A Psychic Medium Tells Us What It's Actually Like to Speak to the Dead

In our 9–5 series, we profile women at the top of their game. This week, psychic medium Michelle Armstrong gives us a glimpse into her unconventional career

Name: Michelle Armstrong
Age: 42
Social: @officialmichellearmstrong
Education: Certified counsellor from the Australian College of Applied Psychology

Length of time as a psychic medium:
I would say I came into this world a healer. From the get-go, I was highly aware of the way people felt and always had an intrinsic desire to bring healing to people in a multitude of ways. I guess I was born that way.

Photo of psychic medium Michelle Armstrong in a white turtle-neck sweater looking into the distance

(Photo: Dave Laus)

Even though you say you’ve always had this gift, you weren’t always a professional psychic medium. What made you decide to turn this into a career? 

I started out as a counsellor and I found I was able to rapidly get to the core of what was impacting people in a short amount of time, largely due to the information I was receiving intuitively rather than from a textbook. Then in November 2014, I had a profound experience where a feeling came over me that led me to dictate a message that was channeled to me—a message that I heard as if it was coming through my own thoughts, but in a very different way, and I wrote it down. Some people refer to this process as automatic writing or channelled writing. The message that came through told me my work was going to change and that I would start to hear messages— including those from different people on the other side—and I was to pass on those messages to the people who came to me. That was really a turning point in my life, and my career.

When you get these messages, what does that feel like? 

The only way I could explain it is when you’ve had those moments in life where you feel like something comes over you and you know you should definitely go ahead and do this, or you should definitely not do that. That’s the way I hear and receive the messages. It comes through in a different way and it sounds like my voice, but it has a clarity to it and a different vibration and energy to it. If I’m connecting with someone on the other side—so a departed loved one—the messages still come through me, but I hear the person’s voice and perhaps the same tone, pitch or speed they would’ve spoken when they were in their physical form. I see images inside the screen of my mind, like how if I told you to close your eyes and visualize a pink elephant, you would be able to see that. That’s how I see fragments of pictures that have been channeled to me.

When you think of a typical career path, often there’s a training aspect of it like going to school or having a mentor. Is there a component of that to your profession?

I sought out other advanced or well-seasoned mediums and intuitives to learn how to navigate through all of this crazy stuff. There are also courses people can take, certifications, spiritual development circles, mediumship circles and a really amazing place in the U.K. called The Arthur Findlay college, which is dedicated to psychic and spiritual development.

Now, I’m sure you encounter a lot of people who don’t believe in this. What do you say to these folks? 

Generally speaking, most people are skeptical to begin with, which I completely understand. But what’s interesting is that there’s some things that we never question. For example, we live in a world of Wi-Fi. We look into a glass box and we talk to it and then information passes through the atmosphere and ends up on the other side of the world. We say that’s normal and that’s how it is, we accept that Wi-Fi is there. I always say that the work I do is a bit like Wi-Fi, it’s the energy that’s there, we just can’t see it. When I encounter people who are skeptical, I sometimes say “Do you ever get those nudges? Do you ever get an intuitive sense that you should do something different?” That’s really all it is, that’s what’s happening for me—I’m just a little bit more tuned into it and I’ve honed those instincts to get information. I’m not here to change anyone’s beliefs, I’m not here to convince anybody of anything. I’m simply here to do what I feel is my soul purpose, my path and my spiritual job.

There are some seriously famous psychic mediums, like Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo and Hollywood Medium Tyler Henry. How has their notoriety affected your job and what people think about you?

It’s interesting, because in the not-too-distant past this work was something that no one talked about, or at least if people did it was quietly. Even now people sometimes say, “Don’t tell so-and-so I’m coming to see you.” But with the advancement of reality TV it’s become something that people are more aware of, and I have a two-fold opinion about that. On one hand, having this on reality TV can lose the sacredness of it, but on the other hand it’s creating more awareness. I think Tyler Henry and Theresa Caputo are authentic, genuine, loving, caring and compassionate people, and if anyone is going to represent people like myself and what we do, I’m thrilled to be able to have them as our representatives.

Have you ever had a client where nothing comes through? What do you do in those scenarios? 

Yes and no. It’s like trying to tune into a radio station, back in the good old days. You’d have to turn the dial to get the frequency and sometimes it’s static-y and sometimes it’s clear. If I don’t get something straight away, I go to another “station.” I always tell people don’t worry too much about what happens in the beginning. Let’s see what manifests and what comes together like a jigsaw puzzle.

How do you deal with getting messages on a regular basis? Are you just constantly feeling people’s energies every time you’re in a crowd?

Yes. One of the crazy parts about this work is that I’m constantly bombarded by people’s emotional energy, people’s mental energy, people’s spiritual energy and the energy of things. When I go to the supermarket, when I go to my son’s school, which has lots of kids and tons of energy, that definitely does affect me. Over the years, I learned how to protect myself and how to not let so much of that energy in. There’s different techniques and things that I do on a regular basis in order to manage that. But occasionally—for instance if I’m going through a rough time or if it’s that time of the month—it’s harder to keep that stuff out. That’s part of the work that can sometimes be a challenge.

What’s an average work day like for you?

I really go by the flow of energy every day, trusting what comes in is what I’m supposed to be focusing on, but I’m also a single mom and I have an eight-year-old son. He has school, play dates and all these things that he’s gotta do. So an average day looks like getting up, taking my son to school, eating, and from there my day can differ quite a lot. Sometimes I’ll have a bunch of clients so I’ll be sitting in front of a computer, or talking on the phone, and channelling messages. Some days I’m travelling to someone’s home or travelling internationally to do readings. There are times when I’m doing something like this interview, where I’m talking about what I do or I’m in front of the camera—so it’s a really mixed bag. A large part of this is learning how to go with the flow.

When you’re working, what would you say is the best part of your day?  

To witness the shifts that occur in people when they receive messages—whether they’re profound or small—is something so uplifting that it’s almost indescribable. It’s kind of like a spiritual high that I get in pockets throughout my day.

On the flip side, is there a downside to this line of work?  

There are moments and readings and connections with people that are emotional and that are often painful for the person who is receiving the reading. And do I feel that? Yes, but I’ve learned overtime not to carry that stuff with me, and I also look at that as a learning and a healing part of my work. The downside is sometimes with this work, I’ve got one foot here and one foot there spiritually. Learning to balance the two is not always easy. Sometimes it can feel a little lonely around people who don’t have the same connection, because we all want to be understood and we all want to bring people into the stuff that we love to do, but not everybody gets it and not everybody fully understands it.

If someone feels like they might have this ability, what would you suggest as their next step? How do they potentially pursue whether or not this can be a career path?

I’m inundated with emails and posts of people trying to get in contact with me for that very reason, saying,“I feel like this might be me,” or “I’ve seen my dead grandmother and I’ve never told anybody.” I encourage you to explore that, write about it, journal about it, speak to someone like myself, bounce ideas, see whether this is really something that’s going to be part of your role in life. We’ll help you. We know what it’s like.

It sounds like some of your days are emotionally draining. How do you unwind?

At the end of the day, I do feel like I’ve run a marathon—an energetic, spiritual, emotional marathon. When my son goes to sleep, I normally read, listen to some music or meditate. I spend a lot of time just being still and relaxing, and I walk every day. Getting outside in nature is hugely important for me in order to ground and sync my energy. I find that if I don’t do that, I start to get a little scratchy.

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