Syllabus: How to Choose A Psychic or Medium

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach, M.S.

This 4 week course is presented as an ungraded continuing education course from the Rhine Education Center.

Course Description

This four week course is designed for people interested in finding a legitimate psychic, those who want to evaluate psychics, or even the researchers who wants to learn more about the skills necessary to determine if a psychic is fooling you or themselves. The course will give you the basic tools to:

  • Properly understand what a practitioner means when using the term psychic, medium, channeler, or other similar labels.
  • How to find psychic practitioners for personal readings or to take on paranormal investigations.
  • How to understand the role of “window-dressing” that many practitioners (even genuine ones) might use, and how to get the practitioner past that.
  • How to act/react in a reading so you get the most out of the session, and some good questions to ask.
  • The qualities of the best psychics and mediums.
  • Psychic Fraud (and a guidance on what you might want to learn about Magic and Mentalism).
  • How to assess the psychic/medium practitioners’ claims and determine if they’re real or fraudulent.


As this is not an academically oriented class, there are no grades and no assignments you must complete. However, there are articles to be read to support the material from the lecture, as well as audio (mp3) mini-lectures and video you should listen to/watch to more fully understand the material (and to take you further than the weekly main lectures).

Additionally, there are weekly discussion questions for students to help initiate online discussion and to foster more of a classroom environment.


  • Week 1: Kinds of Psychics:
    • Range of psychic abilities and how parapsychologists describe them
    • Range of claimed abilities and how practitioners describe them
    • Divination: window-dressing or psychic enhancement techniques?
    • How to understand and ask questions of practitioners in response to claimed abilities
  • Week 2: Finding and Choosing
    • Why do you want to consult with or work with a psychic or medium?
    • Where to start: word-of-mouth recommendations, advertisements, and web-searches
    • Initial assessments and background research
    • Questions to ask before booking a reading
    • Qualities of the best psychics and mediums
    • Booking a reading / setting up a meeting
  • Week 3: Fakery!
    • A brief history of fraudulent psychics and mediums (and fortune-tellers)
    • Perception and the psychology of deception
    • Cold reading and other verbal (and informational) skills and tools
    • Physical fake
  • Week 4: In the Reading/Meeting: Assessments
    • Setting your expectations based on initial contact with the practitioner
    • Setting the tone and theme of the reading / setting the agenda for a meeting
    • Your behavior towards the practitioner in the reading / meeting
    • How to listen and watch during the reading
    • Assessing the content of the reading for psi and non-psi content
    • Assessing the value of the content of the reading
    • Assessing the practitioner: psychic/medium or not so much