A qualitative study of intuitive processes as constructed by psychics, mediums, and therapists, with possible application to family therapy

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Eleanor Macklin


Low-nurturant, Intuition, Knowledge, Psychic ability

Subject Categories



This study explores the nature of intuitive processes as constructed by a selected group of 20 psychics, mediums, and therapists and the possible application of these processes to family therapy. The data were collected via (a) a comprehensive review of the literature on levels of consciousness, intuition, and psychic ability and on the use of these phenomena in family therapy; (b) participant observation in personal readings done by the psychics and mediums; (c) observations of the psychics, mediums, and intuitive therapists while they worked with other clients; (d) participation in classes, workshops, and seminars conducted by the psychics, mediums, and intuitive therapists; and (e) in-depth interviews with these persons, who have established reputations as psychics, mediums, and intuitive therapists.

Through the use of the constant comparative method, the data were analyzed in order to determine (a) what the participants claimed to do, (b) the methods they used, (c) how they developed the abilities they claimed to have, and (d) how their abilities and methods might be applied to the practice of family therapy.

The majority of these participants grew up in low-nurturant homes where they learned to rely on their own internal resources for support. The development of their intuitive abilities appears to have resulted from growing trust in their own inner ways of knowing and from developing processes to access these ways. Through methods used to still the intellect and to tune into their own unconscious and that of others, they claim to be capable of connecting with a universal source of all knowledge and energy.

The participants believe that psychic ability is grounded in intuition and everyone has intuitive faculties. Therefore, everyone has the capacity to develop psychic ability. They believe that most people do not develop this ability because it has not been respected in Western culture. They are in accord that therapists who access and utilize intuitive and psychic ability in their therapy practices are more effective change agents and healers than those who do not. A family therapy model which incorporates intuitive processes and some of the methods used by these participants is presented.


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