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Animal Communicator or Pet Psychic?

Edited version of article originally published in Species Link Issue 65 Winter 2007

I have recently been considering the question "Are all animal communicators 'Pet Psychics'?".

How other animal communicators view the term “Pet Psychic” seems to be rather varied. I am puzzled. One very respected communicator’s website specifically states that she is not a pet psychic, whereas another respected communicator’s book details on its cover the author listed as one of America’s top psychics and during a workshop I attended referred to herself as an animal psychic. Contrarily, I became aware that another communicator has recently removed the words “pet psychic” from alongside her main heading on her website.

The term “Pet Psychic” is often unfortunately considered a derisive term in the UK. I have been thinking that if one is consulting a Psychic (Medium) for readings concerning people, it is usually understood to be communication (via the Medium or Psychic) with a deceased person. Therefore, it would follow in many peoples’ reasoning that a pet/animal psychic is just communicating with deceased pets.

I have been told that if one is a “Pet Psychic,” it involves contacting sources other than the animal, such as spirit guides. Yet, it is apparent to me that one is definitely using one’s “psychic” senses while communicating telepathically. Perhaps it is just that different communicators have different interpretations of what “using ones psychic senses” or being a “psychic” means?

I would like to refer newcomers to many of the books written on animal communication, but I am struggling to explain why one book says that communicators are pet psychics, and another denies this altogether.

I have spent time looking up the word “psychic” in various dictionaries. I am wondering why all communicators will not agree about this. I’d like a consistent understanding of how some communicators can be animal psychics and others not, except by choice of label. Although I know we can all call ourselves whatever names and labels we may wish, i.e., a housewife being a “domestic engineer” and a dustman being a “refuse collector.” I feel it would help promote the reality of animal communication if all animal communicators could reach a general agreement as to whether this term “pet/animal psychic” applies. Other people must be a little confused regarding this, too.
Jane Summers, UK animal communicator

Yes/No/Maybe So
Penelope Smith This was my initial answer to Jane’s e-mailed question before I suggested we use her query for The Voice of Experience column in Species Link and ask for other animal communicators’ input:

It sounds like you answered your own question: that some animal communicators don't want their work labeled with the misleading connotations of the word "psychic" that you mention, yet others value the positive definitions of the word.

Here's an excerpt found on my website under animal consultation information from my audio recording
Healing and Counseling with Animals to answer your question.

What to Expect
A consultation with Penelope Smith, whether in-person or by phone, is an opportunity for direct two-way telepathic communication with your animal companions. You can get questions answered about problems you are having with your animal friends. You can learn to understand their viewpoints better, how they think, what they do and don't understand, and how to treat them to create more cooperation and a better partnership in living or working together.

All non-human animals telepathically communicate. This is not something spooky or weird, but it is an inborn ability of all beings, including humans. Most people in this culture are socially conditioned from childhood to deny telepathic communication, and so they lose the ability. Humans who are sensitive, receptive, and attentive can recover, develop, or increase their own ability to communicate mentally with other species.

People call me an "animal psychic," and this makes some people think I know everything about animals or, worse yet, themselves! Psychic comes from the word "psyche," meaning "soul" or "spirit." Telepathic communication is psychic because it's a connection with the soul or spirit of animals—their essence or true self including their thoughts, purposes, values, perceptions, understanding, and other mental and spiritual qualities. It is no different from a heart-to-heart discussion with another human, where both people are really listening and understanding each other. While I can usually perceive a lot about the animal from the first connection, I do not necessarily know details of their lives and feelings until I ask about them. I don't know or care to know irrelevant details about your personal life, so you're safe!

We go from what is known about the situation from your viewpoint, to the unknown—what the animal thinks about the situation. I specialize in getting the animal's viewpoint, feelings, perceptions, or attitudes by asking questions and listening to what animals think, feel, or visualize. This direct communication may give a completely new outlook on the animal or problems and how to handle them. Animal companions are generally very grateful to have their people understand their point of view….

Other animal communicators who answered Jane’s questions covered the subject from various directions. Some were very straightforward in their opposition or affirmative choice to use the words “animal psychic” or “pet psychic” as descriptive terms for their work. Others revealed the importance of subtle linguistic distinctions or the meaninglessness of defining ourselves in any limited terms.

We Are “Psychic”

Animal Communicators Use Psychic Abilities
Jenny Shone All animal communicators are animal psychics. Some people feel that the term “psychic” might scare some people off. When using our communication abilities we are tapping into our intuition, our clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. These are all psychic abilities.

