Grieving the loss of a loved one. For some people, that pain can be so deep it becomes debilitating. But one group of researchers in Tucson, Arizona say psychic mediums can have a positive impact. Here's what you need to know.
Talking to the dead. While it might sound crazy to some, a study conducted by a research scientist at the Windbridge Institute in Tucson, Arizona, revealed that spiritual readings are not only therapeutic…they can help grief-stricken survivors move on with their lives.
Dr. Julie Beischel, author of Among Mediums – a Scientists Quest for Answers, has been researching mediums for ten years. And she's seen dramatic results, particularly with one father who lost his son.
"There was a marked difference in people's recollections of how they felt before a reading and after a reading," says Dr. Beischel.
This man found his life unbearable and after receiving a mediumship reading, his life wasn't only bearable but it was worth living again.
Hollister Rand is a respected medium who wrote the book I'm Not Dead, I'm Different.
"Very often people will visit a medium to be comforted or to have a sense that their loved one is okay," says Rand.
America Now's Asha Blake asked Rand, "Someone who is consumed with grief over the loss of a loved one. What can you tell them to make them feel better right off the bat?"
"The first thing they should know is their loved one is with them the moment of passing," says Rand, "Spirits in general are concerned about human grief because it's human. And they remember what it is to be human. And they understand what it is to be separate. And their message is we aren't separate. We're here. So of course that's the thing they want to convey in any way they can."
Rand says grief brought on by suicide can be especially difficult. Because of guilt. She herself has discovered it's not just the surviving family and friends who feel bad.
"Very often spirits who have committed suicide will apologize for the effect it has had on the people around them. What I find most shocking is they do not realize before they pass that people will miss them," says Rand.
Rand says spirits want to communicate with their living loved ones to help them get through the grieving process. But Rand also says grief creates a communication barrier which can cause the spirits -- including those of deceased children -- to reach out through other people.
"What happens is if the spirits can't get through to you because your grief is so deep, they'll show up for somebody else. So a friend may suddenly dream of your child, and you're like, Why is my friend dreaming of my child? It's because your own grief or your inability to sleep because you're so upset is preventing that child from getting through to you," says Rand.
"Does it help to call the spirit to you?," asks Blake.
"All you have to do is say thank you. I know you're here," answers Rand.
Unfortunately, there are con artists who, according to the FBI, pose as mediums and take advantage of a person's vulnerability and grief. Hollister says you have to be careful.
"My tip for finding a good psychic or medium," says Rand, "Basically the three Rs. Research. Referral. And reputation. So do your research. Understand what a good psychic can or can't do for you. Research people in your area. Talk to your friends. A legitimate psychic or medium will not play on your fear. A legitimate psychic and medium will help make a connection with you and your loved one; will help give you information which is helpful and hopeful in your life."
Researcher Julie Beischel found that medium readings combined with grief counseling were the most effective for people struggling with deep grief.
"One participant said that she had worked with a medium and a mental health professional, and she said that the mental health professional reached her mind and the medium reached her heart," says Beischel.
So if you or someone you know is struggling with grief, research shows a medium could be of help. But even legitimate mediums say beware of scams. So do your homework to make sure the medium you want to work with is reputable.
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