Many spiritual teachers and healers are ethical, healthy individuals who have their students’ best interests at heart. However, I wanted to write this article because I had a reminder this weekend that there are a few individuals out there who care more about their own ego than they do about their students’ and clients’ wellbeing. This article aims to help you to recognise such spiritual teachers.
The fact is that the field of spirituality attracts wounded people.
The main reason for this is that many psychics and healers suffered abusive or dysfunctional childhoods and often have a background of trauma.
Let me explain why this is:
When a child is traumatised, her energy field is weakened, and she is more likely to become an empath. Another way of saying this is, a person who undergoes repeated trauma learns to dissociate and when dissociation occurs, the child becomes more sensitive to the energies that lie outside of her usual state of awareness.
For this reason, many professional psychics & healers are people who have a history of trauma. I talk more about this phenomenon in more detail in this article: Can Extreme Stress & Trauma Awaken Intuitive Abilities?
Trauma can make a person more compassionate, but unfortunately it’s also associated with the development of personality disorders.
Hurt people are more likely to hurt others.
So, this is why there are plenty of unhealed people in the spiritual field. (And those of us who have abusive or dysfunctional family backgrounds often do not see the red flags blowing in the wind because we grew up around dysfunction, and as a result, it often doesn’t feel abnormal to us.)
Here are some signs you’re dealing with one of them:
(For the sake of brevity, I’m going to refer to a spiritual teacher in this article, but this term could also refer to a psychic or a healer.)
1. Your spiritual teacher claims to be enlightened
It is a big red flag when a person claims enlightenment and I regard this as posturing and placing oneself on a pedestal for marketing purposes.
“I am enlightened” = I have special skills or a special perspective that others in this field do not.
It is a way to elevate oneself above others and a sign of narcissism.
Divine beings (like Jesus for example) are enlightened. Such beings no longer incarnate on our planet because they have progressed beyond incarnating in a human body for evolution. Most humans, on the other hand, are here to learn and expand their souls, and are far from enlightened.
Spirit tells me that enlightenment is a not-so-helpful earthly “yardstick” that some spiritual people use to measure their own soul’s progress, and that of others.
Let’s have a look at another sign your spiritual teacher is dysfunctional:
2. Your spiritual teacher disparages conventional modalities for healing and staying well in favour of their own healing methods or teachings
Spiritual healing and teachings shouldn’t be a substitute for care for things like physical and mental illnesses. I’ve heard spiritual teachers recommending their techniques over things like medication for illness (just recently I went to see a Craniosacral therapist who recommended I come off the medication I am on). Was this woman a doctor? No. I didn’t go back.
Spiritual healers should know their place, and their place is spiritual support and healing, which is a complement to other therapies, not a substitute.
Many spiritual healing techniques are not the best choice for healing trauma. However, some spiritual healers don’t appear to believe in healing trauma through evidence-based modalities like EMDR or somatic experiencing, and this is not good for their clients. In my Intuitive Healing Program, I teach my students how to refer out as appropriate (because the fact is, energy or spiritual healing modalities are not my top choice for healing trauma.) That way the best interests of our clients are prioritised.
Let’s cover another sign of a dysfunctional spiritual teacher:
3. The spiritual teacher claims they have special psychic gifts that others do not have
The fact is, everyone has psychic gifts because everyone has a soul. The soul talks to us through our psychic gifts. These gifts are not special, in fact they’re pretty commonplace and almost everyone can develop them to a good level, if they have the motivation to do so.
I know of a spiritual teacher (the one I mentioned above who claims to be enlightened herself) who keeps an enlightenment list, of people in the public eye (mostly politicians she agrees with and celebrities she likes) who she considers enlightened. And claims that as an enlightened person, she has special skills of perception that other non-enlightened people do not have. This person has students who can read auras too, but she asks them to outsource their own judgments to her on this. This is not how a spiritual teacher should behave. We all have our own intuition and inner authority which helps us to decide what is right and true for us and students should not be asked to defer to their teacher’s judgment over their own.
A true spiritual teacher will always bring you back to what is true for you.
Dysfunctional spiritual teachers will always bring you back to their perceptions and judgements on things, and insist you agree with them or believe whatever they do.
4. It’s their way or the highway
Another sign you’re dealing with a dysfunctional spiritual teacher is that if you deviate ever so slightly from a method they taught you, they refuse to work with you.
It is natural for people to want to adapt methods and techniques a little bit. If a spiritual teacher has a problem with people doing this, they have control issues that are interfering with their work.
5. Your spiritual teacher is whipping up panic or distress with what they tell you
I know of a spiritual teacher who tells clients they have attaching entities that cannot be removed in this lifetime. This has caused a lot of distress for these people, who in the end decided this was not true for them and were promptly kicked out of the spiritual teacher’s ‘inner circle’, as a result. I also remember when I was a new psychic, a spiritual teacher told me that in a parallel lifetime I was an evil person who was doing a lot of damage, but there was no way to stop this from happening. This information didn’t resonate with me and even if it did, why pass on information that doesn’t help in any way?
If you’re consistently coming away from sessions with a spiritual teacher feeling rubbish about yourself, this is a sign that something is amiss.
People who go through these experiences with a spiritual teacher are often learning a life lesson of ‘Inner Authority’, which involves learning to trust one’s perceptions and judgements, over what another person is telling them. This is a very important lesson for souls to learn, and a true spiritual teacher will support you in learning this lesson, rather than ask you to defer to them.