Being a Medium
Janet Kennedy I am studying to be an ordained minister in the religion of Spiritualism. We also develop as "mediums."

Definition of a medium: A person who repeatedly relays evidence of communication between our world and the spirit world. A medium acts as the middle person who relays information from a deceased loved person or animal to the present living person. Proven facts as evidence given by past loved ones are what distinguish it to be real.

Psychic: A person who reads the energy field that surrounds a living person. People create their thoughts, which live in the energy field or aura that surrounds them. A psychic connects with a person’s energy field and whatever thoughts or feelings s/he puts into this aura.

Animal Communication: Using telepathic communication or "mind to mind" sharing of thoughts between the animal and the communicator.

An animal communicator can use all her abilities when communicating with animals or people. It is important to understand the difference and to work separately with each. There should be an understanding of what is coming from our minds and what is actually coming from the animal or person. We can access our guides and loved ones to assist us when doing this work.

How Else Could We Tap In?
Gena Wilson Many people do not like to use the word “psychic” because it has gotten a bad rap. I believe that all animal communicators are psychic. How else could we tap in?

Many psychics that I know will put “intuitive counseling” on their business cards to avoid the word “psychic.” Obviously, words mean different things to people.

I wonder if everyone knows what an animal communicator is. Everyone seems to know what a “pet psychic” is. I think more people are okay with the term “psychic” than are not okay with it.

Won’t Use Word “Psychic”

Having a Conversation
Shirley Merrill I never refer to myself as a “pet psychic.” Even though I open myself up in prayer before each session to be a clear and open channel for the pet and ask that their guides be allowed to work in accordance with my guides for the higher good of all concerned, I am simply having a conversation and relaying the information. We certainly are not considered psychic when we are speaking with a human, so why with an animal?

Each one of us can get information from guides on a daily basis whether we are animal communicators, psychics, or regular people. Therefore, I think the word "psychic" should be removed because, as most animal communication teachers tell their classes: everyone can do this; you don't have to have a special gift. It is just a matter of learning to tap into the animals’ world of communicating and being willing to open yourself up to interpret for them.

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Not a Mind Reader
Janet Dobbs Interspecies communication is a two-way conversation between two beings, whether they are alive or have crossed over.

A recent client expected me to read her mind and her horse’s mind as well as tell her the future. I had to tell her that was not what I do and that she might like to choose someone who does that kind of work. Therefore, all animal communicators are not “pet psychics.”

Overused Word and Free Choice
Shirley Scott The word "psychic" has been so overused and misinterpreted that many spiritual and psychic people prefer not to use it. I prefer to use the word "clairvoyant" as more people seem to understand the meaning of that word to “psychic.” It also seems that "clairvoyant" isn't as scary or invasive to my clients. Many people seem to think if you are "psychic" that you know everything about them. Even many of my friends who aren't animal communicators but are psychic readers don't use the word “psychic.”

Being a clairvoyant and animal/human communicator with mediumship abilities is better understood and easier to explain than the word "psychic." People want more clarity about what I do when they come to me.

As we move into the next level of human consciousness, I believe more people will understand that being psychic, telepathic, talking to loved ones who have crossed over, feeling energy and others emotions, healing with thoughts and touch, and other practices are linked together spiritually. As we move toward a higher understanding of ourselves and the Power that encircles us, we will all start to awaken to these abilities. When this time comes, the word "psychic" won't mean much.

We will understand that we don't need to put so much energy in words as we will be using more of our thoughts and emotional energy to communicate. A word can only be as powerful as our energy behind it, as with a thought or a look. It is the intent or energy behind something that makes it what it is.

People have free choice to call me psychic, clairvoyant, medium, or just Shirley. None of those words bother me. I'm just a spiritual person who is trying to help others understand their potential, see their lessons, and open understanding of the spiritual realm.

Interpreting vs. Reading
Betty Lewis In the United States, the TV show, Pet Psychic, did a lot to foster this label and bring the issue to people’s awareness.

An animal communicator is an interpreter. I pick up information from the animals telepathically and I relay it to the human in English. I cannot tell you things that the animal doesn't know or isn't willing to say. A psychic, on the other hand, is "reading" the animal's energy aura and relays information obtained that way. The animal may or may not be consciously aware of this information.

