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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 0
24 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 0
I'm a psychiatrist and intuitive
in Los Angeles. What I do isn't
my job. It's my life's passion.
With patients and in workshops, I
listen with my intellect and intu-
ition, a potent inner wisdom that
goes beyond the literal. I experi-
ence it as a flash of insight, a
gut feeling, a hunch, a dream. By
blending intuition with orthodox
medical knowledge, I can offer
my patients and workshop partic-
ipants the best of both worlds.
Now, listening to intuition is
sacred to me, but learning to trust
it has taken years. I've described
the details in my memoir Second
Sight which is meant to assure
anyone whoever thought they
were weird or crazy for having
intuitive experiences, that they
are not! This brief synopsis gives
you a good sense of the book.
I grew up in Beverly Hills the
only daughter of two-physician
parents and with twenty-five phy-
sicians in my family. From age
nine, I had dreams and intuitions
that would come true. I could
predict illness, earthquakes, even
the suicide of one of my parent's
This confused and alarmed
me, as it did my parents who
were entrenched in the hard-
core rational world of science.
At first, they tried to write my in-
tuitions off as a coincidence. Fi-
nally, though, after I dreamed my
mother's mentor would loose a
political election -- which to my
horror, came true -- she took me
aside and told me, "Never men-
tion another dream or intuition
in our house again!"
I will never forget the look in
my dear mother's exasperated,
frightened eyes, nothing I ever
wanted to see again. So from that
day on, I kept my intuitions to
myself. I grew up ashamed of my
abilities, sure there was some-
thing wrong with me.
Luckily, I have had many an-
gels in human form who have
pointed me to my true calling
as physician. In the sixties I got
heavily involved with drugs in
an attempt to block my intui-
tions out -- that is not some-
thing I am recommending to
Following a nearly-fatal car
accident at age sixteen when
I tumbled over a treacherous
1,500 foot cliff in Malibu Can-
yon, my parents forced me to
see a psychiatrist.
This man was the first per-
son who ever "saw" me -- not
who he wanted me to be, but
who I was. He taught me to be-
gin to value the gift of intuition,
and referred me to Dr. Thelma
Moss, a intuition researcher at
the UCLA Neuropsychiatric In-
stitute. She was to become my
mentor and a guide to develop-
ing my intuitive side.
While working in Thelma's
lab I had an amazingly specific
dream which announced, "You
are going to become an MD, a
psychiatrist, to help legitimize
intuition in medicine." When I
awoke, I felt like someone was
playing a practical joke on me.
I'd never liked science, and was
bored around all of my parent's
I was a hippie living in an
old converted brick Laundromat
with my artist-boyfriend in Ven-
ice Beach, working in the May
Company's towel department.
(I've had a great love of towels
and sheets since!)
The last thing I envisioned
doing was medicine. But be-
cause I was beginning to trust my
intuition, I enrolled in a junior
college just to see how it would
go. So one course became two,
and that became fourteen years
of medical training -- USC med-
ical school and a UCLA psychi-
atric internship and residency.
The irony was, that during
my medical training I strayed far
from the intuitive world again.
Traditional psychiatry equates
visions with psychosis. Working
in the UCLA emergency room,
I'd keep seeing psychotics who
were wheeled in screaming,
strapped to gurneys, accompa-
nied by cops with billy clubs.
These patients professed to
hear God and to be able to pre-
dict things. They also felt their
food was poisoned, and that the
FBI was on their tail. No one
tried to sort through this mish-
mash of claims.
Typically, patients would be
shot up with with Thorazine,
hospitalized on lock-down in-
patient units until their "symp-
toms" subsided. Seeing this so
many times I doubted whether
it was safe or appropriate to
integrate my intuitions in medi-
When I opened my Los An-
geles psychiatric practice in
1983, I had every intention of
it being traditional; I'd use
medications, psychotherapy,
but I didn't intend for intu-
ition to play a role. My prac-
tice was extremely successful.
Since I was a workaholic and
also loved helping people, I
had twelve-hour days, though
very little personal life.
Then I had a heart-wrench-
ing wake-up call that changed
everything. It was an intuition
that my patient, on antidepres-
sants, was going to make a sui-
cide attempt. Because she was
doing so well -- nothing sup-
ported my hunch -- I dismissed
Within a week she had over-
dosed on antidepressants I pre-
scribed and ended up in a coma
for nearly a month. (If she had
not survived, I would have been
The hardest part was I thought
that I had harmed her by not uti-
lizing a vital piece of intuitive
information. This was intolerable
for me. From then on, I knew, as
a responsible physician, I had
to integrate my intuitions into
my work.
After this episode, my journey
to bring intuition into my medi-
cal practice began. I didn't know
how I would do it, but I put out
a silent prayer to the universe to
help me. Soon, I began meet-
ing people, more angels, who
showed me the way.
Gradually I grew comfortable
with my intuition and set out to
write "Second Sight." This took
me seven years to complete be-
cause I had so much
fear about coming out
of the closet as an in-
tuitive. I was afraid what my
physician-peers would think,
that they'd mock me or black-
ball me from the profession.
My mother warned, "They'll
think you're weird. It'll jeopar-
dize your medical career." Ah
Mother: I loved her, but thank
God I didn't listen. Finding my
voice as a psychiatrist and an
intuitive has been my path to
Sure, there's a risk when you
stretch yourself, but the rewards
are enormous. Now, I'm blessed
to travel around the country giv-
ing workshops on intuition to
auditoriums full of extraordin-
ary people -- healthcare pro-
fessionals and general audien-
ces -- who long to embrace their
inner voice. I am heartened to
see that many physicians are
eager to deal with patients in the
new way I offer.
I gave an intuitive healing
workshop at the American Psy-
chiatric Association convention,
an annual gathering of the most
conservative psychiatrists in the
world. I am pleased to report the
response was wonderful.
I am sad to report that my
mother didn't live long enough
to see this. In 1993 she died of
a lymphoma. But, on her death-
bed, she decided to tell me our
Dr. Judith Orloff's Intuitive Journey
By Judith Orloff, M.D.