Is Psychic Development Dangerous?

Several years ago, when I was living in Spain and teaching languages, one of my lovely Spanish students, Maria, invited me out for the day.  We lived close to the border with France and so we decided to go for a day-trip to a quaint French town.  I’m sure we did the usual touristy things that day, such as admired the view of the French Pyrenees, visited a cathedral and tasted cheese.  But the thing that stands out in my memory was the conversation in the car on the way to France.

It went something like this:

Maria’s husband: Maria tells me you are planning to leave your job as a teacher soon.  What will you do afterwards?

Me: (taking a deep breath): I am planning on doing readings for people.

Maria’s husband: You mean psychic readings? Like telling the future?

Me: Not really. More like helping people to understand their lives better.

Maria’s husband: (for literally the next half hour, without me being able to get a word in edgeways)

Variants of: you don’t want to go down that road/you don’t know the forces you’re dealing with/you’re putting yourself in danger/you are much better off as an English teacher.

My student Maria didn’t know what to say, and neither of us argued much with him.  I gave up arguing after about five minutes and she looked like she wasn’t very much in the habit of ever arguing with him (probably smart on her part.)

I didn’t argue much because it seemed like he knew little about the spiritual world and didn’t show much willingness to listen to me either.

He had visited something he called an ‘occult circle’ in Madrid in the 1970s (it sounded like a psychic development circle), had had an unpleasant experience with what sounded like some very creepy people, and concluded that the whole area of anything related to what he called ‘the occult’ was dangerous and bad.

He was also very convinced of his opinions – nothing I could say was going to change his mind!

Was He Right?

Hindsight is a good thing. But I’d still say that no, psychic development is not inherently dangerous – I have not changed my mind.

So if psychic development is not dangerous, why do people warn against it? And why does it scare people?

Some of the people who take my courses tell me they have unsupportive families. I had family members warn me against going into psychic development when I was in my teens, and some high school teachers of mine back in the day got angry and scared when I got my tarot cards out of my school bag (I used to do tarot readings for my classmates and teachers at high school!)

In my experience, people warn against psychic development when they don’t understand it.

Psychic development seems scary when you don’t know where you’re getting your guidance from.  But if you’re a reader of this blog or you’re doing my Intuitive Awakening Course, you’ll know that psychic development, (at least for me) is about getting information from your Higher self (otherwise known as your soul), your Spirit Guides, and your guardian angels.

What could be scary about being more in touch with your own soul – the part of you that exists beyond this lifetime? And being in touch with your soul, so that it can guide you towards a fulfilling life?  In fact, if you don’t like the idea of Spirit Guides, you don’t even have to go there! And you can still do intuitive development.

Some people don’t understand that psychic development is mostly motivated by this.  They think it’s about seeing dead people or about holding séances. And having dramatic or frightening experiences.

So, basically, when you’re taking your warnings from people, I’d say don’t listen too closely to someone who hasn’t really delved into psychic development and doesn’t know much about it.

Instead, listen to someone who has done it.

The worst that can happen (in my experience)…

Provided that you don’t have an untreated mental illness involving delusions or paranoia (such as schizophrenia) when you start dabbling in psychic development and providing that you don’t use ouija boards, the worst thing that can happen to you in psychic development is that you accidentally channel a source that you shouldn’t.

You should be channeling either your Spirit Guides, your Higher self or your guardian angels.  Ideally, you will also be utilising some form of energetic protection so that you don’t channel any other sources. If you fail to do this, you might channel an earthbound spirit (basically, a stuck soul who has died and is reluctant to cross over to the other side.)

You will probably notice when you accidentally channel an earthbound spirit because the guidance you get often sounds like mumbo-jumbo. Or someone who is messing you around.

An earthbound spirit is a soul who really needs to move on but is afraid to. The earthly equivalent of channeling this sort of spirit is approaching an addicted homeless person on the street for life advice and guidance. You might happen upon an enlightened homeless person, but you might also happen upon one who is on his third bottle of cider for today so doesn’t have anything too meaningful or coherent to say to you 😉

On the other hand, guidance from ‘suitable’ sources such as your Higher self or Spirit Guides is practical, actionable or helpful in some other way.  If it’s none of those, chances are you’re tuned into the wrong person (or should I say ‘being’.) And you need some energetic protection to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

If you’re afraid of channeling earthbound spirits, then get yourself a process that protects you from that. Take a psychic development class, like my Intuitive Awakening Course, which teaches you how to avoid channelling earthbound spirits. There is usually a component of energetic protection in most courses and programs, if they’re good. If you’re not sure, ask the teacher of the class or course.

