The Shift Doctors Speak on Psychosis Versus Awakening Intuition

Am I going crazy? What do you tell someone who reports hearing voices inside their head- or someone who talks about seeing visions of people or spiritual beings? In many cultures this is not considered normal. Sometimes it is more accepted as a cultural belief if it is described as a visit from a deceased family member during a time of grief or acute stress. The idea of a spirit guide being called upon for counseling or advice is also accepted in some cultures (i.e., Joan of Arc’s voices). Children who tell such things are usually believed to have an overly developed sense of imagination. While many highly creative people, inventors and geniuses have expressed hearing voices that are the source of their creativity, most people who report hearing voices are labeled as just being “crazy”.

Physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals have historically been trained that people are delusional or psychotic if they report seeing or hearing things that other people do not see or hear. A hallucination is defined as a profound distortion in a person’s perception of reality, typically accompanied by a powerful sense of reality; it may be a sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there. Hallucinations are described in serious truly psychotic disorders that need to be medically treated such as schizophrenia, psychotic depression, severe mania, schizoaffective disorder, certain seizure or tumor-related disorders of the brain, and illicit substance-induced hallucinosis. Hallucinations are also frequently described in dissociative disorders and anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. <Disclaimer: It is important to note that a person on medication for treatment of psychiatric disorders or under the care of a physician not discontinue or adjust dose of medication without first consulting their treating physician.>

‘Extrasensory Perception’ is a phrase introduced in 1940 by Dr. J.B. Rhine of the Department of Parapsychology at Duke University. It is used as a general term to describe all sorts of phenomena that cannot be perceived through our usual senses. This includes clairvoyance (seeing things at a distance farther than our normal vision would allow) and clairaudience (hearing things at a greater distance than our normal hearing would allow). These perceptions may not only be from a greater distance, but also from different times or from areas that are not on the physical plane. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has continued research in intuition, effects of our consciousness and intuition on the physical world, and the role of intuition and consciousness in health and healing.

“Why would anyone want to hear voices or see things that aren’t there in physical reality? I don’t want people to think I’m crazy!” In fact, many people throughout history actively pursued activities to open up their intuitive or spiritual senses by choosing to train in ancient mystery schools, enter monasteries, sit in meditation in ashrams, or make pilgrimages to connect with the energy at natural sacred sites. It is fueled by an inner calling to connect with your True Essence, who you truly are. When you discover that you want to experience a greater depth in life than the apparent external things you see and acquire, you take your first step on the spiritual path.  You embark on a journey of new beginnings, self-realizations and miracles in your life.  All things in your life begin anew. New hope, restored faith and a deep sense of love begin to fill your life through your spiritual studies.  As you discover the power of your heart, love sets the tone of each day. You are now here on Earth with a deeper understanding of your life and a greater sense of your spiritual purpose for being here. You no longer feel alone.  There is a sense of belonging and a kinship with all life.

“Okay… so what if I DO want to develop my intuition and expand my abilities? How do I do that?” In order to access our inner senses, inner wisdom or intuition, it is important to understand that we all have inner senses or intuitive capabilities. However, we may each experience our intuition in different ways. Some will tend to use clairsentience (“clear feeling”) where they will just “know ” the answer or feel it in their “gut” or in their “heart”. Others will use clairvoyance (“clear vision”) where they will receive an intuitive message through a vision, symbol or an image in their mind. And yet others may experience their inner sense as clairaudience (“clear hearing”) where they hear the answer as if by telepathy (this is not an hallucination). With practice a person can easily develop access to all 3 types of inner senses – it is much the same as building up a muscle at the gym. The more you use it, the more powerful and easily it flows.

Going within through one of various forms of meditation, a quiet prayerful state, or sitting quietly in nature, or in the energy of a natural sacred site is the best means to cultivate your inner space to access your inner ‘still small voice’. We also can gain immediate access to our intuition in a busy, wakeful state whenever we are in our heart with great compassion or concern for a friend or a loved one. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to receive intuitive information when you are getting it for someone else?! It is easier to get into our heart or to have compassion for someone else than it is to do so for our selves.

What keeps us from getting into our heart for our self to receive intuitive messages? We are limited in our ability to connect whenever we experience a sense of unworthiness (feeling unloved, guilty, ashamed), abandonment, anger or resentment, heartache, inadequacy or powerlessness, fear of the unknown, stress, or when we lose sight of who we really are. Once we remove these barriers (we give guided meditations as well as rapid tools and techniques to assist in our books Shift: 12 Keys to Shift Your Life and Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation also as Kindle book), it is important to establish new habits of heartfelt connectedness so that you can rapidly tap into the Universal Wisdom that lies within each of us.

Practice is the best means to initially “open your third eye” and stretch your natural intuitive abilities or inner senses. Pick a time that works best for you daily to spend even just 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes to quiet your mind and be aware of the stillness within. Do not concern your self with what you think you ‘ought’ to experience… just let whatever occurs happen. Your most developed type of inner sense will likely be what you notice first. For instance, if you tend to be more clairvoyant, you will likely ‘see’ symbols or colors or other visual images; you might even see whole visual scenes as if you were watching a movie. If you are more clairaudient, you might begin to hear an inner voice stating a phrase, a conversation or discussion, music or sounds of nature. However, if you tend to be more clairsentient, you will likely just ‘sense’ that you are in a certain place or ‘sense’ a certain color rather than seeing it or hearing anything. In my experience teaching meditation courses, the clairsentient people most often report frustration early on in meditative practice because they often feel like they are “doing something wrong” since they do not ‘see’ or hear’ anything. We cannot emphasize enough that there is no wrong way to meditate. Each person has their own unique experience. You can meditate with eyes closed (what I recommend to most beginners), eyes open, sitting still, walking or doing simple repetitive chores.

