Awareness: Attunement, Access, and Affirmation

Awareness: Attunement, Access, and Affirmation

by Bette Freedson
Explore how to tune into and access the flow of information that comprises your psychic mind by developing your Intuitive attunement and receptive access. 
Filed Under: Body-Oriented, Anxiety


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The key is to focus in on the intuition you do have, to pay attention to ways that you may be using it in your life, in your profession, in your interests, and in your dreams….
---Mona Lisa Schulz

Flowing into the Psychic Mind

as Dr. Milton Erickson taught, we all have the ability to access and utilize the resources of the unconscious mind
Awareness of the diamonds contained in the psychic mind allows you to affirm its vital resources and attune to its ongoing flow of information. As Dr. Milton Erickson taught, we all have the ability to access and utilize the resources of the unconscious mind. The first step is to understand how to tune in and recognize the precious gems of intuitive wisdom. In understanding the use of the ACE schema, it’s important to remember that each step contains dynamic concepts made up of ideas and processes, characteristic phenomena that you can come to understand and learn to develop. Let’s start with the phenomenology of the first concepts of the schema:

A: Access, Attune to, and Affirm your natural psychic gifts.

I have identified six key phenomena of the first “step” of the ACE schema: accepting, absorbing, dissociating, listening/sensing, receiving, and interpreting, aka “reading.” As you study and use ACE, you may identify even more phenomena. I suggest that these features, although presented as linear, will overlap as you develop your intuitive skills. Let’s start with awareness and acceptance that psychic ability is part of our human makeup — that it is a valid way of receiving knowledge, and that it can make you a better clinician.  

becoming absorbed into the inner mind is something we all do on a regular basis
Becoming absorbed into the inner mind is something we all do on a regular basis. Absorption is as natural as spacing out in front of the TV, intently focused on playing a game on your computer, or relaxing in a hot tub. Meditation, progressive relaxation techniques, prayer, and hypnosis all involve the quieting of the mind, a kind of “zoning out” that creates entry to a state of inner awareness. When thus absorbed in a state of mindfulness, one is somewhat dissociated, less consciously aware of what is going on in the outer environment, more deeply and narrowly focused on one’s chosen object, and more deeply attuned inside.

Although this type of deeper attunement often happens spontaneously, you can actually learn how to become more consciously tuned to your inner world by practicing the felt experience of being in a receptive state. Your preferred method of stilling your mind can be a practical and useful way to enter a state of receptivity; however, a relaxed state is not mandatory for accessing intuitive knowing. Intuition can also be available when you are in a state of sympathetic arousal due to some exciting situation, positive or otherwise, including the variables of a therapy session when intuition may be extremely helpful. As will be demonstrated shortly in the case of Tom, access to intuitive knowing can be a go-to consultant when you are immersed in the variations and variables of a clinical experience. 

Listening, Sensing, Receiving, and Interpreting

Take a moment to think about a time when you “just knew” the right thing to say or do in a session. Was it a fleeting thought of intuitive wisdom that helped you formulate an effective intervention, or a hunch about a correct diagnosis? Can you recall times when after following a gut feeling, you congratulated yourself on the way your clinical acumen could just “sense” what was needed?

as a therapist you probably already have a pretty good sense of how to “read” people, how to interpret and be guided by minimal cues
As a therapist you probably already have a pretty good sense of how to “read” people, how to interpret and be guided by minimal cues. You may be adept at imagining contextual aspects of others’ lives by noticing small details of word choices, postures, and expressions. Observations such as these and similar experiences of knowing are examples of sensing, listening, receiving, and interpreting, some of the phenomena of attunement and access that are pivotal to the magick of clinical creativity.

Consciously putting yourself into a receptive state for intuitive knowing can make clinical insights, ideas, and interventions more available, and make you more creative. As you become familiar with the way your mind receives information and what related sensations occur in your body, you can memorize and anchor the felt experience of cognitive, emotional, and sensate phenomena of your receptive state. Practicing in this way will help you develop psychic “muscles” that you can flex with fluidity and authority. You will become better equipped to help clients access their own unconscious resources with greater trust and comfort, and less guilt and shame.

