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. But then I had a heart-wrenching wake-up call that changed everything. It was an intuition that a patient, on antidepressants, was going to make a suicide attempt. Because she was doing so well--nothing in her life supported my hunch--I dismissed it. Within a week she overdosed on the antidepressants I’d prescribed and ended up in a coma for nearly a month. (Had she not survived I would’ve been devastated.) The hardest part, though, was that I thought I’d 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 and spirituality into my medical practice began. I didn’t know how I’d 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, set out to write my first book Second Sight about my struggles to claim my inner voice. 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 of what my physician-peers would think, that they’d mock me or blackball 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 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--health care professionals and general audiences alike--who long to embrace their inner voice in all decisions, health and otherwise. I’m heartened to see that an increasing number of physicians are eager to deal with patients in the new way I offer. Recently I gave an intuitive healing workshop at the American Psychiatric Association convention, a annual gathering of the most conservative psychiatrists in the world. I’m pleased to report the response was wonderful.
To my great sadness, though, my mother didn’t live long enough to see this. In 1993 she died of a lymphoma. However, right before her passing, she decided to tell me our “family secrets.” At her deathbed, she said, “I want to pass the power onto you.” I was astounded to learn that 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. East coast aunts and cousins I’d never met since I grew up in California. Also, my mother, herself, had a strong inner voice which told her how to treat patients for over forty years. She’d 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’ll always be grateful beyond words for what she shared, but, still... she’d waited so long. Even so, I believe in the wisdom of the paths we’ve 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.