As a professional animal communicator, I try to keep the issue as simple as possible, understanding that my clients have different belief systems.

Brunt of Jokes
Morgine Jurdan When I began my animal communication practice, jokes were told about psychics and their insights were challenged. Some psychics would foretell the future and offer predictions. Many of the early articles I read about animal communicators referred to them as "pet psychics." Often the intent of the article was to downplay or challenge their work.

Years later, when I began to visit a few psychics I trusted, they usually said very little to me and did not ask me many questions. They communicated with a deeper part of me, which I was not yet in touch with or with my guides and angels. I was silent most of the time.

When I communicate with animals, I do use "psychic abilities" such as telepathy. However, I personally carry on a two-way conversation with animals. I ask and receive answers. I can also pick up feelings and sensations in my body and acquire information on different levels. I make it my intention to acquire clear communications from animals in response to my inquiries and to share with animals whatever their people want to tell them. I am not reading them, talking to their guides, or predicting the future.

I choose not to associate myself with the negative connotations the word "psychic" still can bring up today. I have discovered by asking questions of my prospective clients who use that term that they often assume I am reading the animals and do not actually hear anything they have to say. They frequently assume it is a one-way conversation. For these reasons, I choose to call myself an animal communicator and give clear reasons as to why, so clients are very clear what I can and cannot do and how best I can be of service to them and their animal friends.

Clear Difference
Kazuko Tao In psychic or spiritual readings, the psychic reader gathers information about the subject through various means. By using a combination of reading the energy field, connecting with the subject’s soul or higher self and various spirit guides, as well as the reader’s own guides, the psychic delivers information about the subject and his or her life. This is not a direct communication with the subject, but rather an impression based on the information gathered. The term “psychic” means of the soul or having to do with the psyche, or mind, going beyond natural or known physical processes.

I was trained to work in this manner with people. However, when I work as an animal communicator with animals, I do not do a “psychic reading” for them. I believe there is a big difference between psychic work with animals and animal communication. Animal communication is a two-way conversation using telepathy between the animal and the communicator whose role is to be a bridge or messenger between the animal and his or her person. I have a dialogue with the animal and do not derive additional information by reading the energy field or employ other means for the purpose of accessing information that is currently unknown to the animal.

By communicating directly with animals, I honor their wisdom, identity, and their place in the world. I help to give them a voice, so that we humans can comprehend our animal companions as they truly are and not as we may perceive them to be. My work as a communicator is to have an open dialogue, to offer the power of self-expression to both the animal and his or her human companion.

Depending on the type of work one does with animals, one can use the title “psychic” or communicator. I don’t do “psychic” work with animals; I have a direct communication with them. Therefore, I call myself an animal communicator.

Learning a Language is not Psychic
Carol Gurney There is a big difference between the terms “communicator” and “psychic.”

Animal communication is a language of its own. Learning to communicate with animals is analogous to learning a foreign language like French, Italian, or Spanish. It is a language that comes in a different package or form than what we are used to, such as hearing a person’s voice and having their lips move. An animal communicator has a direct two-way conversation with an animal, just as a person would communicate with another person. Even when the animal has passed on, you can engage with the animal directly and have a two-way conversation with the animal.

When a psychic does a reading for a person, s/he might use many different modalities in retrieving the information, such as tarot cards or spirit guides. Some often forecast the future for people. The psychic is not necessarily talking to the person or animal directly. This is a big difference from what an animal communicator is doing in its purest sense—having a two-way conversation with the animal and no one else.

In communicating with a person, you would not consult spirit guides or any other third parties, so why would we do that with animals? That is how I believe the waters are muddied, and we lose the integrity of what animal communication is. One of the things that I teach my students is not to cloak the message from the animal in a veil of interpretation or judgment, but to simply report it and respond to it.

Many of the “conversations” between an animal and a communicator come as fleeting thoughts, and the process of learning to communicate involves learning to recognize and acknowledge those impressions as actual language. Good animal communicators almost invariably have a finely tuned intuitive sensibility, but this is not the same thing as being psychic, in the sense that there is some form of “supernatural” intervention in the process.

The famous psychic, Char, referred her client to me for a lost cat. She told her client that she felt the cat was dead but she suggested the client call me. Char knew that this was her impression and that she was not talking directly with the animal. When I got in touch with the animal directly, he told me he was still in his body and gave me details as to what he saw around him. The client found his cat alive and exactly where he said he was.

