Sensory empathy

If there is one presentational technique which distinguishes the truly skilled cold reader from the rest, this is it. Whenever I have witnessed psychics using this technique, I have always been impressed by the way it can transform a relatively flat reading into an unforgettable psychic experience.

It is all to do with the difference between merely stating something and actually feeling it - or at least pretending to do so convincingly. The psychic acts if she can feel the same things the client feels - the same sensory experiences and the same emotions. If she talks about the client being anxious or upset, she acts as if she can 'feel' the same sort of anxiety and emotional pain. If she talks about the client's recent happiness in connection with romance, she acts as if she 'feels' and 'experiences' some of that inner delight, happiness and joy.

There are limits to how well this point can be conveyed in print, but let us look at an example. Consider a tarot reader who is offering a simple Greener Grass statement based on the choice between urban and rural life. It might sound something like this:

"In some ways the cards are telling a story of conflict and an inner restlessness. What this seems to be about is the inner you, and the you that you feel you have become. The impression I get is that you are quite well-adjusted to the hustle and bustle of city life. Of course there's stress and strain, because city life can be quite hectic, can't it? But you would seem to fit in quite well.

However, the cards tell a deeper story, and indicate you have an affinity for the open air, the countryside and the chance to get away from it all. I don't mean just idle escapism or daydreaming, everyone does a bit of that. I mean you've given this some serious thought, and you've often contemplated this alternative, walking through leafy country lanes in the morning or being able to enjoy that morning breeze coming in off the coast, and I see times in the past when you have found yourself, perhaps sitting alone in your room, considering what your life might have been like outside the bright lights the big city."

As a slice of typical psychic patter, this is as good as it needs to be. It can be made far more effective if the psychic acts out a range of different sensory impressions, pretending that she has a sensitivity to everything the client senses or feels emotionally.

When the psychic mentions the client's "inner restlessness", she can use her voice, facial expression and posture to convey feelings of stress and strain - as if she herself is feeling and experiencing what the client has felt and experienced.

When she says "hustle and bustle", she could offer a gesture of clamping her hands flat over her ears to drown out the cacophony of sounds - street noises, traffic, sirens, phones ringing all day - which assault the client's hearing on a daily basis.

When she talks about "the open air", she could perhaps close her eyes and breathe in deeply as if savouring the clean, invigorating air at the top of an Alpine peak.

When she refers to "beaches and the chance to get away from it all", she could look and sound as if she is inwardly transported to an idyllic tropical paradise, feeling warm all over, shading her eyes a little from the golden sunshine.

I am not suggesting the psychic throws herself around in a rather manic exhibition of erratic emotional display. It can be subtle, and still devastatingly effective. By seemingly detecting sensations that the client herself has experienced, and apparently empathising with them to the point where she (the psychic) also experiences them, she can make the reading a hundred times more captivating than it would be otherwise.

Variety and relevance

Psychics who use this technique appreciate the need to 'tap into' a range of sensations - what is seen, what is heard, what is touched, what is felt emotionally, and so on. This lends variety to the proceedings, and makes the psychic's sensitivity seem all the more comprehensive.

It is also obviously important to make sure the sensation or emotion being 'sensed' is relevant to the reading. The psychic offering aura readings, and focusing on health issues, 'feels' the nagging pain in the lower back which the client has experienced. The clairvoyant sensing the client's love of music 'hears' in the psychic distance some of that delightful, delicate piano music the client so often enjoys. The psychic demonstrating psychometry, and handling a key which belongs to a car mechanic, 'feels' grease under the fingernails, and 'smells' the engine oil when describing the client's working day. The spiritualist relating details of late Uncle Walter's heart condition winces slightly as she 'feels' some of the chest pains and concerns which Walter suffered. The astrologer commenting on her client's rather over-zealous keep-fit regime 'feels' some of the exhaustion and fatigue which her client experiences at the end of every workout. And so on.

At the risk of labouring the point, this presentational technique can be incredibly powerful. It amplifies the value of almost every kind of psychic element, and substantially transforms the client's experience.

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