Should Psychics and Healers Charge For Their Services?
Back in the day, people used to argue over and over in either direction.
One side believed that a person’s “gifts” are gifts from God and that they should use them as a charity, like Jesus. Others argue that using such gifts create an energetic exchange and as such, money is perfectly acceptable. “You don’t expect a doctor to just heal you for free, why would you expect a reiki practitioner to do so?” (as an aside, this completely ignores the discussion of whether or not we should actually have to pay for healthcare and issues around healthcare accessibility and whether or not access to healthcare is a human right, but I digress…).
Common sense tells us that people who feel entitled to another person’s time and energy with no intention of giving anything back are, well, energy vampires. I tend to agree.
Regardless, there is a solid answer to this question: people should do whatever the fuck they want. If you want to charge… charge! If you don’t… then don’t. If you want to create a sliding scale or pay-as-what-you-can model, do that! Prefer to work off of donations? Go for it!
There are upsides and pitfalls with any avenue you choose to pursue. Give too much of your energy away for free without healthy boundaries and you’re going to attract energy vampires and people will attempt to take advantage of you. Charge for your services and entitled people will complain. Such is life. Charge too much for your services, and you’re intentionally gatekeeping spirituality from people who can’t afford it.
About those “God given” gifts…
I do want to make one very bold rebuttal to the argument that psychics and healers were put here for this reason and they should be doing it for free. If you believe this, then your argument is invalid. We all have psychic abilities and every good healer knows that they don’t actually heal people, they just create an environment in which a person can tap into their own ability to heal themselves. Psychic and healers are not special, so, if you think you are entitled to these things for free and you don’t want to pay someone for them, then you can and should go learn to do it yourself just like the person giving you a reading did. There’s plenty of free resources available to you on the world wide web and right here on this website. But guess what… some classes are probably going to cost you some money, a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of hard emotional work.
That’s why we pay people who do a good job. They’ve put in the blood, sweat, and tears to hone their skills (and themselves).
Why it’s nearly impossible to do this on a mass scale for free, unless you’re independently wealthy…
In 2015, I spent precisely $996.27 of my own hard earned money to bring you In My Sacred Space. I collected precisely ZERO dollars for my effort. That’s just three dollars and some pocket change short of a grand, and it doesn’t include the human capital invested on the hundreds, if not thousands of hours I spent writing, editing, designing, and updating this website, much less posting content to social media and responding questions and comments via social media and email.
Now, it’s true that some of that money was spent on Facebook and Pinterest advertising (around $300) that didn’t necessarily have to be spent… however, had I not spent it, some of you might not be here reading this right now.
The largest chunk – $500 – is just what it cost for me to design and maintain the blog itself. And I do all of my own graphic design because I build websites for a living. If I had paid a professional to design this site, it would have probably cost me $3,000 on the cheap side but if they knew what they were doing they wouldn’t have charged a penny less than $5,000.
Yeah, sure… I could have spent no money there and used some crappy template and left my blog looking less credible, but I’ve got standards, you know, and I like pretty things.
Another $225 included in that total went toward gifts for you, my dear subscribers.
I decided to do $10 single cared tarot readings to recoup some of the cash that I spend each year. In June of 2015, I gave away those types of tarot readings free to new subscribers for the entire month. I ended up doing 76 readings in a 30 day period. It was exhausting, plus I was working full time! I was doing five readings per day to keep up which generally took me about two hours. If I had charged $10 for each of those, I still wouldn’t have made enough money to cover my expenses for the year and I’d still have been working my ass off.
I’ve met a few people who thought that this blog was my full time job. To that I say: I wish. 🙂 But alas, I work just like everyone else. So now you understand the amount of time and effort – and my free time – that I put into this.