As animal communicators, I believe it is our responsibility to the profession to keep the integrity of the language of animals intact. If other modalities are going to be used within a consultation session, clients should be advised as to what their animal has communicated vs. what information the communicator is offering from their own intuitive sense.

Flexible Terminology

The Right Title for the Audience
Suzan Vaughn If we are to take responsibility not only for the clear delivery of our messages, but also their receipt, then language must be adaptable. That's the crux of the matter for me when it comes to identifying myself as either an animal communicator or a pet psychic. In my practice, I use the terms interchangeably, depending on the circumstance.

For some people, the word "psychic" can be frightening. It's been associated with disturbing experiences, bizarre Hollywood movies, and strange, flamboyant, or untrustworthy people out to take unsuspecting people’s money. When I speak before very conservative groups about telepathic communication, I label myself an animal communicator, because everyone who cares for an animal companion can relate to the fact that on some level animals communicate. If the group I'm addressing seems very new to the subject, I even back up a step further and begin speaking to them about intuition and gut feelings. Then I lead up to the "p" word by explaining that we are really talking about a spectrum of experience ranging from undeveloped to developed intuition and psychic ability.

Aside from carefully selecting the correct title for myself in speaking publicly about interspecies communication, there's a subtle difference for me in how I personally define the two terms. “Pet psychic” implies an ability to move back and forth in time. Forecasting and prediction are part of that, as well as the ability to revisit past lives. As a “pet psychic,” I also feel more obligated to come up with the questions, pose them to the animal, and feedback the response. The client is more passive in this process.

As an animal communicator, I am simply an interpreter between an animal and his or her caretaker. The client comes up with the questions, I pose them to the animal, the animal offers an answer telepathically, and I deliver it.

Whether you call yourself a pet psychic or an animal communicator, it's important to use words your recipients can hear without raising defensive red flags of concern. Once those flags are hoisted, it may be tough to get back on track.

Language must be pliable in order for it to stay alive. The goal is communication that nurtures understanding, greater awareness, and a loving introduction of the concepts that acknowledge the intelligence and divine nature of all living things.

Talking to an Equal
Nedda Wittels When I began my professional animal communication practice, my Guidance clarified my mission: to help others understand that animals are sentient beings, conscious, and self-aware. This led me to avoid the term “psychic” because people asked about having a “reading.” I explain to people that I am not “reading” their animals, like reading a book, tarot cards, or palms. I avoid the term “medium” because I don’t go into trance. I avoid the term “pet” because it implies that the animals are here to make us happy or serve us in some other way.

“Pet” generally indicates subservience, “someone kept for amusement or companionship” (according to the American Heritage Dictionary). In our patriarchal culture, men have used “pet” to describe animals and women, promoting inequality and justifying discriminatory treatment and mistreatment.

“Psychic” includes clairvoyance; clairaudience; clairsentience; reading auras, tarot cards, palms, and astrological charts; telepathy; telekinesis; remote viewing and all aspects of extra-sensory perception and energy healing modalities. Many animal communicators have a variety of psychic abilities, including telepathy with animals, so the word “psychic” certainly applies. I try to help my clients understand that everyone is psychic to some degree.

I want to give my clients the experience of talking to an equal who speaks a different language and lives in a different type of body. I do my sessions in simultaneous translation, like someone at the United Nations, receiving from the animal and translating into words as quickly as I can. The human is on the phone and the animal is telepathically connected. I encourage my clients to ask questions during the session and to respond to the animal’s perspective, thoughts, and feelings.

Over the years, I have softened a bit in my use of language. I still call myself an animal communicator, but when people ask what that is, I may ask if they saw the Pet Psychic television show. If appropriate, I use that show as a jumping off spot to explain that I have conversations with animals telepathically. If the person asks whether I speak with animals who have died, I say that I do. Then I mention that all life is Spirit and that I can speak with Spirit both in and out of a physical body. I also tell people, when it comes up, that I can scan the physical and energy bodies, speak with guides, angels, and Ascended Masters, plants, rocks, and the Earth, and that I also do energy or psychic healings.

I have been gratified to see humanity’s collective consciousness shift towards acceptance of telepathic communication and become more open to the understanding that the entire universe is sentient. I would recommend that you use language and labels that are comfortable for you and that will help you promote your professional mission, even if you have to educate others along the way.

