Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Challenging Tarot Clients

Merry meet everyone, and I hope you are having a wonderful day.  I thought I would share this blog I wrote for LifeScape Radio and the Tarot Guild, as I feel many of you have also been in this position.  Or maybe you are the client and you realise you might have fallen into one of these categories.  If so, laugh it off and promise me you'll never do it again.  You promise?  Ok, I still love you :)

I have been reading the tarot for over twenty years now, and the steps I have taken from being a complete novice to being skilled enough to work professionally have all been absolutely vital.  However, one of the things that often doesn't really get talked about is how to cope with challenging clients.  Now, it does depend a lot on who that client is of course.  If you're reading for a friend or family member and things aren't going well, it's much easier to say "Hey, let's leave this for now."  But what if it's a paying client, someone you only know professionally?

Are you kidding me?!
There are a number of ways a client can be challenging.  By far the most common one is the client who assumes you know everything.  There is a misconception that if you read the tarot, or indeed work in any form of divination, that you should automatically know every little detail about the client. I wish that were the case sometimes but the truth is we don't.  How can we?  We've never met you before, never spoken to you.  Yes I can see if there is a connection between the client and a third party, but that might mean they are related, in a relationship, broken up, fancy one another or work together. Sometimes it is obvious, but more often it is not clear and so we ask.  Some clients, however, will see that as a failure and will assume you are a fake.  I try to avoid this from the start by asking if the client has ever had a tarot reading before, and by explaining what it is I do, how I do it, and I make a point of highlighting my limitations; if you're not good at timings be honest about that, for example.  Sure, a few will still slip through the net but at least you have tried from the start.

Another challenging client is the one who knows best.  This can take two forms.  The first will ask you what you see and then correct you on nearly every point.  He will leave his wife.  It wasn't their fault they got fired, their boss shouldn't have passed them over for promotion.  Tact and diplomacy are always going to play a part here, but at the end of the day sometimes all you can do is try to frame the information in such a way that they are able to see that they did at least play some small part in the events and they have to acknowledge that in order to move forward.  This is where a written report of the reading can help, because you can think about how else you can phrase something and they can take their time to read through it once they are less upset.

Death, Death and more Death!
The other type of client that knows best is the fellow tarot reader.  A reading depends on the connection between reader and cards, as we know, so the meaning will vary from one person to another.  What you might find is some clients who have a little knowledge of the tarot, for example they read for themselves and maybe their friends, may try to correct you while you're doing their reading.  I appreciate I may sound patronising when I say that, and I don't mean to, but if you are learning the tarot and go to another reader for a reading, it is only courteous to listen to what they are saying and, in the name of education, how they are saying it.  I had one client, many years ago, who fell into this category.  She was a young colleague just starting out, and was in the process of learning all the textbook meanings like her life depended on it (no I did not agree to test her when she asked, I explained that she was kind of missing the intuitive point).  Anyway she asked for a reading to see how it was done and then proceeded to tell me that no I had that wrong, that card means "x" not "y" and so on.  All you can do in that situation is explain very briefly that that is not how a reading works and politely end the reading and offer them their money back if they have paid for your services.

This is one of those situations where a little bit of tarot knowledge can be very frustrating but it is also an argument you will rarely win, so don't bother; it is better to remain calm and dignified than tearing your hair out.  I'm also going to include in this group the clients who see the Death card and they just know someone is going to die, or that the Tower is a big disaster and probably someone will die.  You can try to explain that Death is a new beginning and the Tower will free you from your limiting beliefs, but they will eye you with suspicion and go away waiting for the sky to fall on their head.  Be true to what you see in the cards, and for goodness' sake if you do see something troublesome don't let your client leave in a panic.

Finally I come to, for me, the hardest type of client to encounter; the genuinely troubled.  Let's be honest, a lot of people get a tarot reading when things aren't going well in their life, but in among the broken hearted of the job seekers we do occasionally get those who really are in a desperate situation.  I actually believe that all professionals, whether they be tarot readers, mediums, healers or whatever, should have some form of counselling training for just these clients.  Yes your cards can give them hope, but that needs to be backed up with real world steps.  If they are ill, suggest they visit their doctor; if their life is falling apart they need expert legal advice.  I always work with a list of organisations minimised on my screen.  On it I have phone numbers and websites for organisations in the UK and the USA that cover mental health issues, suicide prevention, coping with cancer, rape crisis, eating disorders, LGBT groups.  Actually the list grows as I am faced with new clients in crisis, but a basic list will enable you to give practical as well as esoteric advice while the training will help you to make a connection with the client and hopefully help them see they do not have to go through their situation alone, and that there are plenty of people out there who want to help.  It is important to remember, however, that you cannot "fix" them, and if you find yourself a bit overwhelmed after such a reading remember it is important that you too have someone you can turn to, even if you cannot discuss the details.

So those are the three most challenging types of client and a few suggestions as to how to respond.  I haven't included those that don't believe in the tarot and take it as a joke, because although I had quite a few of them in the early days I also managed to freak them all out with my accuracy, so I consider that a win, if you will excuse the phrase. Nor am I including the male clients who come on camera to break the law by committing an act of sexual violence; it happens very rarely but there is no discussion, simply ban them from your presence (all video camera reading formats should have this facility) and report them to the site admins.  It is far unlikelier in a Skype reading but the same rules apply.

Maybe you've had similar challenging clients but have dealt with things differently; I'd love to hear from you and if you've got any tips for the "Know-It-All' or whoever, feel free to share them.

Don't forget if you would like a reading with me I am on sale until the end of the year! You can get a 15 minute mini-reading with me for just $15 or a full 30 minute session for $30 (regular price $50) by going to lifescaperadio.com/Holiday and selecting my muggle and radio name Susanne Warnett, but hurry - time is running out!

Until next time everybody,

Blessed be )0(