The Energy Exchange: Money is Boundaries
This time last year I was also the admin and moderator (and many times, mediator) for a spirituality Facebook group of nearly 4,000 people. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to have ten different people messaging me in a single day asking for help or advice. And I responded to all of them… for free. But it got to be too much. The more people you help, the more people want help. Particularly when it’s free. And I was giving too much of myself. But I guarantee you that if I started charging for those things, the number of people contacting me would be cut in half, if not more. Even if it were a mere $10.
Remember those 76 free readings I did? The entire time I was charging $10 for a reading, I only had 25 clients. A simple $10 bill cut my client load down by 66%.
I’m sure that many people who have begun their psychic careers giving free readings and later started charging can also tell you about how draining it can get. And frankly, when people are doing mass readings and healings like that, I question the quality of what they’re able to give for that exact same reason.
We’re a conduit, and when we get tired, sick, or stressed, that affects what comes through us. And if someone isn’t willing to pay for a service, that more or less means they’re wanting to take something with no intention of giving in return and that becomes a part of the energetic relationship that you have with them. We call those people energy vampires for a reason.
If a service provider gives anything for free, it should be at their own discretion and they need to be mindful of their own energy.
On the other end of the spectrum from allowing yourself to be exploited by freeloaders and energy vampires are the practitioners who exploit spiritual exclusivity to build empires, and make their services inaccessible to the average human in the process.
The Commercialization of Spirituality
As spirituality becomes more and more mainstream, opportunists are jumping at the chance to build lucrative businesses around spiritually-related goods and services, charging thousands of dollars for access to their courses, programs, or coaching. But how ethical are these practices and do they even embody the very values that spirituality is built on?
Most traditional business coaches will tell you that if you have any discomfort around marketing yourself or your services, that it’s fear of putting yourself out there. They’ll tell you, in the most flowery, inspirational language possible, to quit being a coward, toughen up and power through it. They’ll disguise this message as, “You’re letting your fear control you. It’s imposter syndrome. You just need to put yourself out there.”
They’ll write post after post “challenging” you to overcome this fear and “take my course” or “join my training program” for just $[insert ridiculous price tag here] and they’ll have you rolling in clients in no time, making all the money, working from home, and living your best entrepreneurial life, no doubt attached to a photo of themselves in a thong bikini working poolside with a margarita.
“Anyone can become a coach! I’ll teach you how. Just take my online course for $5,000.”
Some of them have the audacity to suggest that an egoic desire to imitate their lifestyle is your intuition pointing you in the right direction, and that any resistance you feel to doing so is just your fear trying to hold you back. Nobody wants to let fear hold them back, right?
What they’re actually challenging you to do is to ignore your intuition, your values, and your own boundaries so that you’ll fork over your wallet to do business their way. It’s a subtle, but effective psychological manipulation tactic to get you to cross the threshold from being a passive observer to an active business lead.
This kind of marketing and advertising operate in old paradigm on a foundation of social Darwinism which is inherently at odds with spirituality at its core. It’s competition based, pitting us against one another and keeping us divided, sending us subconscious messages that there’s not enough clients, not enough money, not enough time, and the only solution is to buy more: programs, tools, workshops, consultants, courses, and on and on and on.
All of these people are utilizing traditional business models and marketing strategies which are rooted in capitalism, greed, and subconscious psychological triggers that exploit your trauma to drive you to make purchases, turning your healing process into a business model and using sacred terminology to make sales pitches. And you want this person to help you heal?
In a previous post, I wrote that spiritual work is sacred work. People are trusting you with their deepest level of vulnerability. As a practitioner, you have a responsibility to honor that within your interactions. You have a responsibility to model integrity, not just in how you do business, but in how you live your entire life.
Once the desire for financial success or fame overtakes the desire for service to the greater good, you cross the boundary into service of your own ego, and the work loses its integrity.
Healing and intuition are not products or fucking marketing gimmicks. They are the product of thousands of tears, ache, pain, and the deep soul work of burning down the illusions of many versions of ourselves. How dare anyone hijack that and use it to sell some bullshit business scheme.