Psychic development is not spooky, scary or dangerous.

I hope this reassures anyone out there who has been told to stay away from the spiritual realm.

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Tim

    I grew up in a fundamental christian environment, so yes, it’s all evil spirits! This has caused me to wrestle with a lot of fear when having spiritual or psychic experiences, but thankfully my guides proved themselves to me in very reasuring ways and I was able to trust my experiences that didn’t fit the Christian box. 🙂

  2. Frances

    Hello Anna!
    Very lovely blog post. And to answer your question, yes, I have been warned by well-meaning loved ones to stay away from anything that has to do with exploring my 6th sense. The biggest opponent was/is my mother. One day, I came back home from school (college) and found my mother in my room with an upset/concerned look on her face. I asked her what was wrong, and she started saying that she found my tarot cards, books etc. while cleaning my room (um, I’m old enough to clean my room!!! LOL) and that she decdided to throw all that stuff away b/c it was of the devil and that I had to be VERY careful with what I was delving into. I.WAS.SHOCKED.

    She then proceeded to tell me that she called a lady from the church (what the heck!) told her about what she found, and that she and the lady had been praying for an hour and exorcising my room (!!!! I know!!!) b/c they felt that there was a “dark entity” in the room.

    I was so pissed off!!! But, I kept my cool. After that, she told me that I had to promise her never to delve into that stuff again, and she didn’t let me leave the room until I promised her that I would never touch a tarot deck or anything to the like again.
    I must say, I did promise her that, but I really never meant it. After that, she gave me a hug and told me that that decision was the best for my soul. After she left the room, I cried for a couple of minutes. I was so conflicted and so scared. But even in the midsts of that, I felt a peace within; as in I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

    Needless to say, I bought another tarot deck within weeks of that incident and REALLY hid it well! LOL

    After all these years though, that incident still takes a toll on me. I think it has a lot to do with the “fear” I have about my mom finding out that I still do this, and that in fact Iit’s my path. Just last night, my mother in law, who’s so supportive of me, wanted to share a message from the angels I posted on my Facebook page (have a separate page for my readings, etc.) and I told her to make sure that she didn’t refer back to me about it and that to make sure my mom didn’t see it (she’s “friends” with my mom as well on Facebook). WHY? Why do I have to live like that???!!!

    I felt so terrible after I did that…I hate having to be like this!

    However, I’m so glad we’re having a cord cutting session tomorrow, Anna. I know it’s probably not going to be a miracle cure, but it’s definitely a positive start!

  3. Heather

    Thanks for this post Anna. I can really relate to this. Yes, I was also warned by well-meaning loved ones to stay away from exploring anything psychic because I would be opening myself up to negative things/spirits. My father is a minister and has had several experiences with people that were “possessed” and needed intervention. I was always knew there was more to life than what I saw and wanted to learn as much as I could. As a teenager I began reading books on lots of different subjects…I vividly remember at that time my father asking me if I had anything in the house because he felt like there was a bad spirit around…that pretty much scared me and I got rid of any books that I had been reading. As a responsible and grown adult I now realize that things aren’t that black and white. I know that my father was only trying to protect me, but I can now discern for myself what is good and worth learning about. I am very interested in your course and hope to sign up for it one of these days.

  4. Julie | A Clear Sign

    I think the worst that can happen is that people who are intuitive or dabble in it are told by their friends and family that they are crazy, and they start to question or believe it themselves. I am kind of surprised by how many people read Tarot cards, for example, and never stop to think who or what they may be contacting for help.

  5. Todd | Channelingmyself

    From my experience these fears are derived from religious teachings.

  6. Laura W

    Hi Anna,

    I have never felt scared or unsafe when contacting my guides. Just the opposite, in fact. It has given me a sense of groundedness and reassurance and was my missing piece of the puzzle.

    I think people get scared of psychic development mostly because it is outside of the norm and societal scare tactics do work pretty well. To be able to have a direct connection to your Guides is looked upon in many eyes as unacceptable.

  7. Anna Barlowe

    I was raised Christian, and my mother used to be much more hung up about these things than she is now, mostly due to experiences with her own mother. But now we enjoy getting psychic readings, etc. together, and since I live with a ghost who communicates quite visibly, she has had to get used to that as well!

