What It’s Really Like to Work for a Psychic Hotline

Fess up: At some point, you’ve considered calling one. But are these phone-in psychics the real deal? Here's what you should know—and what happens behind the scenes.

It’s a question that everyone asks at one time or another: Are psychic mediums the real deal, or are they just trying to get a dollar out of you? There are certainly people who are guilty of the latter, but psychic medium Barbara Bandel, who has her own hotline service and 25 years of experience, says that her services are genuine. After working for Bob Olson of Afterlife TV at Best Psychic Directory, Bandel was in such high demand that she established her own psychic network, Barbara’s Psychic Mediums. This is what a day in her life as a psychic medium is like.

The daily schedule at a psychic hotline

When most people think of a telephone hotline, they imagine phones ringing off the hook. But Bandel doesn’t take hundreds of calls every day. For her, it’s not about call volume—it’s about call quality. She says that she takes each caller’s situation and time very seriously, which is why she typically works by appointment. “After about two-and-a-half to three hours, I lose my ability to concentrate,” she explains. “So if someone wants a one-hour consultation, I can help two or three people a day.”

The most common reason for calls

So what is it that concerns most people enough to call a psychic hotline? Love, according to Bandel. She says that most calls she receives are about “if and when they will meet someone, and if they have already met someone, they want to know if they have a future together.” It’s kind of reassuring, isn’t it, that above all, people still care most about love? If you’re looking for love, try these 8 ways to meet and attract new people—and hopefully, find “the one.”

The self-doubter

Of course, love isn’t the only thing on people’s minds. Bandel says that she encounters all types of personalities in her work, and one of the most frequent is the self-doubter. “People who sometimes do not trust what their own intuition tells them,” she explains. “They want to know if it is true, what they feel, whether they can trust their gut feeling.” This type of caller is looking for confirmation, validation, and a second opinion. Thinking of getting some guidance in your own life? Consider these 10 things before seeing a psychic reader.

The emotionally vulnerable person

“People who have experienced something very sad, such as a divorce or [losing] their job, want to know if their situation will get better in the future,” says Bandel. These types of callers are looking for hope—a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. They are looking for a reassuring voice to tell them that even though things might be bad now, they won’t always be.

The surviving family

Part of the job of a psychic medium is to communicate with the deceased. Whether you think this is possible or not depends on your own belief system, but for Bandel and the people she counsels, it is a very important part of the psychic hotline experience. Many people who call her hotline are “people who want contact with a deceased loved one and/or want to know who their spirit guides are.” Read up on these true stories of people who’ve received signs from the dead.

The person looking for career advice

Almost everyone wants to hear some career advice now and again, which is why it’s probably not surprising that many callers talk to Bandel and her fellow psychic mediums about how to improve their professional lives. According to her, they want to learn “how they can discover what their passion is in terms of work” and what “the right job” is for them. Some people know from a young age what they are good at and what they want to do, but others don’t have that impassioned sense of direction. These people are looking for tips. Whether or not you consult a psychic, you can implement these 8 techniques to be happier at work ASAP.

The person on a self-improvement kick

barbara psychic medium hotline Courtesy Barbara BandelAccording to Bandel, the number of people calling in to ask about how they can improve themselves is growing. “People who want to know what they can do in terms of inner development…which inner qualities they can develop to live a happier life,” she explains. “This group of people understands that everything starts with themselves and that they are responsible for how their own life develops. They do not place the responsibility in the hands of someone else but learn through deep self-reflection what they want in their lives.” By talking with psychic mediums, these people hope to identify what values and strengths they need to cultivate. They might also want to check out these 7 self-help books, which even people who hate self-help books will love.

So, how does this work, anyway?

One reason people doubt the sincerity of psychic hotlines is that it seems impersonal. They may think that because the client isn’t face-to-face with their psychic medium, there is no possible way for the experience to be real. Bandel disagrees with that assessment entirely, at least in terms of her own experience and work. “Everything is energy,” she says. “When someone calls me or when I look at a picture of someone or someone sits opposite me, I feel his or her energy. During a reading, I close my eyes and concentrate on that energy. So it doesn’t matter if someone is miles away—the energy always feels equally strong.” Did you know that the U.S. government actually investigated psychic abilities?

Sorry, but you won’t always get the news you want

“Yes,” Bandel admits, “some readings are difficult. I would say 99 percent of my clients are really sweet and loving people and open to [receiving] the information. But 1 percent only wants to hear what they want to hear. For example: They are in love with someone, and that person isn’t interested. They don’t want to hear that, and sometimes they get upset with me. They are not open to listen to any explanation from the guides. I think there are enough psychic lines who will tell them exactly what they want to hear, but I believe it’s better to hear the truth than to find comfort in a lie.”

The desire for anonymity

Even before she started her own psychic hotline, Bandel has always given psychic phone readings. She says that sometimes she did phone readings because people couldn’t physically make it to an appointment or because they lived too far away. However, one reason some people prefer psychic hotlines over in-person meetings is anonymity. They feel safer and more at ease when they are behind the phone because of that perceived distance, not in spite of it. Ever wonder if you’ve lived a past life? Check out these 8 signs.

Why psychics do what they do

So if working at a psychic hotline isn’t just about the money, what is it about? Bandel says, “It’s enormously fulfilling to help people, to give insights. Every time, I am deeply touched by the love and patience that [spirit] guides have for us. It’s an enormous honor to be allowed to do this work. I learn from every reading.” Here are 13 mysteries actually solved by psychics.

More people call these hotlines than you think

Believe it or not, Bandel never set out with the goal of creating a psychic hotline. She developed her business simply because of the nature of supply and demand. “The number [of clients] grew enormously over the years due to word of mouth,” she says, “and I got so busy and the waiting list became so long that I asked psychic colleagues who I respect to help me. It was never my intention to start a psychic hotline; it just happened over the years.” Increasingly, more people desire answers to their questions and uncertainties and are happy that they can get help with psychics.

A word of caution

Of course, you should do some research before dialing to make sure the hotline seems reputable. But there’s also something else you should be aware of: the potential for psychic readings to lead to psychological dependency. If they could, some people would seek psychic help for every tiny bump in the road. That’s why Bandel and her professional peers take certain precautions with their readings. “I have the rule that people aren’t allowed to consult me more than twice a year,” Bandel says. “The last thing I want is for people to become dependent on me.” While some psychic hotlines would encourage that dependency to rake in more money, Bandel is more concerned with the mental well-being of her clients. Next, find out which tarot card your zodiac sign is related to—and what you need to know.

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Taylor Markarian
Taylor Markarian is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest's Culture, Advice, Travel and Pets beats. She is also a music journalist who has contributed to Alternative Press, Loudwire, Revolver, Kerrang! and more. Markarian is the author of the book, 'From the Basement: A History of Emo Music and How It Changed Society', which analyzes the evolution of punk and mental health. She holds a degree in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College.