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Are Psychics the New Therapists?

Why women are turning to the metaphysical world to get through the tough spots

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  • My friend recommended a psychic medium based in Southampton, N.Y. She wrote a column on spirituality for the local paper and had once trained horses in Dubai. For $175, she offered an hour-long reading by phone. I reasoned that the price seemed high enough to make it legitimate (not some pay-by-the-minute operation) but not so high that it felt exploitive. So I made the appointment.

    I'm not alone in this pursuit. According to a 2009 report from Pew Research Center, an estimated one in seven Americans have gone to a psychic or fortune-teller for advice. More recent data from the industry research firm IBISWorld found that the psychic services industry (which includes mediumship, astrology, aura readings and other metaphysical services) has grown at an average annual rate of 2 percent from 2008 to 2012. (IBISWorld attributes the increase to the recession; "consumers concerned about their financial futures turned to psychics for guidance during the recession," said IBISWorld in its report.)

    I asked my friend Susan, the same one who'd recommended the Southampton psychic, why she first sought out a reading. (Susan is something of a psychic whisperer. She can give you a rundown of the best psychics in New York and New Jersey.)

    "I was turning 30, quit my job and had just broken up with a boyfriend," she tells me. (That was six years ago.) She says that she was at a "turning point" and looking for validation on the decisions she'd already made and answers to the ones she hadn't.

Are Psychics the New Therapists?
Why women are turning to the metaphysical world to get through the tough spots
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