Animal Interpreter or Animal Communicator
Jean-Luc Janiszewski When I declared my activity to the French fiscal administration, I had to explain what it is. The simplest explanation I gave is that it corresponds to a sort of interpreter for humans and animals. An international conferences interpreter I met later in Italy translated the work immediately as interprète per animali in Italian, interpreter for animals in American, or interprète animalier in French.

The majority of French people to whom I present the concept do not spontaneously understand what a communicator really is. That’s not because it is complex or incomprehensible, but only because non-specialists do not often use this word.

The definition that the Larousse dictionary proposes for “communicator” is: "That serves to put in communication." It corresponds well to our function: to put a human being in communication with an animal or inversely. The word “interpreter“ or “a person that translates a language into another,” seems more current.

That’s why I call myself an animal interpreter rather than an animal communicator among French people. The inverse is true when I exchange with English speaking friends.

Animal Communicator versus Pet Psychic
According to the Webster’s dictionary a “pet psychic” is (A) a person apparently sensitive to non-physical forces. (B) a medium dealing with domesticated animals.

I’ve learned in my training to use telepathy consciously in order to be able to send, receive, and understand messages when I get in touch with other species. I and many of my colleagues may also use intuition, shamanic journeys, psychometry, clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience, deep meditation, lucid-dreaming, and remote viewing for the same purpose. If using these kind of tools means to be sensitive to non-physical forces, well then, yes, we may be called “pet psychics” too.

A medium is an intermediary. When people ask me to contact deceased animals or when a deceased animal asks me to transmit a message to his or her human companion or family, I intervene effectively as a medium or intermediary between a non-physical being and an incarnated one. In that sense I, and those doing the same things, may be considered as members of the “pet psychic” community.

Like many of my friends, I get a lot of pleasure in communicating with wild animals, too. So “pet psychic” is a little restrictive and “animal psychic” more appropriate to describe what we do.

Aren’t We All so Much More than This?
Consider the variety of backgrounds of the members of the animal communicator community. You have those who are just interpreters, and it’s beautiful to be that alone. You may find former breeders, veterinarians, counselors, psychotherapists, animal trainers, shelter administrators, psychics, animal behaviorists, chiropractors, teachers, biologists, and healers. These people continue to use all their skills in their animal communicator practice. Aren’t these people already more than animal communicators and pet psychics? Consequently, they all may perceive the animal communicator’s function differently.

When I was a child, I could be a knight on Monday, an angel on Tuesday, a fire fighter on Wednesday, and a professional pilot for the rest of the week. Who cared? As a child, I was allowed to use these words in my play.

As an adult, once you have become an animal communicator and/or a pet psychic, you cannot just play with words as kids do, even if the activity is not strictly regulated. Your title gives you a status and a role in the society; it gives you rights and duties. From it you get a public image. Since animal communication an emergent profession in most countries, it even generates responsibilities towards past and future.

As professionals, we are called to do our honest best for our animal companions and human clients. To achieve that, some will need to offer a non-controversial public image to the world, while others will feel more comfortable with a fringe identity.

Regarding the past, some will consider themselves as guardians of the spiritual treasure that our elders passed on to us. Towards the future, the way we are managing the animal communication activity now creates the nature of the heritage we will transmit to our children and this will give them the desire to develop it or not in the future.

Words are just tools. The real question is less, “Are we animal communicators and/or pet psychics?” than “What do we do with the words, with the linguistic tools?” Do we use them to lead us all towards a better, more harmonious world, or do we use them to open new battlefields? Do we use them to unite or to separate? Do we use them to make living beings happier or harm them? Do we use the words to help or to dominate? Do we use them to support or to discourage? Do we use them to underline who we are, to what social group we do belong, or to communicate what we do?

We are free souls, definitely so much more than any terms can define.

What We Call Ourselves Is Not Who We Are
Dr. Laurie Moore One word can mean something very different from one culture to another, as well as from one individual to another. Assume the best of your brothers and sisters at all times. If you wish to know their intention, ask them! "Pet Psychic" means different things to different people.

Let us go beyond what is bad, good, better, or worse and remember we all have one heart. The one heart is love in whomever it is beating. The animals know this. We can learn form every single one of us. What we call ourselves is not who we are.

Agreement or Clarification
While Jane Summer’s desire for a general agreement on titles for all animal communicators may not be satisfied here, we certainly have a fresh, lively, and profound perusal of the subject. These heartfelt thoughts on the subject may serve to clarify our use of the term “psychic” and support us all in the good work we do with animal communication.

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