, and even if it’s just false hope they’ve been given based on no real information at all, they do get a temporary psychological boost.

So this is the kind of situation where under certain circumstances people may need a temporary lift in their spirits or a bit of a lift in their confidence. So it might give them that boost.

In the same way, you wouldn’t encourage someone to become dependent on anti-anxiety information, but there might be some times in your life where just for a short period of time, you need that emotional crutch to get through.

I knew deep down these were things she knew I wanted to hear, things many heartbroken twentysomethings want to hear.

But still, the certainty in her voice, the specifics of ‘daughter’ rather than children, felt like a relief. Life would go on. This pain was meant to happen to bring something new and better.

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Professor French explained how my temporary injection of hope was completely normal:

A standard thing you will get is ‘I know things are rough at the moment but I can see in six months time, things will be much brighter, you’ll have got over him, you’ll have got a new job, or whatever else that may be’.

And that can sometimes lift people up and give them the boost they need.

However, situations where a person becomes dependent on psychics could prove unhealthy. Particularly if a person is becomes dependent on pricey psychic phone hotlines.

There have been instances of people being duped by dubious psychics who charge them extra money to lift a ‘curse’ which is preventing them from living their ideal life.

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According to Professor French:

You don’t want to encourage that kind of dependency. It’s obviously psychologically better if they stand on their own two feet and deal with the problem themselves.

The problem is, there have been very few proper studies into whether psychic do, overall, more harm than good, or more good than harm.

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For me, going to see a psychic was a way of thinking about the future again in a positive and excited way. However, I don’t think this will be an experience I’ll repeat.

It can be interesting but make sure you have additional, non mystical, support in place during difficult times.

The people at The Samaritans are there, ready to listen to you day or night. Check out how to contact them here