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What is Psychic Ability?

An Introduction to the Tarot

Choosing the Right Tarot Card Reader

Hydromancy or Water Scrying


Not an Exact Science

Developing a Code of Ethics


Developing a Code of Ethics

When a person visits a fortune-teller of any kind, he or she is likely to be putting themselves in a very vulnerable position. In my estimation, over half of them have decided to make the visit because they are worried, upset, or otherwise "emotionally delicate". They want to hear that everything is going to be all right, that the "bad thing" they dread can be avoided. They look to the fortune-teller to bring them hope or peace. A reading, is (or should be) a very intimate experience between the reader and the querent (questioner). Often, highly personal information is disclosed, and there may be tears as issues and events that have been buried for years are uncovered. All this can put the person into a highly suggestible state - which gives the fortune teller great power. Luckily most readers are unlikely to willingly abuse this power; in fact, I suspect that many don’t even realize just how much they can influence their client.

Still, the fact remains, the client is vulnerable, and the reader is faced with a huge ethical responsibility. Laying down some guidelines in a Code of Ethics will help protect the client and take some of the pressure off the reader. I am suggesting here that the reader should set his or her own ethical and practical boundaries. A Code of Ethics should cover standards of behaviour - what you do or do not consider appropriate. It should also clearly outline what your client can and can not expect from you.

A personal code of ethics will inevitably depend on personal beliefs and philosophy. Bear in mind that these can change over time, so it's perfectly all right to change your code to reflect this. When drafting your code of ethics, consider what points you would like to see in place, if you were to visit a reader. Remember though, it's not one sided. A code of ethics is there to benefit and protect both the client and the reader. What are you prepared to offer your clients? What are you NOT prepared to offer your clients? What do you consider ethical / unethical? Jot down your ideas and then form them into statements and write them out in a clear and organised fashion.

When you have developed your code of ethics, put it up on the wall of your reading room or waiting room; post it on your web site, or print highlights of it in your brochure. Reading examples of what others have come up can be is helpful too.

Here are my "Top Seven " points, together with the reasons I chose them.

For me, the first and foremost rule, my Prime Directive, if you will, is:
If you can't make it any better, at least don't make it worse.

In this directive the word "it " covers just about everything - the situation; helping the client to feel better; calming fears, providing hope or comfort and so on. I would consider it inexcusable on my part if a client left feeling worse that when they walked in.

Next on my list:
Try to refrain from giving advice. Present options instead.

I feel strongly about this one. Advice is often only good for the giver. In other words, everyone is different. We have different goals, different fears and different motivations. A course of action that would handle the situation well for me may not work at all for someone else. Instead, I try to provide options so that the person can choose for themselves. Remember it's not about you. It's their life and their lesson. And it's their choice how they choose to learn it (or not)

Never share anything that is said in a reading with anyone else, without the client's permission.

Pretty self-explanatory I think.

Do not judge the client, no matter what he or she has done.

It's not my place - and anyway, I'm far from squeaky clean - something about pots and kettles springs to mind. I am concerned with the person's ultimate spiritual well being, and confession is cleansing. My role is to be a safe terminal.

Make the reading as positive as possible, but don't avoid or ignore the negative.

This is a tough one for a lot of readers. When I first started reading cards for the public, I knew that I would be faced with a dilemma when I saw something undesirable in the cards. Should I tell the person or withhold the information? If I tell them will it violate my Prime Directive? But don't they have a right to know and is it really my choice anyway?

Well, first, I believe that, with a few exceptions, the future isn't written in stone - we can change it. Second, I believe that I - or any other reader - can only predict probable outcomes based on past trends and present behaviours. Third, I believe that I can be wrong - Hey it happens! Right at the start of my practice, I asked that: if an unfortunate event is unavoidable;
if it could do the person no good whatsoever to know about it;
if it would only cause misery and anxiety to know;
if they weren't ready or not strong enough to hear it - then please don't let me see it.

Yes, that's right, I passed the responsibility on to a Higher Power that is better able to make those calls than I am. That way, I know that whatever I see in the cards - even if it's not good - is there for a good and helpful reason, and it's OK for me to tell the client. It may come as a warning so that changes can be made and the event avoided. It may come as a preparation, or as a lesson, or many other reasons, but the knowledge will be ultimately beneficial to the person. Sometimes, a bad thing has happened to a client, and afterwards they have said to me "Hmmm, you didn't foresee that did you? " I answer them truthfully "No, I guess I didn't. " - and breathe a silent "Thank you! ", to the Higher Power that prevented me from doing so. All this leads naturally to my next rule:

When relaying negative information always deal with it in as positively as possible.

I really don't like telling people anything that negative, but because the arrangement I've described above is in place, I know that the negative things I see will carry with them a positive, helpful angle. This is what I try to focus on. And I also endeavour to be sensitive and gentle with such things.

A code of ethics is a valuable tool, which lets clients know that the reader is an ethical person who takes their work seriously and cares about their well being. It also helps the reader to feel more confident and protect him or her from having to make awkward decisions during a reading that may cause discomfort or regrets afterwards. It's never too early or too late to develop a code of ethics.

By Sylvia Richards July 17th 2009

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About the Author: Sylvia Richards is a well known natural psychic who can provide you with a psychic reading using Tarot cards by email. To know more about Sylvia and how to book an email reading, please visit Sylvia's page here.