Acquaint your self with that teacher within you– it knows who you are, where you have been, where you are going, and what your gifts and abilities are. You are brilliant truly- Be still and know that ‘I Am’.

Loads of Light to you all on your inner journey! 🙂

Tracy & Marion

Copyright © Tracy Latz, MD, Marion Ross, PhD & Shift Your Life; 2010 All Rights Reserved

Tracy Latz, M.D. (practicing board-certified Integrative Psychiatrist) & Marion Ross, Ph.D. (Transpersonal Psychologist) are known as “The Shift Doctors” and are metaphysicians, keynote speakers, holistic healers, co-authors of 2 meditation CDs and the books “Shift: 12 Keys to Shift Your Life” & “Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation”; and they can be found at

**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at .


  1. Composing is a talent that you definitely have. All your great work is clearly apparent in how you state yourself through writing. Your amazing talent will always be remembered. Thanks for this post!

  2. The “teacher within” is claircognizance – which you do not name as such, but it’s at least as viable as the others. Simply “knowing” – no voices, visions or even emotions required.

    Of course, many people perceive themselves to have the correct answers; the proof is in the pudding…complicated by the fact that the Truth is different for each of us, and furthermore changes constantly. What’s true for me in this moment may not be true tomorrow, depending on my actions.

    As for psychosis, Joseph Campbell said it best: The psychotic is drowning in the waters in which mystics swim. In my observation, many (if not most) “mentally ill” persons are experiencing a reality somehow unaltered by the veil we’re supposed to operate under. They have one foot here and the other in another plane or past life. Since reality is subjective and constructed by one’s thoughts, their reality is no less real than ours – thus the intractability of many of them in resisting treatment. Frankly, I see their point!

    • Yes, Michael, “knowing” is a form of ‘clairsentience’. Beliefs change moment to moment, but ‘knowings’ are unshakable. 🙂
      ‘Truth’ is different from religion or belief system – hence, the Theosophical approach with the motto: “There is no religion higher than Truth.” ‘Truth’ is truly a ‘knowing’ which can only be experienced in a personal manner. I am often heard telling patients, students and friends: “Don’t believe a word that I or anyone else – your parents, your children, or anyone claiming to be a ‘guru’ or spiritual teacher- has to say unless it resonates with you.” ‘Knowings’ resonate and can not be swayed by other people’s opinions or claims.

      Mystics walk in the world with one foot in the realm beyond the veil and one foot here in the ‘maya’ of ‘reality’. They are capable and able to do this quite well with ability to turn it on and off at will. Individuals who are psychotic, on the other hand, have ripped beyond the veil in a way that is overwhelming to them and they are out of control of when they exist in the alternate realm or are affected by it. People who are psychotic have not prepared for what is beyond the veil; they tend to be frightened and confused and not in any state of inner peace. (That is why Joseph Campbell states that psychotics are “drowning” while the mystic is “swimming”.) The mystic, however, is prepared and not confused or frightened but remains in a state of inner peace while walking in both realms.

  3. Hi Tracey & Marion,
    It’s nice to meet you and discover your site.

    There’s a fine line between being psychotic and being psychic. The difference is found in knowing how to control the flow of psychic information. A psychic who claims to hear voices and see things all the time has not mastered this important step in their growth.

    Having and using our psychic abilities is no different than going to work and using your talents at the office. There’s a time for “work” and a time to balance life with other pursuits. Learning to ‘shut off’ is extremely important to a developing psychic and to maintain our mental health.

  4. Shamans in many ways are also ‘swimming’ in both worlds. They are usually very aware of altered senses of reality and how to operate in more than just the physical reality.

    Indian shamans believe in the upper, middle and lower worlds. Souls can lose ‘pieces’ of themselves in any of these worlds, and thus get ‘sick’. A shaman goes on a journey to retrieve the lost piece of soul and reintegrate it.

    There are many alternative health modalities that the modern medical system rejects because they do not fit into the ‘model’ that works for them, as far as high profits and a complete monopoly.

    Hopefully, this will change over time. They risk having the whole system break down and collapse otherwise. Already, tens of millions are left out of the system, because they do not ‘fit’, because of lack of money.

    There is a way to include everyone, have all needs met and provide compassionate caring health coverage for all…

  5. Excellent article, and most excellent discussions! Michael indeed put a smile on my face – I agree wholeheartedly.

    The litmus test for me in seeing a person as psychic, or psychotic (or somewhere in that vast chasm in between), is whether the person can care for themselves. They may speak great and profound truths, but if they can’t provide, or have no desire to practice basic health and nourishment activities, they tend to fall into the psychotic column.

    The basic need for survival kicks in when we go too far off course. If that automatic response set doesn’t kick in, it doesn’t negate the persons psychic ability. But it sure raises the flag for identification of someone that is psychotic.

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