Developing Ethical Standards for Mediumship/Trance Channeling: Building Trust and Professionalism

June 16, 2023
IONS Science Team

Ethical standards are essential guidelines that shape professional behavior, enabling individuals to make responsible decisions and uphold social responsibility. While established professions have long-standing codes of ethics, the field of mediumship/trance channeling is relatively new in its path toward professionalization. As the field expands, the need for a unified code of ethics becomes increasingly evident to bolster credibility and protect consumers. In this blog, we delve into the significance of ethical standards in mediumship/trance channeling, the process of their development, and the ongoing efforts to establish a code of ethics for practitioners in the United States.

The Significance of Ethical Standards in Mediumship/Trance Channeling

For those seeking comfort and connection with loved ones who have passed, mediumship and trance channeling are unique opportunities. Mediumship involves accessing information about the deceased and mediums are individuals who claim to communicate regularly with them. There are two types of mediumship: mental and physical, but this study focuses on mental mediumship. Trance channeling, on the other hand, involves using one’s body as a vehicle for a disincarnate being to communicate directly through speech, writing, or movement. However, since there are no formal ethical standards, the field of mediumship and trance channeling has faced challenges in gaining trust and overcoming skepticism.

Consumer ethics play a critical role in this realm, and there is a strong yearning within the field for ethical standards and resources. The theme of “ethical responsibility” arose prominently from a study conducted with practicing mediums/trance channelers, highlighting the urgent need for shared ethical standards and consumer ethics within the profession. Providing services to the bereaved demands a deep understanding of grief and a commitment to preventing psychological harm. The development of ethical standards not only ensures the well-being of clients but also enhances the reputation and credibility of mediums/trance channelers as a whole.

The Development Process of Ethical Standards

In accordance with Frankel’s (1996) framework, the development of ethical standards involves evaluating the core values of the profession and establishing the intended purpose of the standards. This process typically gives rise to three types of ethical codes: aspirational, educational, and regulatory. An aspirational code sets forth the ideals for practitioners to strive towards, while an educational code enhances their learning and decision-making skills in ethical predicaments. Finally, a regulatory code offers the necessary framework to address grievances and maintain accountability.

Professionals in this field are ready. In a survey of nearly 150 practicing mediums/channelers, we found that there is support for developing ethical standards and similar resources. In the same study, “ethical responsibility” emerged as the dominant theme across all open-ended survey questions, which included an “urgent need” for shared ethical standards and consumer ethics (Zemel & Wahbeh, 2023). Although the field of mediumship/trance channeling is still in its early stages of professionalization, the development of ethical standards usually relies on the involvement of a professional association. However, in this research project, we embrace a self-organizing and collaborative approach that engages field leaders and practitioners in a consensus-building process.

Research Objective and Study Design

We aim to develop an initial aspirational code of ethics for English-speaking mediums/trance channelers, utilizing a collaborative methodology. To commence, we will gather existing ethical standards through an online survey, encouraging practitioners to share their perspectives through open-ended text boxes and document uploads.

Through diligent content analysis of the collected data, we will identify major and minor themes, which will be used as a foundation for drafting an ethical standards framework. This draft will then undergo rigorous review and editing by independent researchers and practitioners. In a subsequent online survey, the draft framework will be shared with participants for feedback, employing a rating system and providing opportunities for open-ended feedback. This iterative process of sharing and rating will continue until we achieve consensus or majority agreement for each element of the ethical standards framework.

Once consensus or majority agreement is attained, we will develop a draft code of ethics that undergoes the same iterative process of feedback and revision. The final version of the ethical standards, gaining consensus or majority agreement, will then be shared with participants and subsequently published for the wider mediumship/trance channeling community.


As the field of mediumship/trance channeling progresses, establishing ethical standards becomes imperative in promoting professionalism, responsible conduct, and consumer protection. By embracing a collaborative approach involving practitioners and researchers, we are actively working towards developing an initial code of ethics for English-speaking mediums/trance channelers. Our collective efforts seek to enhance the credibility, reputation, and societal acceptance of mediumship/trance channeling, benefiting practitioners and clients.

We invite you to contribute to developing ethical standards in mediumship/trance channeling. If you are a professional medium or trance channeler, we encourage you to learn more about the study and participate. Additionally, please forward this information to any fellow practitioners you know who may be interested in contributing to this important endeavor. Together, we can shape the future of ethical standards in mediumship/trance channeling.

To learn more, please go 

Frankel, M. S. (1996). Developing ethical standards for responsible research: Why? Form? Functions? Process? Outcomes? Journal of Dental Research, 75(2), 832-835. doi:10.1177/00220345960750021601

Zemel, S., & Wahbeh, H. (2023). Ethical readiness and professionalization among mediums and channelers in the United States. In Review. 

Join Our Global Community

Receive curated mind-bending, heart-enlivening content. We’ll never share your email address and you can unsubscribe any time.

Back to Top