Is There a Difference Between a Medium and a Psychic?

We are all spiritual beings, and everyone has psychic and intuitive ability to some degree, which can be developed even further with intent and practice.  While everyone is born psychic, however, not everyone can be a medium.  So what is the difference between a psychic and a medium?  Mediumship ability is the ability to communicate with spirits in the Spirit World.  All mediums have psychic ability, but not all psychics are mediums.

Psychic ability is the ability to sense things using the senses outside of our normal physical senses, like being able to sense energy, feelings, even thoughts, and the past, present, and future.  Psychic ability includes the “clairs” – clairvoyanceclairaudienceclairsentienceclairgustanceclaircognizance, and clairalience.  Mediums, as psychics, naturally use the “clairs” in their communication with Spirits, as well, it’s just that not all psychics have the ability to communicate with Spirits and entities.

Clairvoyance is the ability to “see” things outside of the normal range of physical sight.  So when I am receiving clairvoyant information, visions, pictures, visual symbols, including numbers and letters, and even situations playing out like movies come to me in my own mind.  Some clairvoyants can actually see the physical manifestation of spirits (as “ghostly apparitions”), but luckily I mostly do not see them that way, and I am very glad because the idea freaks me out too much, and is probably the reason why I do not wish to develop that part of my clairvoyant ability any further.  I have had experiences with seeing the physical manifestation of Spirits, and most of the experiences did not scare me at the time, but just the thought that something might someday scare me if I developed the ability further, is enough for me to avoid it, and I think this is the reason why Spirits know not to show themselves to me in that way.  My clairvoyance, like other psychic mediums, generally happens as visual messages in my head.  I can’t quite explain well how it works, but there is definitely a completely discernible difference between clairvoyant messages that I get and my own thoughts, ideas, and imagination, so there is no confusing clairvoyance with imagination.  I also get confirmation from people who I do my readings with, and when clairvoyant information “comes true”, that the information is indeed separate from my own imagination.

Clairsentience is the ability to “sense through feeling” things outside of the normal range of physical experience.  When I am receiving clairsentient information, I can psychically “feel” body sensations of other people and of Spirits when they were still alive.  Some psychics and mediums get actual physical sensations, while others psychically sense the feelings.  I usually psychically sense a Spirit’s physical body and bodily sensations from when they were alive, rather than get actual physical sensations, but the actual physical sense does happen to me occasionally during readings.  Guides and Spirits will let you know when you are “right” or “onto something”, or to pay attention to something, by giving you physical sensations like a poking sensation, chills, and goosebumps.  Clairsentience is very “feeling” oriented.  A psychic or medium will get “feelings” about people, situations, places, and things when using clairsentience.  Empaths and people who are very empathetic are usually very clairsentient.

Clairaudience is the ability to “hear” things outside of the normal range of physical experience.   Most mediums, if not all mediums, are clairaudient.  I happen to be very clairaudient, and it was the first “clair” that developed the strongest for me and made me realize that I am a psychic medium.  I can psychically “hear” voices of spirits communicate actual words, names, numbers, and letters to me.  Most of the time my clairaudience works psychically, rather than physically, but occasionally I can hear spirits speaking or whispering to me out loud with my physical sense of hearing.  Again, as with the other “clairs”, there is no confusion between the clairaudient messages I get and my own thoughts and imagination.  The “voices” are very distinctly separate from me, and I can even sense the speaking style of Spirits and the distinctive sound of their voices.

Claircognizance is the ability to just “know” things that one could not possibly know by any other means other than psychically.  In other words, claircognizance is just knowing things without learning them from someone or something directly teaching you from either the physical or from the Spirit world.  I can’t explain how or why it works, but it just does, and it is definitely different than working with the other “clairs”.  Sometimes I will get a sentence from a Spirit (clairaudience), or a feeling about something (clairsentience), and other times I will get a vision (clairvoyance), and then other times I will just blurt something out because I just “know” it right away, something very specific, and the person I am reading for is always surprised at how quick it came out, and usually responds with “Oh my God, how did you know that?”.  Honestly, it surprises me all of the time, too, it just works! I happen to think that the reason claircognizance works is because claircognizants are connected to the Akashic Records, which is the energetic record of all knowledge – everything that has ever happened and ever will happen. Claircognizant people are usually very mentally-oriented and analytical in their lives in general. Claircognizant people are also usually very telepathic.

Clairgustance is the ability to receive actual “taste” sensations while receiving psychic information.  The psychic might “taste”, either psychically or physically, tobacco for instance, if a Spirit was a smoker while alive, or mint, if a Spirit characteristically loved mint candies.  I have only experienced this a few times myself, and am working on developing this skill further.

Clairalience is the ability to actually sense “scents” while receiving psychic information.  As with clairgustance, a psychic or medium will either physically or psychically smell things associated with a Spirit.  So I might be able to “smell” a sweet smell if a Spirit wore a special kind of perfume, or smell flowers if they were particularly fond of flower gardening while they were alive.  Once when a Spirit came through, I could strongly smell the scent of dill, as the Spirit was characteristically fond of pickling when they were alive.  A lot of people who do not even consider themselves very psychic have clairalient experiences.  For instance, I have heard many stories of people suddenly being able to smell the perfume or cologne of a relative who has passed to the Other Side, and many times when a negative Spirit is present there will be a sudden, foul stench in the area.

Anyone can learn to develop the “clairs”, as everyone has psychic ability.  Not everyone can develop mediumship ability, however, because not everyone is born a medium.  A medium gets their psychic information from the “clairs”, as well as directly from Spirits and entities.

You may also like to read Signs From the Spirit World, Signs That You Have Already Known Someone in a Past Life, Regret and Apologies From the Other Side, and my other articles and Tarotscopes by clicking on the Menu above.

My name is Patricia and I am a Clairvoyant Psychic Medium with over 20 years of reading experience. To read more about my history as a Psychic Medium, please visit my About page. If you would like to book a reading with me, just message me through my Booking a Reading page. I look forward to hearing from you!

© 2013


2 thoughts on “Is There a Difference Between a Medium and a Psychic?

  1. Thankyou this info is very informative, I am a claresentient empath and feel messages and visitations for my clients. I have been working on my clarevoyance & am starting to see glittery colours when I close my eyes or slight shadows out of the corner of my eyes. would you say it is possible to completely see spirit in say human form & if so how long usually does it take to achieve these visions? Can you please email me a response if not too much trouble. Thankyou xx Gemma.

    • Hi Gemma,

      It’s completely individual how long it takes to develop psychic ability. And as far as I understand, it’s up to the Spirit whether they want to show themselves, not up to how skilled the psychic is. Hopefully this helped!


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