More on the Ethics of the Intuitive Experiments & How to Improve Your Skills

I wrote this blog post in response to some questions that came up around the intuitive experiment.

A commenter (Dusty) brought up an interesting question in the comments of the last article – is it OK to read a living person in an experiment like this? I thought I’d already answered this question in my article What are the Ethics of Reading Other People? but upon reading it a few months after I wrote it, I realized it wasn’t very clear. So here is a clarification.

I feel it is OK to read the following types of people (in private):

People you need some information about (NEED and not want!). For example, if you have a picture of a potential babysitter you might hire, you can read him/her to see if they are trustworthy enough to look after your kids. You could do the same with potential employees or potential bosses. You could read potential dates on internet dating sites – are they honest? Do they have any major characteristics that jump out at you as barriers to a relationship? Before you book a reading with a psychic or healer, you could read them using their photo, to see if you trust them.

(Even if you are not comfortable yet making a decision on a vibe you get, I challenge you, the next time you have to make a decision about another person, to do a reading on it, using their photo! It can really help to build confidence when you experience that your instincts are very reliable.)

Anyway, back to the ethics side of it.

I don’t believe it is ethical to publish or otherwise share a reading like this; a reading that you do of someone who is not in the public domain. I think to do this would be a violation. People who are not in the public domain (i.e. not celebrities or famous) did not ask for the contents of their aura and inner life to be made public. For this reason, I won’t ever ask you to read a non-famous person in one of these experiments.

I also don’t recommend you send the reading you did of the person to them, unless you want to alienate them. A few people have sent me unsolicited readings of me and it wasn’t very nice to read them, a bit like someone had invaded my privacy. The aura readings you do in private are just for your own purposes – and based on what you need to know.

If you do a reading on someone just because you’re curious (for example – is my friend’s husband having an affair?) then you will probably get misinformation because it’s not your business.

Who else is it OK to read?

I think it is OK to do a public reading (i.e. an experiment like this) on someone who is in the public domain, either dead or living. This person preferably would be someone who has sought notoriety or attention in some way. Frederic Bourdin is someone who has appeared on TV shows and given interviews with the press. He’s also been in the public eye because of his crimes. So I feel it is OK to read him.

Improving your Skills

Another question I’ve been asked following this exercise is ‘how can I improve my skills at reading other people?’

intuitive awakening

I realized I hadn’t mentioned that in my Intuitive Awakening Course, I have a whole chapter dedicated to reading others, with some practice photos. Also in that chapter is the very effective technique that I personally use to read a person’s aura, using a photo.

Practice makes perfect. You could also do these experiments with a friend – ask a friend to send you a photo of a famous person you don’t recognize and try reading them! Then find out who it is and see if you were accurate.

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. Lisa at Practically Intuitive

    Anna, good points. The key to doing intuitive work is integrity. Sure, people are curious beings. And it’s a fine line to tread: what information is needed to make a decision vs. what information is out of plain old curiosity.

    In any kind of work where you have access to another’s personal information – like my job in the financial services area – I have access to what is in our client’s accounts, I check it if I need to do something for them but I don’t randomly check accounts nor do I post something online about what’s in them – you use the access with integrity. It builds character, sure, but also a part of it is that you wouldn’t want someone crossing those boundaries with YOUR information.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and all that. 🙂

  2. Psychic Source

    I feel that if the information is for the benefit of another, or it is imperative to the safety/well being of another, I do not think doing such a reading on someone.

    Personally, if I was trusting my children with the care of another person, I would definitely think it is warranted for someone with the gift of psychic vision to give me insight.

    I think there is a balance like you said – it needs to be someone you “NEED” information about not “WANT” information about.

    Good topic!

    – Rachael

  3. Amund Schofield

    Hello Anna,

    Recently one of my friend acquired a new boyfriend. Immediately this man gave me chills. I read him a little deeper and got the feeling that the man was capable of harm. I told both my friend and her mother about my concerns. Was I in the right, or should have I respected his privacy?

  4. Lindsay

    I try not to read people unless I know I absolutely *need* information about that person. As Lisa said, “Do unto others…” I wouldn’t want people reading me without my permission (most of the time) so I try not to do it to others.

    That being said, as intuitives, we sometimes just get information about others without even trying!

  5. AstroHerbalist

    Hi Anna! While I think it is a great idea to use photos for scanning, I find I have a much better “read” if I can hear their voice, even if it is a recording. Some people may be like me, having more clairaudient ability than clairvoyance. For those of you who don’t think you are psychic because you don’t have clairvoyance, try other senses – you may be surprised! 🙂

  6. Dusty

    Thanks heaps for clarifying! I understand completely now. 🙂

  7. fellforit

    I Googled Monsieur Bourdin after the results were received and came upon some Youtube videos he had made as a kind of blog I think.

    I got a very strong reaction to the man in the video as compared to just seeing his picture. Immediately I saw that his eyes were almost dead, quite like a sociopath (which he may or may not be – seems to have some of the characteristics though). The way he spoke kind of creeped me out, even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying as the videos were in French. Of course, I already knew who he was so I couldn’t re-read him at that point.

    I think I read people intuitively pretty well as to whether or not to trust them but perhaps I need to see them speaking and moving, etc. rather than just seeing a picture. It’s definitely something I can practice though!

    As far as the ethics go, I don’t try to read anyone unless they ask for it (and since only a few of my friends know, not many people ask). I’m comfortable asking for information that I know is not too intrusive – like when my best friend and I had a friendly bet (no money involved) about her pregnancy and whether she would have a boy or girl, I asked the guides to tell me if it was okay; they did and I won the bet!

    I feel like I will be given information if it’s okay for me to have it, and if I’m stepping where I shouldn’t then I won’t be given the information. I think the guides know I take this seriously and don’t want to nose into anyone’s private business unless I’m specifically permitted by that person or the situation is warranted.

  8. Kelly

    Thanks for clarifying, I hadn’t read your previous post on ethics (have now!). I agree 100%, esp about only reading for people if you have permission. As I said in my comment after the photo experiment, I’ve had friends trying to read me when I didn’t want them to and it felt like a total invasion of privacy. In both cases they were developing their skills, one through a course and the other on their own. I guess we all have to learn somehow but we also need to be sensitive to pick up whether its appropriate to use people in this way.

  9. Anna

    Amund – I know I’m ridiculously late to these comments, but thought I’d answer your question anyway. It’s a really tricky question you ask, and it’s a judgment call for you to make.

    I personally err on the side of respecting peoples’ free will, for example, letting a friend know that I’d be cautious around someone (if they ask for my opinion) and then leaving it up to them.

    The only time I would skip that rule is when I feel someone’s life is in danger. I’ve never been in that position and I hope I never will be.

    So I guess unless you feel your friend is in serious danger, then no I wouldn’t say anything. It could be she is with someone who is abusive, and she would soon find out for herself, and get out if she wanted to. But that’s just my personal feeling about it. It’s a big grey area 🙂

  10. Anna

    Astroherbalist – good point! Some people are definitely better at getting info through a voice.

  11. Janet Carre

    First time trying this, but here I go… When I look at his photo, sometimes it looks like he’s looking beyond me and other times like he’s looking right at me (a little creepy). I got a sense of something bad, but not like murder — more deceitfulness/dishonesty. Also got the sense of a child, not so well treated, a 2 or 3 story home with a black wrought iron fence, a buggy with a horse, and the man with a whip. When I thought about the question, where is he from, I got an “L.” London?

  12. Janet

    oops, I think I posted on the wrong page.

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