Write a Psychic Code of Ethics
Written by Alexandra Chauran. Copyright(c) 2009, Psychic Jobs Online, all rights reserved. Originally published in 2009 in Psychic Jobs Online.
American pacifist and 1931 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams once said, "action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics." As professional psychics, we are thrust or driven to the position of spiritual leaders. Whether or not we openly accept responsibility for this role, this sacred trust has already been gifted to us by our clients. While we may all be adept at communicating our ethics and morals, they are all without value if we do not live them.
All of us live to our own standards of right and wrong, but those standards might blur or shift depending on circumstance. It is easy to think that you stand firmly by your ethics. You may decide that you would never try to help somebody in a manner beyond your expertise, but if a client is standing there with a large wad of money in hand, you may decide that perhaps the reason you've never been able to help such a person before is because you've never tried!
In order to truly take a measure of your current ethical standing, I encourage every psychic to create his or her own personal code of ethics. That way, if you do choose to reevaluate your ethical life, you can do so with accuracy. This article shall discuss several circumstances which arouse ethical considerations in those with a shared morality that you may consider addressing in your personal code of ethics.
Your own match of personal belief system with that of your client can be an important consideration to many clients of yours. For example, some clients may have strong Christian beliefs that can make it difficult for them to approach psychics due to passages in the Bible which prohibit divination and spiritualism. For such reasons, they may seek out angel readers or advice without divination. Even if you don't fit into that category, It can be easy to put on a happy face and pretend that you are something you are not simply because you don't believe in those Bible verses. However, not only are you unknowingly putting the client in what he or she might consider spiritual jeopardy, but you're starting your own relationship with the client off on the wrong foot through lies. Sprinkle a little of the belief system that informs your reading throughout your personal code of ethics.
The age of the clients you serve can be called into question for multiple reasons. First of all, since minors cannot legally enter into contracts themselves, from a purely legal standpoint in your area you may not be permitted to read for children, nor would they be able to make agreements about your terms of service on their own. While some readers will gladly read for children with a parent or guardian present, others believe that some forms of wisdom may not be appropriate for those under the age of 18, or 21, or until after his or her Saturn return or even under age 40! Make your own decisions now before a child at a fair is waving cash under your nose asking for a reading!
Many clients value confidentiality, and it is an important consideration even if you have already decided not to sell anyone's name or contact information and not to share identifying information in publications or in your autobiography. Begin with those obvious points, and decide now whether you'd sell a list of email addresses for a lot of money, or whether you'd like to end your career with a dazzling, tell-all book about the celebrities for which you have read. But after that, consider some more mundane situations. What would you do if a husband and wife, unbeknownst to each other, each came to you for readings on their marriages? Would you be biased if you knew the husband was cheating? Would you share the truth of what you knew with the wife if you knew that it would influence her decisions? This can and does happen! What would you do if a client that you knew well threatened suicide, or even murder? What if a client was refusing to go to the hospital for a critical illness? In my state, psychics are often also registered counselors for legal reasons, since we give counsel for money. As a registered counselor, I am also a mandatory reporter, which means that I have to tell the appropriate authorities if somebody is a danger to themselves or others or gravely disabled, regardless of whether I had already promised the client that I can "keep a secret" or that his or her reading is "confidential." Under what circumstances would you share client information? Make this clear on your personal code of ethics.
Nearly all honest readers begin their careers believing that they will always share the truth with their clients, no matter what! But this self-policing is often what first falls to the wayside. Consider a situation where a fifteen year old girl at a birthday party asks whether her dad's smoking is going to kill him and you do see a death of lung cancer in his future. Do you tell the child? Do you lie, or do you back out of the reading whatsoever? That situation may be rare, but it does happen, and it happened to me. A more common situation is on a site or a network on which there are ratings, when a client comes to you and makes it quite clear that he or she wants to hear good news. If you tell him or her bad news, you receive a very negative rating. After a few of those slaps to the face, readers are often tempted to paint a rosy future in order to receive the rewards of positive ratings and even large financial tips and bonuses! Make an agreement with yourself now about where you stand with honesty, and what you will do when your boundaries are pushed. Write this in your personal code of ethics.
While you're on an honesty kick, decide now which types of people in this world you can and cannot read. It may be difficult to acknowledge your prejudices, but it can be even more difficult for a client to run into a judgmental reader! Can you honestly advise a woman having an affair if you are biased towards monogamy? Do you welcome gay and lesbian clients? Are you a pet psychic, or do you believe that animals do not have souls? Be up-front with the client base you wish to support, otherwise you will be giving poor service to a client base you don't even want.
The Tarot Certification Board of America's Client Bill of Rights includes the following: "Tarot readers are not qualified to give medical advice unless they are physicians. Tarot readers are not qualified to give financial advice unless they are qualified financial advisors. Tarot readers are not qualified to give legal advice unless they are attorneys." Of course divination professionals can be used to supplement the advice of other professionals, and in the hustle and bustle of on-line competition for psychic work, it can be easy to make harmful assumptions of who clients have already asked. No matter how many times a day you read or hear the question, "am I pregnant," decide now what your first reaction shall be every time. Include a list of local, national and international hot-lines and free referral services for problems with suicide, rape, physical abuse, shelter, substance abuse, family planning and anything else that you find coming your way.
The most dangerous ethical state of mind for a good psychic is complacency. It is easy to decide that you will never be tempted to change your ethical position or to step outside of your own ethical boundaries. For example, many married couples are certain that they will never find anyone outside the marriage attractive, and are astounded when something "just happens" with another person outside the marriage, deciding that it was proof the marriage wasn't right in the first place. However, couples who acknowledge outside attractions and take intentional actions not to put themselves in positions that risk their values are less likely to commit infidelity. Likewise, if you acknowledge that you are human and may someday be tempted do do something outside of your ethics, whether it be for a large sum of money or for a client who just seems so desperate that you want to help him her at all costs, you will be prepared for when that can and does happen.
Begin by writing out that code of ethics and deciding what you will do in each case if you are pushed. For each situation, find yourself an appropriate referral, as that will help you end the temptation quickly and assist the client. At a fair, you might pick out a booth suitable for children if you have decided not to read for them, and direct the children there. If you don't believe in angels, find an angel reader that you respect to whom you can send business. Most importantly, allow yourself to honestly re-evaluate your personal code of ethics on a regular basis, such as on your birthday or New Year's day. It is okay to change your written ethics if they no longer match who you have grown to be as a person. Be especially vigilant for things that you should add to your code of ethics that you may not have yet encountered at the time you originally wrote it! Your code will be a living document, just as your ethics should be expressed throughout your changing life.