Eileen Garrett on Mediumship Ethics

Recently, I came across an essay on mediumship ethics written by Eileen Garrett, a world renowned, highly respected medium of the mid-twentieth century.

Here is an essay excerpt. The “inquirer” means the sitter, or person receiving the reading.

“The medium will do well to withdraw herself from the ideas thrown out by the inquirer; she must regard herself as a mechanism, clear and simple, through which ideas flow. This will happen only when she takes little notice of the inquirer, but puts herself into a receptive mood. This is a mood that does not seek to prove things but accepts the flow of events and ideas to be perceived and known.” -Eileen Garrett, 1960


It is critically important for spirit, not the medium nor the sitter, to control the flow of information in a medium reading. To this end, the medium must manage the sitter’s expectations, even before the reading begins.

In my mediumship training webinars, I ask each student to write a preamble of instructions for the sitter. The preamble is intended to set proper expectations of what a reading is, and is not.

I advise my student-mediums to send the preamble–in an email or as a pre-recorded video–to the sitter before the appointment. The medium  also reads or recites the preamble to the sitter, just before starting the reading.

To be clear: it is the medium’s responsibility to manage the sitter’s expectations. How else will a sitter know about the etiquette of a reading?



A medium who often “takes orders” from sitters, regarding the information the sitter wants to hear from spirit loved ones, will eventually lose the spirit world’s trust and cooperation.

As a result, when the mediumship connection no longer works, what happens next?

Perhaps the medium will quit doing readings.

Or worse! The medium, now ignored by spirit, may inadvertantly “psychometrize” the spirit. This means the medium is passing along information that the medium received psychically–obtained from the sitter’s auric field–as though it were information given by the spirit. The medium may not realize the difference.



How do we avoid those problems?

First, always honor Spirit! Remember: the spirit has practiced and prepared what the spirit wishes to say. Seldom does the content received from the spirit match exactly what the sitter wanted to hear.

What should the medium do, when interrupted by a sitter who tries to direct or control the reading?

Here are typical examples. The sitter interrupts the medium with:

  • “Does he give you a name?”
  • “Does she give you her favorite color?”
  • “Does he have anything to say to X (person)?”

There are ways to handle this type of interruption.

  1. First, the medium could ignore the sitter completely, which I usually find to be difficult.
  2. Alternatively, the medium could say, “If he impresses upon me a color or a name, etc, then, of course, I will give it. But I MUST focus on what he is giving me NOW.”
  3. Next, the medium must take a moment to re-focus on what the spirit was communicating before the interruption.


The bottom line?

Please, dear mediums, don’t give into the temptation to try to “pull out” whatever information the sitter demands. It’s not about you! Don’t try to prove how talented you are. As Eileen alludes, it is the desire to thrill the sitter that can devolve a reading into inauthentic theatrics.

And please, dear sitters, don’t try to control your reading. You may harm the connection, or at the very least, waste the precious energy of your spirit loved one and the medium.

I recommend that you read Eileen Garrett’s essay for its many salient points. Written nearly 60 years ago, it stands the test of time. Essay by Eileen Garrett, 1960.

Let us send our thanks to Eileen Garrett, who now resides on the other side of life.

Susanne Wilson is a scientifically authenticated medium and intuition teacher based in Carefree, Arizona, and known as the Carefree Medium.

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