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The Psychic's Seven


Explanations > Needs > The Psychic's Seven

Health | Money | Love | Career | Travel | Education | Ambition |  So what?


Rowland (2012) identifies four major (health, money, love, career) and three minor themes (travel, education, ambition) on which 'psychics' focus when giving their clients 'readings'. This represents a novel yet highly practical set of needs that are most likely to represent real needs.

Health and well-being

Perhaps the most basic needs are for health and safety, to survive and avoid immediate threats. A problem with this is that, despite precautions, disease and misfortune can happen unannounced at any time. We hence have an ongoing interest in any indicators of potential issues so we can either prepare for the worst or look forward in happy anticipation.

Money and material comforts

Money is sometimes called the root of all evil. It certainly can be at the root of much action and having it (especially a lot of it) is very empowering in what we are able to achieve. Money is actually a wonderful invention that allows 'delayed barter', being an interim state between work and eventual benefit.

In these modern material times, money is perhaps more desired than ever, even by those who have enough to get by. And for those who have little it is a golden dream of comfort and fame.

Love, romance and relationships

Perhaps our most fundamental evolutionary programming is to reproduce our genes. We are driven to this in the search for a romantic partner with whom we can procreate. Romance is of continuing interest, even after marriage, either to sustain the relationship or in hope of spreading our procreational bets further afield.

We also find benefit in platonic relationships as friends will help us when we are in need and provide stimulating company at other times.

Career and progression

Managing one's career is a tricky business, from getting any job to getting that dream job and reaching ever upwards through promotion and change. Our work provides money for all the other things in our lives, enabling us to travel the world or bring up our families.

Careers are a powerful source of creating identity, as evidenced by how, if asked about themselves, many people will talk about what they do. We gain esteem and status from our careers as we do prestigious jobs or help others succeed. Careers hence create meaning and a sense of purpose in our daily lives.

To help our careers we often seek the advice and support of others. We want to know what we can do and how to navigate difficult corporate waters. We also would like reassurance that gives us confidence that can carry us forward.


While not a fundamental need, travel can be of notable interest. Holidays are often taken far from where we live as we seek warmer climes, new experiences or just living like royalty for a snatch in time. Travel can also be work-related as we visit customers, stakeholders or others in the organisation.

Travel can be both exciting and worrisome, for example where we up roots and move home. Moving is scary as we wonder about new friends, work and all the problems we could face. We hence seek reassurance that our hopes and dreams about new places will be achieved.

Education and the pursuit of new knowledge

Learning, although sometimes painful, can be exciting as we get the 'aha' buzz of understanding and the deep thrill of achievement. Learning hence helps meet our needs for novelty, stimulationand intellectual arousal.

Knowledge and skills are the passport to more fulfilling and successful careers. Learning keeps us employable and gets us new jobs.

If we are in education we want to know we will pass all exams. If not currently learning, we appreciate knowing needs and opportunities ahead.

Ambitions, hopes and dreams

When other needs are fulfilled and even if not, we all dream and have hope for a better future. We build realistic goals for the short, medium and long term and then use these as motivation to carry us forward.

With all the emotional investment and time spent in pursuit of our dreams, it is nice to think we can have confidence they will arrive. Especially in the long, dark periods in which we struggle with little seeming progress, if someone can tell us it will all be worthwhile then this can give us the energy to soldier on to the glorious end.

So what?

So consider these very practical and human wants when working on persuading through needs. These are particularly useful when you want to show that you understand and empathize with them.

If you are interested in the topic of psychics and cold reading, you may also want to further explore Ian Rowland's work.

See also

Conversation techniques


Rowland, I. (2012). The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading (fifth edition), Ian Rowland Limited



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