As an intuitive counselor and clinical psychologist myself, I was overjoyed that the mainstream media has finally turned its attention to the “paranormal” side of life. In Nightline’s Beyond Belief: Revealing Intuitive Ability or Causing More Harm Than Good? hosted by Cynthia McFadden, people like best-selling author James Van Praagh were put to the test, while correspondent David Wright turned from a skeptic into a believer after meeting two gifted moms. Though the show covered many areas—from the street psychic (which I do not believe in either, truthfully) and a psychic school in Berkley, to two moms (which I most identify with), one of whom, Alison Dubois, the television show “Medium” was inspired by—as a whole, may have served only to project further society’s notion of psychics as frauds.
Despite Beyond Belief’s extraordinary potential to broaden the perception of a large audience on delicate subjects, it failed miserably at explaining the truth of the intuitive mind. Beginning with doubting correspondents such as Josh Elliot and Juju Chang, the only one who appeared to be open to believing in the possibility of our mind’s ability to access information beyond the five senses was David Wright—largely because of his experiences with best-selling authors and mediums Rebecca Rosen and Alison Dubois.
Though the show may have had the best of intentions, I feel it made a mockery out of what I, and others like me, do by sensationalizing it. One segment with notorious debunker and mentalist Banachek turned into a full-on game show with a prize of a million dollars going to the best psychic. Firstly, the word psychic itself is cringe-worthy because of the stereotypes attached to the term. Secondly, real intuitives do not need to use props like tarot cards or palm-reading techniques to tap into another person’s field of energy. Media interpretations like Beyond Belief are, if anything, a blockage to elevating our awareness on this subject.
For me, Rebecca Rosen truly made the program. She knew that the correspondent's mother would give him a rainbow, and when the two walked outside, multicolored rays reaffirmed that the message was received correctly by Rebecca. She helped to turn the episode around and by being one of the only factors, which proved the true ability of the mind. I perhaps relate to her the most. I too am a mother. I have four children. I was born in Romania and had a near death experience that awoke my senses and gave me certain abilities to “see.” My children grew up with me telling people things that would happen before they did, and at times it seemed as if my children would also grow up with the same strong intuitive ability that I had, which for whatever reason grew with me as I grew older.
Over the years, I’ve not only foretold other people’s futures, but made countless world predictions which came true and are verifiable on tape such as a recent appearance on WNBC Weekend Today in New York when on air, live, I shockingly told the weekend host, Pat Battle that her mother had just passed, and it had happened three days before and she hadn’t even told anyone yet. She was visibly reduced to tears. I felt terrible about breaking the news on live television, but was also happy to show that these were not “guesses that could be Googled,” as one of the correspondents said during his interview with James Van Praagh on Beyond Belief. In my field, it isn’t always easy to give information and sometimes the client does not want to hear it, but it only takes turning one skeptic into a believer. That starts the chain of wonderment that continues to grow, and in my hope start to open the world up to knowing and seeing that being connected to the universe can help you achieve all you wish for in your life.
As The Berkeley School said, and doctors on the show, it is also my firm belief that we all possess a sense of intuition, and that most of us would deem it the hazy and distant voice from within. I also believe—and know from my own experience—that our intuition must not be cast aside as unreliable. It must be considered the “gut instinct” that will always lead you to the right direction. Some call it Faith, some call it Divine Spirit, I call it what it is, scientifically from my research as Science of the Mind. And we, if left unattended and not well-developed, we are more likely to dismiss its potential and power. As with anything else in life, intuition becomes clearer and more accessible through practice and open-mindedness. Channeling and using our intuition, and our trust of what we see like James Van Praagh, or John Edward or Rebecca Rosen, equals using a larger capacity of our minds and bridging the left and right sides of the brain. From my clinical research into the mind, I’ve found that intuition has a lot to do with going beyond the cognitive, conscious mind and entering the subconscious mind where all of our problems exist submerged. It has been my personal experience working with clients, well beyond the psychological perspective and into my intuitive gifts, that if well-utilized, our intuition can become a constructive way to resolve issues in everyday life.
With Beyond Belief, the viewers were not able to see that scientific side about the brain, how it works, or does not work if not exercised, like one of the experts on the show said. There is definitely a difference from being a piano player and a world renowned concert pianist. As a result, some of these self-proclaimed psychics featured on Beyond Belief had no knowledge on the subject and therefore could not stand up to the harsh criticism of the interviewers (with the exception of James Van Praagh, whom they discredited entirely too quickly). Surely, there exist both intuitives with real talent, and also those who are scams, as in any other profession, but it seemed all too clear that this show purposely targeted the scam-psychics as guests.
However, as Cynthia said, there is a true fascination with this content and I am thrilled that as long as there are people willing to open their mind, there is hope for all of us. Watching a growth in the number of shows with a paranormal focus demonstrates that, skeptic or not, our curiosity of the higher dimension is increasing. Is this to say that the factual existence of the paranormal is becoming harder and harder to ignore?
As a Ph.D. and intuitive counselor, I've witnessed my fair share of paranormal experiences. In my practice, I don’t rely on just my intuitive powers to help me guide my clients towards fulfillment, inner peace, and success; I combine my knowledge of cognitive therapy with my keen abilities and sprinkle in a dash of ancient wisdom to reach the root of my clients’ problems. I have helped save marriages, predicted world events and the potential crash of the world financial system, and political outcomes. It has always been my quest to combine the real with the seemingly unreal, the tangible with the intangible, and to show the undeniable connection between the two realms, which dominate our lives. And I continually strive to show others that we were not meant to operate on only that which is certifiable through the scientific method; the paranormal transcends into our normal world every day. It hints at its own existence in our daily lives through dreams, inexplicable experiences, or that feeling of knowing. The two realms merge and are inseparable, yet we only allow ourselves to live on one dimension. As James Van Praagh said in Beyond Belief: this is much easier to do than to open our minds to the possibility of something more.
It is exactly that mindset of cynicism and narrow-mindedness, which keeps us from finding resolutions to our problems during this crucial time of transformation. If we were to base the ordinary person’s understanding of the “psychic phenomenon” on a show like Beyond Belief, then it would be safe to assume that we still haven’t come to comprehend the true meaning of intuition and the expansion of the mind. It is my sincere hope that we can collectively acknowledge the realm, which transcends our own, and embrace it as the ever-powerful force it is. If we don’t get this together by 2012, we are in for a huge awakening.
Carmen Harra, Ph.D. is a best-selling author and intuitive, who has served as an advisor for the likes of Hillary Clinton, Barbara Walters, Jennifer Lopez and Courtney Cox. Her latest book Wholieness is on sale now. For more on her, visit www.carmenharra.com