Are New Age therapy clients too gullible? I recently went to a Psychic Fair in my local town. It was well organised and well attended. All the usual New Age Therapy services were there: Aura Readings, Palmistry, Crystal therapy, Healing touch, Dream interpretation, Fortune tellers and various other New Age types.
The attendees were what looked like ordinary people, mostly women. They were getting their fortunes told or watching their auras drawn and everyone seemed well satisfied.
On the New Age assembly line
And that was what bothered me. I understand about placebos, and I am comfortable that people sometimes need to believe in something a bit out of the ordinary. I also believe that some of these modalities are helpful and worthwhile. But previous places I had been to all involved a bit more scene setting. I expected low light, whale music, private rooms, costumes and exotic symbols. This one seemed more like an assembly line. Everyone was in one big open room. They were queuing to book appointments. Everyone waiting their turn like a motor licence agency, moving in when the last person finished while the seat was still warm. To make it look even more industrial, the time was prominently displayed on a clock facing the client.
Fleecing the New Age gullible
All these people were paying quite substantial sums of money without, apparently, ever questioning what they were getting or how effective it was. They also didn't seem to be much bothered about who was delivering it, or if they were qualified to offer it in the first place.
It was the Tarot card readers who got me. I use Tarot myself. Sometimes they the best way of reaching a particular client. But it has to be done with conviction and confidence.
What I saw was an extreme case of fleecing the gullible. One reader was laying out the cards, talking to the client, and then without the slightest sign of embarrassment looking up the book to see what the cards meant! The client just sat there while the 'psychic' read out what the book said.
In my view, if you are going to sell people nonsense, you should at least put some effort into it. Surely the client is entitled to believe that you have some sort of legitimate connection to the New Age universe? Would you continue attending a doctor if that doctor was looking up your symptoms on the Internet?
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.