Interview with Judith Orloff, M.D.
Please explain Energy Psychiatry and how positive energy is related.
In my book Positive Energy I discuss a new field of psychiatry I'm pioneering called Energy Psychiatry, a term I have coined. Energy Psychiatry blends traditional psychiatry with an appreciation of spirituality, subtle energies, and intuition. I believe that traditional psychiatry is overly prescription dependent, addressing only the biological makeup of behavior. Though cross cultural healing traditions all have a term for subtle energy such as chi, prana, and shakti, western medicine does not believe it exists. This is a travesty because by overlooking the energetic element of health and behavior many healing options for ourselves and patients are missed. Energy Psychiatry addresses a combination of mind, body and spirit so the whole person is seen, evaluated, and treated. Positive energy refers to energies within us such as compassion, forgiveness, faith and courage. When we develop these in ourselves to combat the tyrrany of fear (in us or in the world) we will be healthier and happier people.
What is intuitive empathy, and how does it impact our health?
Intuitive empathy is the capacity many of us have to sense energy around it, absorb it in our bodies, and become exhausted by it. I am an intuitive empath so I have a strong interest in this area. As a child I couldn't go into shopping malls or crowded places because I'd walk in feeling fine, and walk out exhausted or with an ache or pain I didn't have before. I went to my mother who was a physician and she said, "Oh dear, you just don't have a thick enough skin!" Though she was well-meaning, that is not the answer. We need to maintain our sensitivities in the world but also learn how to center and protect our energies with meditation, breathing exercises and shielding to that we can remain strong in a world filled with negative energies. Intuitive empaths are often diagnosed with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression or "psychosomatic disorders." I've found that many of these people are intuitive empaths and are sponges for absorbing the negative energy in the world. When empaths are taught skills for protecting and centering their energy, there is less likelihood of becoming drained.
You talk about opening the heart. What is this and how is this achieved?
The main source of happiness and well-being comes from the heart, that energy center or "chakra" located in the mid-chest that is the source of loving-kindness and compassion. When we begin to open this area, the sweetness of this energy flows forth in our bodies to lessen fatigue and buoy our mood. A technique I suggest for opening the heart is simple. Get in a quiet place. Take a few steady, deep breaths. If thoughts intrude keep focusing on your breath. Then picture an image that is loving and positive. It may be a child's face, a beautiful flower, a waterfall. Hold that image for a few minutes and feel the positive energy of the heart open and flow through you. This is a wonderful tool if you are feeling tired or anxious. It brings you back to center again and alleviates stress.
What advice to you have for people who feel they are incapable of being intuitive?
I am proud to say there hasn't been anyone I've worked with who hasn't been able to tap into intuition. Intuition is our birthright, a primal instinct that gets repressed as we become adults in a world obsessed with logic and linear thought. The way to get in touch with your intuition again is to begin to listen to your gut; that inner sense that tells you if a decision is right for you or not. Start slowly by making smaller decisions based on your gut. See how they turn out. Then apply intuition to larger decisions. I promise you only good things will happen!
What can we do everyday to attract positive energy?
My book Positive Energy is totally devoted to this question. An energetic law to remember is that we attract what we give off. If we are dominated by fear that's what we will attract back to us. If we are filled with compassion and hope, that will come back too. We can attract positive energy to us by slowly but surely being more loving and understanding of ourselves and others, embodying what we hope to attract to us. This will invite healthier relationships, create a more positive, peaceful, tolerant world.