Welcoming Wisdom with Easy Attunement

if you choose to use your psychic wisdom to improve your clinical work, you may or may not hang out a flashing neon hand at an amusement park
If you choose to use your psychic wisdom to improve your clinical work, you may or may not hang out a flashing neon hand at an amusement park. However, after reading this book, you might decide to try your hand (or your mind) at an intuitive consultation, also known as, a psychic reading. In fact, doing intuitive readings can be fun and, as I have found, can also be very useful for certain clients and certain situations.

In whatever way you choose to utilize your intuitive ability, the following short script can be used to practice attunement and access. This can be done anywhere, and with practice you will become adept at recognizing and welcoming the way psychic knowing emerges into the wisdom of your conscious mind.

Choose a comfortable spot. Close your eyes if you wish or gently let them go out of focus or be blurry.

Gently breathe and when your mind is quiet in the right way for you, take a little deeper breath and count down slowly from 10 to 1. By inhaling gently and exhaling smoothly, you can realize how easily your body can settle and your mind can be free to roam into the unconscious mind and receive guidance.

Pay gentle attention to your breathing, feeling tension leaving your body, and in whatever way feels right to you, notice the way your mind is becoming receptive to images, ideas, and sensations. Good.

If unwelcome thoughts come in, return attention to your breathing or counting, continuing to pay attention to what comes in and give yourself permission to let go of what is not welcome. Very good.

As you continue to breathe normally and rhythmically, you can trust that you are entering a receptive state that is just right for you.

Now, without struggling or attempting to reach a conclusion, you can imagine allowing your senses to receive information as thoughts, feelings, impressions, somatic sensations and intuitive hunches enter your mind. Affirm that you will realize which ideas will be most useful. All you need to do is to notice. Good.  

If there is a specific issue you wish to resolve, you can project your problem onto your mental screen. Visualize possible courses of action and potential outcomes. Allow your mind and body to imagine scenarios and metaphors that later you can consider for possible solutions. Excellent.

When you are ready, reorient your senses to your current circumstances. Affirm that your psychic mind has intelligence you need for all situations. You can remember whatever needs to be remembered or forget what needs to be forgotten.

When you’re ready, take a gentle breath and come back feeling refreshed all over. As you go forward, your psychic mind can offer continuing intelligence that may come as a subsequent hunch, a feeling, a metaphor or in some other form that you will realize. Affirm that this is so. Good job.

When we include guidance from our intuition during a therapy session, we are better able to help the patient attune to the unique resources of their own psychic mind. The case of Tom offers an example of the way in which insight from the psychic dimension gave me access to an idea for utilizing Tom’s intuitive potentials for neurobiological and physiological shifts, and actual somatic and emotional improvement.

The Doctor Makes a House Call: The Case of Tom

a grandfather and a retired businessperson living with HIV, Tom is down-to-earth and practical
A grandfather and a retired businessperson living with HIV, Tom is down-to-earth and practical. While he might not appear on the surface to be a candidate for a psychic healing session, Tom’s health issues, his familiarity with my integrative, intuitive work, and our solid therapeutic alliance opened an opportunity to help Tom with his anxiety.   

Having seen Tom through HIV diagnosis, stabilization on medical protocols, and successful recovery from several other serious health issues, I was only mildly surprised when he announced: “My doctor found bleeding during the sigmoid exam. I’m doing my best to manage the anxiety, but I’m scared, and there are a few weeks before the definitive procedure. I’m keeping busy, taking care of the grandkids, and going to the gym, but I can’t shake the feeling that this might be it.”