    One person who saw my spirit companion in action refused to come to the house ever again, believing that all spirits must be demons. What a ridiculous notion! My ghost is nothing but kind and helpful, so if he’s a demon, he’s doing a piss-poor job of it, since he has done nothing but make me a better person overall. 🙂

  8. Jaime

    I don’t think it is so much fear as it is disinterest. People don’t care to know that like anything else there is both good and bad. Whenever I try to explain what I’m doing and why, my own friends and family tune me out. Interestingly enough though, they are more than willing to have me repeat a good scary ghost story they have heard dozens of times before. Maybe since psychic experiences are so personal, you can only understand it when you want it enough to look. Much like anything else in this world I suppose.

  9. Brandi

    Am I wrong, but don’t we all “dabble in the spiritual” all day anyway? Whether positive influences or negative influences? For instance, if we’re in a low energy state most of the time (anger, resentment, jealousy etc.) then we attract low vibrational spirits to us that amplify these negative feelings. In fact, they become parasites of this negative energy. So…seems to me that if someone is persistently feeling horrible, they will attract negative spirits to themselves anyway. They don’t have to be “dabbling” intentionally in the psychic realm.

  10. Justin | Mazzastick

    I have never had anyone warn me against anything to do with psychic or intuitive abilities. Usually the ones that do have reservations are people that have not had any experience with it.

  11. Anna Barlowe

    Oh no, I would never want my spirit friend to go away. He’s attached to me, anyway, not the house. We had a rather tragic history in our last life, in which I believe I killed myself, so I was sent back for a bit of a do-over without him. But he was allowed to serve as my primary spirit guide, apparently.

    So he is right where he’s supposed to be, and just pretty much waiting for me to get back home at this point. He’s really very helpful and kind to me at all times. I could really not do as well without him around.

    I have spelled out our history in detail on my blog, under the category “Daniel’s Story.” It’s lengthy, but I tried to make it a fun read. Anyone who wonders whether love really does transcend death, and even multiple lives, might find it interesting.

  12. Ethan Womack

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who views “psychic development” as a byproduct so to speak of pursuing “spirituality”.

    It’s not the seeking after gifts that is the point of seeking out how to use your gifts, it’s seeking something higher. The gifts are just tools.

  13. Jeanne Miller

    Great article. Yes, I’ve been there too. I’ve been told I’m doing the Devil’s work and will be going straight to hell without passing go or getting my 200 dollars. 🙂

    I don’t think this work is inherently dangerous, but like you, I stay in the positive and only work with the higher self and Spirit Guides. I do believe that anyone who works on developing this ability though, should do so with the understanding of always putting protections in place. White lighting themselves, opening prayers as well. This won’t allow any negative to get a foothold. As you say, some lower form spirits may try to attach.

    I was fortunate to have studied under a gifted medium who taught us how to protect ourselves before she taught us anything else.

  14. Anna

    Thank you to all for your comments.

    Tim – it does seem from all these comments that religion in the fundamentalist form is the biggest culprit for instilling fear into people of psychic development…Good for you for moving past the fear and being able to trust your own instincts!

  15. Anna

    Heather – Strange that just reading materials about intuitive development is thought to bring a bad spirit into the house in some religions! I think sometimes all that people are exorcising is their own fear.

    I would love to have you on the course one of these days!

  16. Anna

    Julie – what you said made me think back to when I was in high school…in my teens I had no idea who I was contacting when I was reading the Tarot, but I guess I was lucky, because the information I got tended to show itself to be true and helpful.

  17. Anna

    Hi Laura – Interesting. Not only is it more acceptable to speak to God through an intermediary, but it’s also slightly more acceptable to contact one’s guides through an intermediary, like a psychic, but perhaps not as acceptable to contact them yourself!

  18. Anna

    Anna – How interesting! Have you ever thought about getting a house clearing to help the spirit move on, or do you prefer to have him around?

  19. Anna

    Brandi – Sort of.

    According to my understanding, not everyone who is in a low-vibrational state attracts low-vibrational spirits – Those who are open, intuitive, sensitive and empathic naturally have very porous and attractive energy fields for earthbound spirits, so are more likely to attract them for this reason regardless of their high vibration.

    Those who have very closed off energy are more likely NOT to attract earthbound spirits, even if the person is in a low vibration. So, in my experience openness is the biggest factor and unfortunately empaths draw the the short straw when it comes to this.

  20. Anna

    Jaime – good point! When people are not interested in your experiences, they’re more inclined to dismiss them out of hand.

  21. Anna

    Hi Jeanne – nice to ‘see’ you here!

