There are two types of psionic powers most commonly portrayed on TV and in movies.

There’s the unwitting psychic who became sensitive from a brush with death, or the unwilling character who only helps out on the down low. But what are psionic powers like in real life?

Consider the characters from Stephen King’s The Dead Zone or Dr. Charlie Harris in Saving Hope. Casting actors and writing parts in these limited tropes is a disservice to the complexity of those who have a unique connection with the universe.

Psionic powers are the only defining feature

Real people, especially those open to supernatural experiences, are much more complex than a character in a show. We are all shaped by many factors like our experiences, our families of origin, our abilities, and more.

While it’s possible that a person’s psionic powers can be shaped by a traumatic event like a brush with death, it’s just as likely that it was a latent natural ability nurtured by a family member who supported their conclusions rather than discounting them.

Characters are almost always mediums

More often than not, on-screen psychics are portrayed as having second sight or as mediums. That is, they’re people who can predict the future or pierce the veil between the living and the dead. High-profile actors have played stereotypical roles in shows like Medium, Ghost Whisperer, or the blockbuster movie Sixth Sense.

Psionic powers are always about life and death

In real life, it’s quite common to experience unexplained psychic phenomena. Perhaps you know a twin who experienced pain when their sibling was in an accident or a mom who somehow knows that her child is in danger.

I had a close friend whose older child predicted that her mom was having twins before the doctor discovered the pregnancy.

Psionic powers aren’t always perceived as supernatural

Many times, people with psychic sensitivity don’t realize that their “gut feelings” are actually latent psychic abilities because those close to them don’t trust unquantifiable facts. In real life, many people who are sensitive never have the chance to develop their skills or don’t realize that they fall outside the norm.

Think about something that comes easily to you and consider how many others have that same ability.

Open the door to the possibility

Being open to your differences can isolate you and make it hard to establish genuine connections with others. Not everyone can manage the challenge of a journey of self-discovery, in themselves or others.

Brace yourself for upheaval and skepticism from others, and honor your feelings instead of allowing others to push you off track. You’ll need to accept that it’s possible you’re wrong and navigate a rough road while trusting the universe to set out a path you can handle.

Psychic sensitivities may be specific to a single sense

Psionic powers are more complex and varied than the roles they’re assigned in the media. When you seek input or advice from a spiritual person, it is helpful to understand that spiritual gifts vary wildly.

Some telepaths primarily sense transmitted thoughts from a twin, sibling, or child while others have extrasensory abilities that focus on time or place. Other sensitive people excel at temporarily disconnecting their astral body from the physical during meditation, which is known as out-of-body sensation or astral projection.

Those gifted at reading auras can perceive energy fields surrounding people, places, and things. This type of extrasensory perception is also categorized as clairvoyance in cases where people just know something but can’t explain how. A subset of sensitive people have second sight or an ability to see future and past events.

Remote sensing and psychometry describe those who can glean information about an object or person via visions or touch. Similarly, remote viewing is what people call those who can sense a distant target with extrasensory perception.

Empaths and healers can often sense energy fields and may be able to manipulate physical or non-physical energy enough to affect healing with their minds.


Although psionic powers are often portrayed in media as a stereotypical set of abilities, people are much more complex than characters shown on the screen.

Once you accept that deeper connections exist, you’ll be more sensitive to those around you and recognize their sensitivities. Expand your consciousness and you will be more sensitive to the growth of your latent abilities.

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