By Paul Roupe

For many people, the word psychic conjures up images of crystal balls and women with dangling hoop earrings issuing foreboding warnings from under a carnival tent.

But MaryAnne Adams, who has been running her own business for about half of her 34 years, quickly dispels with age-old stereotypes of fortune tellers.

She doesn’t tell futures, she doesn’t cast spells like other readers do. She doesn’t like labels and isn’t fond of the title “psychic,” though she uses it as more a descriptive term than anything else. Rather, she considers herself a spiritual counselor and advisor.

Many people who come to see her are seeking some guidance about a specific aspect of their lives: love, relationships, career.

What she does is offer advice to those who come seeking answers.

When it comes to matters of the soul, she says, “a doctor cannot help you, a psychiatrist cannot help you. It’s something deep within your spirit that calls. It’s when you get to that point when you just need to know, what do I do?”

More than anything, she adds, “it’s future advice.”

Adams has been giving this advice for most of her life. Her mother is also a psychic, and growing up she knew nothing else. Some of her earliest memories are of clients visiting her mother and seeking her counsel.

She was home-schooled for the majority of her youth, and despite not having a formal education beyond 6th grade, she has a very keen business sense and is preternaturally gifted with having the ability to read and understand people and parlay that into a successful career.

As a young girl, she remembers picking up on and feeling energy around her, which she used early on to do what she calls “hands-on healing.”

Once, while her mother was giving a reading to an ailing elderly woman, a three-year-old Adams recalls one of her first encounters with the psychic life.

“I remember this old lady grabbing my hands, holding on to them, and crying.” She watched as her mother had a conversation with the woman, and then she picked her up and put her in the old woman’s lap.

“I healed that woman with my spirit or energy, and that’s why she placed me in her hands. I remember it was a physical pain she had, and whatever it was I took it away.”

Because of her upbringing, Adams knew that this is what she wanted to do with her life. By the time she was around sixteen she already had established clientele and was providing the same services she does now.

She is certified as a spiritual counselor and a minister of healing, and she feels proud that what she does helps people and can change their lives for the better.

But there are still skeptics and those who believe that what she does is witchcraft or is inherently evil. Adams grew up a Roman Catholic and proclaims that she does in fact live her life according to God. She sees no trouble reconciling her career with a belief in a creator.

“What’s the difference between what I do, and a preacher who stands up in church and says, ‘I just had a vision.’ The difference is that I will never tell anybody that god told me. I only go by my instinct, my feeling, and my energy.”

If there is an essence to what she provides, it has to do with spiritual healing, which always starts and ends with the person seeking it.

An important aspect of Adams’ services is that she won’t mislead people who come in looking for answers. She won’t tell them what they want to hear or inflate her ego by pretending to have knowledge she doesn’t.

The answers, she says, will come from “their own decision, their own understanding, and their own opinions.”

“I am not here to change anybody’s future when it’s God’s plan. I’m not here to make somebody go in a different direction,” she adds.

As it stands now, she is content with her life. “There is nothing in my life right now that I want, nor that I need.”

Her family, including her 14-year-old son and 9-year old daughter, is healthy. Her kids have food on the table and clothes on their backs.

Her business, which she runs from home in Modesto, is doing well enough that she is booked far in advance. But being a psychic isn’t a job for her. It’s her life.

People who come to see her are looking for emotional support in some way, and because she does readings from the same place where she raises her family, it takes on an air of closeness and devotion that she says all psychics must have.

“When I die, no matter what my tombstone says, I know that I have helped so many people. I can sit here and say that I’ve changed people’s lives just by a hug, by being a friend. Which, to me, is worth it.”