    You are right – protection is very important and should be one of the first things a student learns. Glad you had a good experience with that, when you were starting out!

  22. BetheChange

    Maybe what all these people who think dabbling in psychic development are saying is that learning something new like this is very delicate. They are warning their family to be careful. Sure some stuff could probably attract a bad spirit if you’re not careful and don’t actually know what you are doing. Even worse, there are people who lack experience teaching things they really shouldn’t be teaching to someone else until they know how to filter, discern and block out stuff they don’t need. When you are younger than people who know better you might make a serious mistake. If you are not careful some psychic development might cause mental health problems when you don’t learn how to shield.

  23. AstroHerbalist

    Indeed there are people who dabble in the shadow side of things – not necessarily due to evil tendencies. However, it is easier for anything less than loving to hide in dark places, and even if a person believes they are being loving – if their ego is not properly balanced with spirit, there can be trouble, and I have seen it firsthand. One really does need to be in a light and loving place in order to not attract the attention of these lower vibration spirits, and it is ideal to use protection before starting as well as setting strong intention with the highest good. Most people who are balanced individuals will not have too many problems with this, but anyone who says it is all love and light out there and deny the existence of fear-based energies is lying to themselves. Knowing about them while aligning yourself to the highest light vibration possible and setting intentions on love and the highest good is the best way to avert these energies.

  24. seramadis

    So strange. Most people I encounter tell me things like, they don’t “believe” in that sort of stuff, souls don’t exist, people don’t have souls, alternative healing techniques don’t work and are nothing but charlatanism. Most of the people around me aren’t scared of, for eg., ghosts, because they don’t believe in ghosts, and you can’t be scared of something that doesn’t exist! I told a gentleman I know that he would one day be reunited with his wife in the spirit world and he said no, spirits don’t exist and the spirit world doesn’t exist and his wife didn’t exist anymore, she had simply disintegrated and we would all disintegrate when we died. I told a grieving friend that she was visiting with her mother in the spirit world when she dreamed about her and she told me no, her mother didn’t exist anymore, the spirit world didn’t exist, it was just a lie and her mother had just disintegrated when she died and all people would disintegrate and cease to exist when they died. So I really don’t encounter any fear around me, only scepticism, pessimism and fatalism.

  25. Sol

    I do agree with this article!

    I don’t think psychic development is dangerous, but it might mess with your mind if you aren’t prepared.

    However, I find that simply intending to only channel and work with spirits that are ‘enligthened’ and in our best interest works.

  26. Janet Thomas

    I don’t think psychic development is dangerous in and of itself, either, Anna. I *do* think that before a person jumps in, they should have a little information first, as one should do in most endeavours such as: don’t run with scissors, use the safety precaution of walking with the points pointed away from your body; if you’ve never driven a car before, use the safety precaution of taking lessons and starting out on less busy roads instead of jumping behind the wheel and zooming onto busy roads during rush hour.

    If you’re looking for the dark and dangerous, I believe you can find it, and from my own experience, I know that if you don’t have any idea of how to shield yourself, you can be open without realizing it to lower vibrational spirits. (*That* was when I started learning about psychic development, big time and F.A.S.T.!)

    I think that fear of the unknown has a lot to do with some people feeling that psychic development is dangerous (if it’s different and doesn’t fit the statistical norm, then it’s dangerous/wrong), and rather cynically that politics/religion has encouraged that feeling of fear for it’s own not-entirely-pure-and-high-vibrational purposes.

    I am glad that more and more people seem to be coming out of the psychic closet and be more accepted in the world today. The more knowledge we can share, the more informed every becomes.

  27. callista harrison

    I am a person who tells others to be careful not to “dabble” with things like that. However the reason I do so is because the people I was talking to just jumped right in without being careful as to whom or what they were talking to.
    When my eyes reopened I was very careful who I spoke to on the other side. I like to think I have a close relationship with My Heavenly Father built over prayer and study. When ever a spirit pops up to talk I always confirm by the holy spirit if what they are saying is true. If they (the spirits) have a problem with that oh well.
    I do have to watch myself sometimes because I have a tendency to be empathic, that I don’t take on too many emotions of those that are passed on. I don’t think they mean to take over, often they just want to talk. A few have asked for help passing on and I’ve done my best. I really don’t think of them as vagrants or bums, they are just people. Love your blog and am happy I found it.

  28. Angela

    I was raised a catholic and a Buddhist and turned out a spiritualist!

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