The 'spiritual life coach' industry is booming. We sent writer and author Daisy Buchanan to Psychic Kesa, Neelam's psychic coach, to find out how she helps her celebrity clients tackle depression and anxiety
‘I’m not super into spirituality,’ explains the mysterious Psychic Kesa, immediately after she has given me a reading using her special, customised tarot style cards, and a crystal ball. ‘It’s just what helps me connect with people. I believe in creating futures by making events happen.’ Strangely, it makes sense. Kesa, whose glittering client roster includes Marie Claire’s first-ever digital cover star supermodel Neelam Gill, bills herself as a ‘Celebrity Life Coach & Mind Reader’, and at first, there seems to be a contradiction between her work and her words.
She has a (super secret) high profile client list, but she maintains an air of mystery. Other than her Instagram account, @km_kesa, she has no digital footprint. I work with a therapist and a career coach, and their websites are filled with highly detailed information about their credentials and experience. Kesa doesn’t even have a set of headshots. Perhaps because her work has a spiritual dimension, she does not provide information about any formal training. Yet, she’s quick to stress that she’s determined to provide people with practical help. ‘Being a reader is half of my skillset,’ she explains. ‘You can get lost in spirituality. People look for imaginary answers in the sky instead of shaping their own world.’
It’s becoming clear that many of Kesa’s potential clients are ‘super into spirituality’, or at the very least, more curious about it than ever before. In fact, over the past five years the ‘psychic services’ industry has grown steadily according to The New York Times. And in New York Magazine’s style site The Cut revealed that their horoscope section was getting 150 per cent more traffic in 2018 than it did in 2016. We’re filling our phones with sleek, slick new apps that claim to use technology to tell us our future, including The Pattern, Sanctuary and Co-Star, which claims to use data from NASA in order to find out exactly where the planets are positioned. In our approach to wellness, the line between the rational and the spiritual is becoming increasingly blurred. Is tarot just another tool that could help us strengthen our mental health and make sense of a strange and confusing world? Or could this be doing more harm than good?
Kesa herself says ‘I’m actually a very logical and practical person. [Mind reading] is generational in my family. I learned a lot about science and psychology to figure out if I was insane, or if I could really do this. It turned out I could really do it.’ She doesn’t advertise, explaining that all of her work comes from recommendations by existing clients. She speaks to up to ten people a day, and while she can’t name anyone she works with, she does say that she has worked with musicians, politicians and princesses – she has been flown out to the Middle East to spend a couple of days with a particular client when we have our conversation. She charges the same rate for all clients – £30 for a 30 minute phone call, or £50 for an hour. ‘I want to make it affordable for everyone,’ she says.
As someone who has experience of more conventional coaching, I’m curious about how a reading with Kesa might differ. She starts by asking me about the area I’d like to talk to her about (I say ‘career’), explaining that she is going to start by looking at where I am, and then exploring where I might want to go. Her initial assessment is jarring. ‘At the moment, thinking that your life could be a number 10, you’re probably a number six, you still have a way to go.’ She checks my destiny line and suggests it’s an image problem. ‘There are so many things that have to change before you can get the recognition that you’re looking for. It might sound a bit superficial, but it could be to do with how you look, how you present yourself. It’s about finding a niche. That’s going to be a journey for you.’ She adds that my best work is coming in my late forties.
Recently, I’ve been working hard on some big projects, and felt proud of my work – I’ve just recorded a series of my podcast, You’re Booked, in America, and sold my first novel to a publisher. I thought things were going pretty well, so Kesa’s words make me feel slightly defensive! However, as I started to unpick them, I realise that while I believe I’m quite good at motivating myself, it’s been a while since anyone has pushed me, or given me an external prompt to look at what I could do better. I’ve been self-employed for many years but speaking to Kesa reminds me of going through a painful work appraisal. We talk a bit about my reluctant Instagram use, and how I could boost my profile by posting more confidently and consistently, instead of using the app to compare myself to everyone I follow and feeling negative about it. ‘The number one thing people need to do is be honest with themselves,’ Kesa says. ‘If you can’t be brutally honest with yourself and face some hard facts about life, you’re not going to get anywhere.’ She reveals that I’m not the only person who finds her approach a little hard to take. ‘Neelam would say I’m super tough, I’m really blunt. I am going to call you out on the real things our egos will always stop us from wanting to hear.’
It sounds like Neelam’s fine with Kesa’s tough love. In her Marie Claire interview she says Kesa is now one of her best friends after seeking help from her last year, and credits her with helping her through a very dark time. ‘I felt like I couldn’t work, I was so depressed and had an insane amount of anxiety,’ Gill said. ‘I had a few sessions with a therapist but it wasn’t productive or beneficial. We were bringing things up from my childhood that I hadn’t thought about since I was a kid. When you’re already in such a negative mindset, I felt we were just unpicking even more issues. I needed something proactive and solution-based.’
Even though many of her clients have very public profiles, Kesa prefers to stay out of the limelight – and she thinks that paying too much attention to social media can distract us from our true goals and purpose. ‘Right now everything is about [becoming] an influencer, model, blogger. People want to do what other people are doing, and that can lead to floating around, not getting anywhere. It’s not just about finding out what you want, but why you want it.’ Using a crystal ball and looking into the future is not a traditional therapeutic approach, but Kesa believes it is more empowering than looking back. ‘We want to shape our lives, not dwell on the past. My clients come back to me because I help them to see results in my life.’
Life coaching is a largely unregulated area. We need to be very careful about the conversations we have around the subject, and make sure that vulnerable people get the right help. I’m not sure that working with a psychic is the correct course of action for anyone who is really struggling. When it comes to managing my mental health, I’ll probably stick to traditional therapy, but my session with Kesa has certainly been challenging and thought provoking. Her most important message is that although she is looking ahead, nothing is fixed. ‘It’s about moving forward and finding hope,’ she says. Planning the future is definitely more empowering than getting stuck in the past.
Kesa’s ‘taking control of your destiny’ tips
Be brutally honest with yourself. You can only grow by knowing who you are and working on the areas that aren’t there yet.
Use social media carefully. Watching other people might distract you from who you want to be.
Think about what you want and why you want it. Don’t pick goals because they sound good, it’s better to be honest about what’s really motivating you.
Focus on the future. Remember your past doesn’t need to define you. If you work hard, you can change your life.
* If you’d like a reading with Kesa, you can contact her through her Instagram account @km_kesa