Well, I suppose it’s that time again, Friends. It’s another episode of This Gives Me a Fucking Migraine Every Single Time.

Last month I read an article in the New York Times about a ‘Psychic’ who was sentenced to 40 months in prison and required to pay $1.6 million in restitution to the woman she bilked out of $500,000 – 1.5 million dollars, over a period of seven years.

I’m sure you don’t need me to explain to you that this predator, who claimed to be a gypsy fortuneteller (just a sec, I need to go bang my head against the kitchen cupboards to make the pain stop) was not a bona fide intuitive, not in any way, shape, or form.

I’m also pretty sure you don’t need me to remind you that anyone who is truly a gifted intuitive would never under any circumstances approach you at all, let alone at a shopping mall, let alone to tell you that you appeared to be suffering from the effects of a curse someone put on you.

By the way, I hope that we’re all on the same page about curses. For the record: not real. Which means that their removal is not a thing and for damn sure it doesn’t cost money.

The damage that this grifter did to her victim’s psyche and pocketbook is shocking, but she also did more than just that. Anytime anyone poses as a psychic to rip someone off, they are also hurting the reputation of all the good, hard-working people in my profession.

That headline, though. Why did the newspaper of record describe a criminal as a ‘psychic’? Several times in the body of the article she’s referred to as a psychic, no quotes. Huh? She is also described as “the purported psychic” once, and a “self-proclaimed spiritual counselor” another time. Hey NYT, are these all meant to be interchangeable? You’re not really implying that all psychics are frauds, right?

I’m inclined to give them a bit of a discount rate on those quotation marks because there is a chance they were trying to distinguish a poser from the ranks, indicating that they believe there is in fact, a standard of authenticity that most psychics meet. A ‘psychic’ isn’t a real psychic, in other words.

But I’m left wondering, why use the word psychic at all? Intentional or not, by using ‘psychic’, and psychic to describe the same person, the New York Times is at a minimum suggesting the word isn’t quite what you thought it meant previously, which is simply someone who possesses extrasensory gifts. Are they implying that ‘psychic’ means ‘so-called psychic’? Or are they just assuming that it doesn’t matter which way you use it, because everyone knows that a psychic is always on some level a confidence criminal.

If so, it’s a cheap shot. And it makes me cranky. I mean, it’s absolutely fine by me to just come right out and say what she is, which is a thief. But listen up NYT, we all know that there has always been and will always be, a small percentage of scoundrels and nasties in every single line of work performed as such within the context of our human civilization. But I don’t know of any profession in which the majority reputation of the upstanding, honest and talented members are completely conflated with the scumbags. Where the examples of a few bad apples stand for the profession as a whole.

Except for mine.

Maybe attorneys? Auto mechanics? Timeshare salespeople, eldercare professionals, hedge fund managers, politicians? Who am I forgetting? Seriously though, do we really believe that entire professions are only pretending to help when they actually mean harm? Do they, en masse deserve everything from side-eye and suspicion to outright derision? Do we really believe that every one of them are shysters?

Or ‘shysters’, whatever.

My point is, Ms. Mug Shot is a criminal and I am not. Yet here I am, explaining that to you. Taking yet another opportunity to expose the not uncommon bias that’s always there, like invisible poison gas. Trotting out the irony that in order to avoid getting taken in by fraud in any profession, you must listen to your gut. And reminding you that if you feel drawn to consult an intuitive (which I hope you do) but never have, rest easy in the knowledge that by a wide margin, most of us have ethical best business practices. We have set fees, we build structures into our practices that prevent dependency, we refer to therapists and others when we feel our clients can be further helped by more traditional modalities. Above all, we believe your relationship with your own intuition is the most sacred relationship there is, so it is our first responsibility to help foster that.

A good intuitive teaches you to trust yourself. So trust yourself. And if you don’t know how to do that yet, get references.

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