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Dr. Judith Orloff’s Intuitive Journey
By Judith Orloff, M.D.


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 intuition, a potent inner wisdom that goes beyond the literal. I experience 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 participants 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 physicians 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 friends. 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 intuitions off as a coincidence. Finally, 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 mention 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 something wrong with me. Luckily, I have had many angels 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 intuitions out — that is not something I am recommending to you! Following a nearly-fatal car accident at age sixteen when I tumbled over a treacherous 1,500 foot cliff in Malibu Canyon, my parents forced me to see a psychiatrist. This man was the first person who ever “saw” me — not who he wanted me to be, but who I was. He taught me to begin to value the gift of intuition, and referred me to Dr. Thelma Moss, a intuition researcher at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was to become my mentor and a guide to developing 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 doctor-friends. I was a hippie living in an old converted brick Laundromat with my artist-boyfriend in Venice 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 because 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 medical school and a UCLA psychiatric 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, accompanied by cops with billy clubs. These patients professed to hear God and to be able to predict things. They also felt their food was poisoned, and that the FBI was on their tail. No one tried to sort through this mishmash of claims. Typically, patients would be shot up with with Thorazine, hospitalized on lock-down in-patient units until their “symptoms” subsided. Seeing this so many times I doubted whether it was safe or appropriate to integrate my intuitions in medicine. When I opened my Los Angeles psychiatric practice in 1983, I had every intention of it being traditional; I’d use medications, psychotherapy, but I didn’t intend for intuition to play a role. My practice 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-wrenching wake-up call that changed everything. It was an intuition that my patient, on antidepressants, was going to make a suicide attempt. Because she was doing so well — nothing supported my hunch — I dismissed it. Within a week she had overdosed on antidepressants I prescribed and ended up in a coma for nearly a month. (If she had not survived, I would have been devastated.) The hardest part was I thought that I had harmed her by not utilizing 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 medical 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 meeting 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 because I had so much fear about coming out of the closet as an intuitive. 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 jeopardize 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 freedom. Sure, there’s a risk when you stretch yourself, but the rewards are enormous. Now, I’m blessed to travel around the country giving workshops on intuition to auditoriums full of extraordinary people — healthcare professionals and general audiences — 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 Psychiatric 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 deathbed, she decided to tell me our “family secrets.” She told me, “I want to pass the power onto you.” I was astounded to learn I came from a lineage of intuitive healers on her side of the family — my Jewish grandmother who did laying on of hands in a shed behind the pharmacy she and Grandpop ran in Philadelphia, and east coast aunts and cousins I had never met since I grew up in California. Also, my mother had a strong inner voice which told her how to treat patients for over forty years. She had listened to this voice and secretly used her innate healing powers to keep her lymphoma in remission for many years. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked her. She said simply, “I wanted you to lead a normal, happy life, not to be thought of as weird like your grandmother was.” Oh Mother... I will always be grateful for what she shared, but, still... she had waited so long. Even so, I believe in the wisdom of the paths we have been given. Mine has been to fight for what I believed in despite what my parents or anyone said. An invaluable but rugged lesson in empowerment. These days, no matter what I’m going through, especially when my heart is torn in a million pieces, my intuition has sustained me. I hope that my journey in my book “Second Sight” can help you. One thing I’m certain of: if you follow your intuitive voice, you can’t go wrong. Stay true to it. Intuition is about empowerment, not having to conform to someone else’s notion of who you should be. It’s about being true to yourself, and the goodness that comes from that.

Judith Orloff, M.D., is author of the best-seller “Second Sight,” an inspiring and controversial memoir about coming to terms with her intuitive gifts, upon which this article is based. Her other books are “Emotional Freedom, Guide to Intuitive Healing,” and “Positive Energy.” She is assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and an international workshop leader. For more information about the new updated edition of “Second Sight” and Dr. Orloff’s books and workshops, please visit www.drjudithorloff.com

Article is adapted from “Second Sight” (Three Rivers Press, 2010)

Dr. Orloff will be speaking at the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles February 12-15. Visit Judith at www.drjudithorloff.com

March 10, pm - Talk and Book signing, Borders Books, 1360 Westwood Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA (310) 474-3444.
March 12, 7-9pm - Talk and Book Signing, Awakening Second Sight, Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitis, CA, www.seasidecenter.com
March 25, 7pm - Talk and Book Signing, Mystic Journey Bookstore, 1319 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, CA www.mysticjourneybookstore.com (310) 399-7070.