The Case Against Private Client Cases - When is help not helping?
There's a lot to be said about how to present yourself or your team as investigators of the paranormal. There's every combination of ways to describe your work, your endeavor, and your overall goal for working in the paranormal. The task is somewhat monumental - the initial impression of yourself or the group you represent is identified by the statement that succinctly and effectually gets your core message across.
It's easy to take a page from any of the thousands of teams and persons out there who publicly investigate, in order to build off of established ideologies or ethics. I think what anyone going out there to publicly present themselves should take into account is what they really want out of investigating. A pivotal question for paranormal investigating that I've asked myself repeatedly, and keep reminding myself to ask, is "who am I doing this for?"
This can become the most complex when a group sets out to enter private homes and investigate for paranormal activity. The premise is nearly always along the lines of "we're here to help", but the definition of help is so obtuse in the context of the (literally) unexplained, that boundaries barely exist, and ideologies are all over the map. Help itself is difficult to define. Boundaries of moral behavior differ across the field of in-home investigators, just as they do outside the paranormal.
A website is usually the main headquarters for presenting all of the things about oneself or team. The About Us, or similar section of so many paranormal groups is rife with one thing that lets me know the most about them: the size of the ego. Sometimes its individual, sometime's its collective. It only takes a quick googling to find scores of websites of teams and read their identifying statements. It doesn't take long to find the ones with egos. Identifiers of the ego are apparent when a team states they exist to help others, but there is no mention of a psychologist, therapist or counselor trained to work with individuals going through grief or particular family crises. Without training to help others with emotional or mental trauma they're experiencing, or perceiving to experience, the ego of the paranormal investigator(s) can become dangerous to the client.
The help the paranormal team offers feels authentic, and like a kind and innocent gesture, but the implications and consequences of helping where there is an inadequacy of ability, can have negative repercussions. I've personally experienced situations where an investigative team entered the home of a family and spent many hours of the night trying to witness and capture something paranormal, all in an endeavor to understand it, or make some sort of logic from it, and interpret it to the family. The final goal was to somehow assist them in lessening their fear, and finding answers. The second part is nearly impossible in the paranormal, the first part is where professionally trained individuals would have the most effective methods.
Many times, a paranormal team is not equipped to provide therapeutic or professional counsel. Some teams recognize that and present a waiver to the clients to exclude them from any damages or consequences. In a way, that might be even more insidious of the team, since they are offering help, with not just zero guarantee, but a legal way out of any negative effect. Is that truly an offer of help?
The lens of perception, however, is so broad in the paranormal (we believe so many different things, that investigations of one property for one family, can end up at odds with each other's findings. This I have been witness to as well. Two teams end up "assisting"