Given Tom’s ongoing health issues, I realized that his “This might be it” was very frightening. It was not my job to provide concrete answers or reassurance, so where would I go with “It?” At moments when there are complex intricacies, such as in Tom’s situation, I think of Dr. Erickson’s permission to utilize everything. Or as Jeff Zeig says to be in a “state of readiness” to use whatever the client brings as well as what comes into the therapist’s mind.

in what seemed like only seconds, my mind was filled with ideas
In what seemed like only seconds, my mind was filled with ideas. I could not give concrete information, but could I offer Tom something to relieve his anxiety, to tamp down his sympathetic nervous system? It occurred to me to venture outside the traditional box. If not specifically curative, the approach might be soothing for Tom. In the intuitive flow, memories of my great uncle came to mind.  

Handsome and over six feet tall, with a strong jaw and a steady, reassuring stride, Uncle Abe had been a doctor in the city where I grew up. When I was a little girl, Uncle Abe made house calls, arriving confident and authoritative with his stethoscope and his otoscope (and a cache of lollipops tucked into his black bag). When deep in diagnostic considerations, Abe’s cheek muscles gave a teeny twitch. Uncle Abe’s presence, his gentle, caring reassurance, and our knowing we would get to pick a lollipop left my sister Gini and me feeling better and trusting we would get better.

Over the many years since Uncle Abe had been gone, I had often channeled him as a healing spirit guide. Now, perhaps a psychic visit from Abe could help Tom. Because Tom was aware of my psychic work, I felt fairly sure he would be open to having my uncle make a channeled house call. I hoped that an uplifting experiential moment might provide an alternative mental and emotional focus that could comfort Tom and replace any obsessive thinking about this latest health issue.

I asked Tom if he would be open to a visit and a healing from Uncle Abe. Intrigued, he agreed and settled into the couch as I induced a gentle hypnotic trance. Seeing Tom responsively absorbed, I said:

“I am inviting my spirit guide Uncle Abe to join us now.

“I welcome you to picture him in your own way, and when ready, imagine Uncle Abe gently placing his hands on your shoulders. As you feel his touch in your way, you may notice a shift in your breathing and a deepening awareness of sensations in your body.”

“I feel warm all over,” Tom responded. “I feel something like a gentle pressure around my pelvic area. It’s comfortable, healing, and warm. It’s okay.”

“Good,” I affirmed. “Now you can continue to breathe normally, just noticing this warm, healing sense of Uncle Abe’s presence and his placing his hands on you. Spend a few moments imagining and sensing in your body the way Uncle Abe’s hands can elicit feelings of comfort that can spread into any part of your body. In a few moments I will welcome you to return gently from trance, coming back refreshed and able to remember these feelings. You can memorize the way it feels to have healing hands laid upon you, and you can bring back these impressions any time later, as you desire.”  

coming back, Tom reported his anxiety to be relieved and his sense of hope improved
Coming back, Tom reported his anxiety to be relieved and his sense of hope improved. I asked him to call me after his procedure.

When the call came, Tom’s bright “Hello” said it all.

The doctor, actually somewhat surprised, had found no evidence of bleeding or pathology. He had pronounced that Tom was fine.

“I think it was that session we had with your uncle!” Tom asserted.

And I’m not sure I would disagree. Who knows really? Was Uncle Abe really there or was it the psychic wisdom in Tom’s own mind that could feel the healing power of imaginary hands the way you can taste an imaginary lemon?

I explained it this way to Tom: “Uncle Abe served as a channel for the psychic, somatic intelligence inside of you. Your body and your mind were the real medicine men. With your psychic mind allowing the felt sense of Uncle Abe’s touch, your body experienced whatever healing was in the imaginary hands, drawing on your body’s innate capacity and intelligence for improvement. Now as you absorb the memory of this experience into your mind/body, you can call upon Uncle Abe’s psychic medicine as many times as you wish.”  

Dynamic Magick: Putting Ideas Together

Whether the vast resources of the inner mind are called the unconscious mind, the wise mind, the intuitive mind, or the psychic mind, the mind-that-knows is a font of wisdom and a vital feature of your enterprise as a clinician.