A New Paradigm
Fundamentally, this model cannot survive because it is out of alignment with New Paradigm, and neither can the people who are profiting from it. For those of us who refuse to sell our souls to the business coaching gods, the message is clear: it’s time to evolve the way we promote ourselves and do business.
The old, competition-based model is founded on Darwinian survival of the fittest. Out-maneuver and overpower your competition, and cleverly and subtly tell everyone how much better you are than everyone else. But here’s the thing: “best” is an illusion. There is only “different.” Especially in the realm of personal development and spirituality, “best” doesn’t exist. There is no spiritual authority. That is both the beauty and the madness of it.
Then 2020 came along and rocked the spiritual community, bringing to light the white-washing of spirituality, the economic inequality of the coaching hierarchy, the gate-keeping, and the spiritual bypassing, revealing the shadow of the spiritual community itself and it’s fundamental reliance on a system that capitalizes on human trauma. To be clear, I’m not saying that spiritual practitioners shouldn’t make money. I’m saying that charging $5,000 per person for an entry-level workshop when that’s more than most people make in a month and using messaging that intentionally trigger’s someone’s trauma as a way to get them to make a purchase is excessive, socially irresponsible, and more about getting rich than about helping people.
As a person seeking spiritual services I challenge you:
Give very careful scrutiny to those “spiritual” people you put your faith in. The ones with their professional photos who look like they’re “living their best life” on Instagram and Facebook, who talk about their dark times in vague generalities in a formulaic caption that always ends with something to sell you (or “Tag a friend and share with someone who needs to see this!”). The ones who say, “Look at me. Look at what I’ve done. Look at how much I’ve achieved. I can help you do the same…” for a price.
If the main message of their narrative is to learn from their success and not from their struggle, they’re not authentic. If the main message of their narrative is learn from their “struggle,” but they never present that struggle in true, vulnerable terms, they’re not authentic.
As a potential practitioner who is looking to make a livable wage doing something that you truly feel called to as your life’s purpose:
The reason we feel a strong aversion to traditional styles of marketing isn’t because we’re afraid of putting ourselves out there and it isn’t because we don’t know how to market ourselves. It’s because sales pitches and calls to action and studying our ideal client so we can tell them what they want to hear in order to get them to buy from us feels repulsive. It feels fake. It feels dirty. It’s not in alignment with New Paradigm and heart-centered entrepreneurs intuitively feel that. It’s spiritually bankrupt, and we know it.
We’re not scared of offering services. We’re not afraid of our own greatness. We’re in tune with our hearts. Our spirit. Our values. And we’re not willing to compromise our spiritual integrity to get more clients and make more money. We are here to be of service to the greater good. Our mission is heart-led. Our vision is soul-centered.
I believe that the quality of our work and services is directly correlated with our integrity as people. Demonstrating an honest assessment of yourself and your own journey is the only credibility there is, and it’s all you need because it automatically demonstrates mastery and seeds respect.
The new model of self-promotion barely involves self at all. It’s community-based and purpose-driven. Like-minded entrepreneurs collaborate and cross-promote to lift each other up—together. We recognize that there’s enough to go around for everyone and that by working with one another, we can all benefit and make a difference for the people we help without charging absurd prices that only allow the privileged to have access to them.
Healing Should Be Accessible To Everyone Who Wants It
Some people do not feel a sense of entitlement, they simply can’t afford to pay. Keeping this in mind when you launch a spiritual business is imperative. Find ways to offer low-cost or free services to those who would love to pay if they could, implement some of those alternative payment models I mentioned earlier, or come up with a plan for community care days where you donate your time to provide free services. Additionally, provide free access to material on your website like blogs and ebooks.
PS: If you found today's topic intriguing and you're an entrepreneur or practitioner who offers services to others, I would recommend checking out my articles on conscious business and subscribing to get notified when there are new posts. Learn how you can work with me here and be sure to check out my new online course, Ethical Entrepreneurship.
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