Because the word “psychic” is so well known and so often used, even people who are primarily mediums have taken to using the term psychic medium. And to confuse matters further, many practitioners who are basically psychic with occasional mediumistic moments prefer to call themselves psychic mediums—largely because of the increased popularity of mediumship in recent years, thanks to shows like TLC’s Long Island Medium.
One big reason that today’s mediums often use the term “psychic medium” is that the term “psychic” in popular use stretches back to the 1970s, while the term “medium,” though popular in the heyday of modern Spiritualism—from about 1920 through the 1950s—fell out of favor. When mediums James Van Praagh and John Edward began demonstrating message mediumship on television in the late 1990s, “medium” wasn’t well understood, so the word “psychic” was added.
Add in the fact that “psychic” is a much more unique term than “medium,” which has several other meanings besides describing a person who is capable of perceiving and communicating with departed souls, and it’s pretty clear that, confusing or not, the term “psychic medium” is here to stay.
A natural result of this conflation of terms is that people trying to decide who’s the best choice to help them through a life challenge find themselves baffled. Even my own husband has asked me, “why do you say you’re a psychic medium? You’re a medium!”
Then I remind him that all mediums must also develop psychic skills as a foundation for their mediumship. You could think of mediumship as a “master’s degree” in psychic development. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “all mediums are psychic, but not all psychics are mediums.” It’s true.
But there are distinct differences between how psychics and mediums work. Depending on the challenges you’re facing, you may prefer one type of practitioner to the other. Psychics work with you directly, tuning into your unique energy field. Imagine a single line connecting you and the psychic. Mediums add in additional layers of departed loved ones, angels and guides, making a sort of triangle among you, the medium, and the guides and loved ones beyond, in the (typically) unseen realms.
Psychics Use Tools More
Often psychics use tools to aid in making a connection to you. Tarot or other divination cards, astrological charts, photographs or holding an object belonging to the person they’re reading for are just some ways that psychics “tune in” to read for their clients. Mediums work without tools; if a so-called medium requires assistance from tools, they are likely still developing their mediumistic skills, or they prefer to tap in psychically first, and build up to the mediumship level.
As a natural medium, I’ve always preferred to work with the spirit world initially, starting “at the top” of the triangle you might say, asking for positive, loving guides, teachers and deceased loved ones to help with the concerns all of us living human lives deal with—health, relationships and careers, and more.
If you know anyone who is naturally able to connect to the spirit world—many children do this easily although it is often confusing to their families—you may have learned that “grounding” such people—I was one!—is accomplished in part by learning the discipline of psychic techniques such as tarot and astrology. Before we can move along all three lines of that triangle comfortably, we have to be able to consistently draw a one-to-one, person-to-person of connection.
What Psychics Do
Psychics also tend to focus more on your character and personality, and your interactions with others in your life. Well developed psychics are often helpful if you’re seeking clarity about situations you’re in the midst of, and particularly if you’re seeking to get a feel for how things will go over the next few weeks to few months. They’re also much better at discerning the timing of events than mediums.
That’s because psychics are work at the human connection level, where time is a construct we use routinely, day in and day out. Mediums work with the realms beyond human existence and outside of planet earth, the way we track “time” is essentially meaningless. That’s why mediums tend to struggle more with timing of specific events.
From economics class you may be familiar with the term “macro-economics” which focuses on the bigger picture; that’s what mediums do. In contrast, psychics are all about the equivalent of “micro-economics,” those issues involving our day-to-day lives on earth, rather than our innate spiritual nature. Another way to look at it is to think of mediums as more philosophical, and of psychics as more practical.
How Mediums Differ
Perhaps the biggest difference between mediums and psychics is that mediums are able to build a connection to deceased loved ones. Again, that’s because mediums work beyond the earthly level—a triangle versus a single line. Those spiritual connections often provide their insights, through the medium, about current events and decision. Because of that, mediums may appear at times to be providing psychic insights. But mediums actually are communicating with your deceased family and friends, spirit guides and teachers.
Keep in mind, though, that if, say your grandmother always wanted you to become a nurse, that grandmother may still hold that position, regardless of your interests and plans. That’s why a psychic can often be of more assistance when it comes to practical matters: there’s no influence from the strongly held preferences of your departed loved ones to sort through! That’s where tarot and astrology can be of incredible help in cutting through the clutter.
Don’t let anyone suggest that mediums are “better” than psychics: they’re just different skill sets, and which you choose depends on what you need at that time. Many psychics with mediumistic capabilities simply prefer to work at the psychic, just-you-and-me-talking-about-you level. Others have devoted themselves to the deep study of their preferred tools, and naturally want to use that knowledge.
In contrast, typically mediums—who also devote significant time and energy to their professional development—aren’t the best dealing with the the more mundane aspects and “stuff of life” here on earth. (I’m definitely not great at helping people find lost objects—I misplace my glasses all the time—but ask me about your soul’s purpose, or how to develop spiritually, and you’ve tapped my comfort zone.)
How to Decide
Just remember: both psychics and mediums—if they’re professional, experienced and well trained—are interested in helping their clients improve their lives. Be sure to ask about their background and training. Seeking referrals from friends and family members. But first, decide what you’re seeking answers to—day-to-day life events, or your overall spiritual path. If your questions concern what to do, and when, a psychic may be the better choice. If you’re asking yourself, “why am I here? What’s my purpose?” then a medium is likely to be a good fit.
Whether you choose a psychic or a medium to help you at a choice point in your life, enjoy the experience.