By listening, sensing, receiving, and reading you will have greater insight about what is going on with the client, what is happening within yourself, and how to best intervene in a given session. You will become more effective at helping clients choose more effective coping options, increase stress management capacity, experience problem-solving epiphanies, find relief from self-defeating patterns of thinking and behaving, and increase creativity. 

Herb Dewey taught me to use psychic ability as part of counseling skill
Herb Dewey taught me to use psychic ability as part of counseling skill. Herb loved the drama of the magick, which he called the shmaltz or the pizzazz. And he was serious about the counseling, about helping others in an accepting, non-threatening, and non-shaming way. Similarly, Milton Erickson put great value on respecting all messages from the client and never taking away choice.

My intention is to utilize everything I have as a therapist, including aspects of psychic arts along with clinical skills in every session, based always on the needs, beliefs, and personal maps that a client brings in. Whatever your objectives may be, utilizing your intuitive abilities can empower the therapeutic magick that will motivate your clients to heal from inside out.

If it is your goal to help clients use their own inner resources for mental, emotional, or behavioral healing, why would you not want to attune to and access the healing wisdom available from your own intuitive mind? And why would you not want to use everything you have available to help yourself be more therapeutically effective and help your clients feel better?

As you affirm and access the breadth and depth of your psychic knowing, you will become more attuned to the unique personalities, personal world views, and therapeutic needs of your patients as they absorb and integrate the wisdom you offer. The following short excerpt from the case of Emily presents another example of utilization of the psychic mind.

Emily Tunes In

Trying to manage a large men’s store while dealing with a variety of personal health and family issues, Emily had been in a chronic state of high velocity distress. However, on this particular day she surprised me, coming into the office with light and lively steps. And she was laughing.   

“I was at my wit’s end last week at the store,” Emily reported. Remember how we channeled my mother when my husband was sick? Well, I decided to channel you! I imagined sitting with you here in the office, but I switched it. I made me you and you me. Then I put you into that place in the inner mind where you, or I, or both of us could just let it all go, like we do when we have a good laugh together. So, what I am saying is that it was just like the time when John was in the hospital. Remember how we pictured him having no blood clots — and the doctor was surprised that the ones they thought he had had gone away? Remember how upset I was? You had me channel my mother and she told me that I was going to be able to handle everything — and I did handle it.

“Well, this time when the store was crazy, I channeled you and you said I could handle it. And it worked, I handled it all — and I feel great!”


Intuitive attunement and receptive access each have a particular phenomenology. In the same way, conscious contemplation of unconscious resources and cultivation of the experience of receptivity will make you even more adept at tuning into and accessing the virtually limitless flow of information that comprises your psychic mind — and your own brand of magick.

This essay appears as chapter 7 in, Other Realms, Other Ways: A Clinician’s Guide to the Magick of Intuition, published by Iantella books, and reprinted with the permission of its author, Bette Freedson.?  

© 2023,
Bette  Freedson Bette Freedson, LCSW, LICSW, CGP is a clinical social worker, author and speaker. Bette’s newest book is Other Realms, Other Ways: A Clinician’s Guide to the Magick of Intuition. Her first book Soul Mothers’ Wisdom/Seven Insights for the Single Mother received high praise from the Midwest Book Review. A frequent faculty member and moderator for conferences of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, Bette is also a contributing author for ERICKSONIAN THERAPY NOW: The Master Class with Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD. Certified in clinical hypnosis, Bette incorporates Ericksonian hypnosis along with the wisdom of intuition into her practice. Bette Freedson has conducted workshops for a variety of venues including Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, National Association of Social Workers (NASW), AdCare of Maine, The Sweetser Training Institute. She served for two years as a contributing member and writer for the NASW specialty practice section on Children, Adolescents and Young Adults. (CAYA) Bette has also co-presented a weekend program at Kripalu entitled A Woman’s Sacred Journey. Bette Freedson lives and practices in Southern Maine.