Debra Lynne Katz is an internationally renowned speaker, and founder and director of the International School of Clairvoyance (ISC) an online school offering interactive small group clairvoyant training in teleseminar and webinar formats. In this interview, she shares some insight into her journey to becoming a professional and what she has learnt in developing her work.
When did you first realize you have a psychic gift and what inspired you to continue on this path professionally?
I really would like to get rid of this idea of psychic abilities being gifts, because that concept lends itself to the idea that you either have something or don’t and it is something that is bestowed upon one rather than developed through learning, practice and intention, and only to a select few. To me my intrinsic gifts are more in my tenacity, discipline and commitment to pursuing goals despite facing obstacles and adversity. These have all helped support me and to continue to develop my psi-based perceptual skills such as clairvoyance, telepathy, mediumship and remote viewing. My progression has happened through doing thousands of hours of practice. When it comes to reading people, there is a lot to manage within one’s thoughts and emotional space beyond just the receiving of psi-based information. This is all complex.
Getting back to what you were really asking – when did I realize I had intuitive perceptual faculties – or that I was having experiences or receiving information through something other than my analytic, logical mind? That happened at a very young age when I would feel emotions floating across the room, through me and then exiting, or when I would hear what my twin sister was going to say moments before she said it, or when I would know what was going to happen right before it did or when I would see an apparition hovering in the doorway of my parent’s bedroom. But these were spontaneous, uncontrolled experiences. I was just fortunate to recognize that I was experiencing something real and that provided me with helpful information about what others were thinking, about to do, or if there was something I really needed to know about. So both myself and my sister set upon our own unique journeys even at the age of just 10, to learn more about these things and to see if we could gain a level of control. We somehow got a subscription to the library at the Theosophical Society in Wheaton, Illinois, where we received books through the mail that were very difficult to understand but that taught about meditation. I noticed when I paid more attention to these topics and meditated more I would have more spontaneous psi experiences but this in no way led to having control over them. I had no idea how to “read” other people, that is until I came across a clairvoyant training school when I was 27 years old.
I signed up immediately for classes but even then, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do. I was just plopped down in a chair and given a couple visualizations. It is not like anything I said made much sense the first several times I did this but I wasn’t there to make sense, but just to have fun exploring my imagery and seeing what happened. I did not really expect I would start to have insights and more and more details about a person, and so being a professional reader at that time could not have been further from my mind. I just could not imagine anything more fun, interesting or exciting then to see what happened when as a group we were brought before a person and looked for colors and symbols to show us things about the person. I did get lots of symbols and visuals but no meaning until much later. Eventually this produced information about the person that grew both in usefulness and accuracy. So it was not until several months into practicing I saw that this was possible and my practicing and discovering has never stopped, even though at some point people were expressing how helpful this was to them, and that they wanted to compensate me for the time I took. Eventually, maybe about two years into practicing, I realized I was spending a lot of time with people and it was like work, and also if I did not agree to them paying me something, many people felt kind of like the give and take was uneven. I also then realized if I was going to spend time doing this I would not be able to spend as much time working at other jobs, so that is how I moved from a student to a professional. But I really still do see myself as both, even after doing this now for 27 years. I still attend different types of intuitive development classes and endless conferences; conduct research, and read every article and book I can find on these topics to expand my knowledge and skill set as well.
You will soon have a PhD in Psychology, how have you found this to benefit you in your line of work?
First, I will say having already had a Master’s degree in Social Work and a B.A. in Psychology has been very helpful on many fronts. My courses in ethics and how to set boundaries with myself and clients has been very useful. Doing readings is a lot like therapy, except instead of my clients doing most of the talking it is the other way around. Still there are endless boundary lines to be aware of and to navigate. Also the first thing a reader encounters is the emotional states of others interfacing with their own emotions. The psychological concept of “transference” between client and therapist takes on a whole new meaning when its “client” and “clairvoyant”. Understanding psychology helps. Sometimes we encounter mental disorders in readings and therefore its also useful to be able to put these into perspective – in the same way someone with a medical background or very familiar with anatomy is more prepared to address physical issues of the body.
As far as what I learned within my Ph.D program, which had an emphasis on consciousness and society and also gave me access to archival collections related to parapsychology (the Ingo Swann archives), I would say most impactful was learning more how our perceptual processes, such as how attention, works. If we are going to understand our how intuitive based information comes to us through visions, thoughts, feelings and somatic movements, and why these are sometimes distorted, or misinterpreted, it is helpful to have an understanding of how this happens through our “regular” perceptions.
Also, I’ve learned a lot more about philosophical frameworks – the lens by which we view reality. I used to think extreme skeptics only had some block or fear of towards psychic topics. Now I understand this is part of a larger materialistic, natural sciences world view that colors many more of our way of looking at ourselves, each other, and the world around us in terms that are not always accurate or helpful. The problem in society is that this world view (lens) is not recognized as just one option of many, rather it is upheld as the only right, truthful one. It denies the legitimacy of what one experiences on not just a psychic level, but on an internal level. It spreads the false message that to be scientific, or rational, or sensible one must deny their own internal states of consciousness, their own emotions, their own passions and intuitions. It goes way beyond whether one can be psychic or not – it denies the validity of internal experience and the empowerment of one to trust their own observations of life. So in realizing this is just one of many theoretical frameworks – not the ultimate truth of how life works – we can then compare and contrast it to other frameworks (such as phenomenology and social constructionism) and make new choices. We can also better understand where others are stuck and then better help them gently move out of them. This understanding of frameworks helps normalize what we are doing here.
Of course, on the other side of the spectrum are those involved in religious groups where the leaders have little understanding of these topics and they pass along fear and judgement to their many members. So I’ve been exploring how both these forces get in the way of people even feeling free to explore what is within their own minds, and bodies. Just think about that – someone being afraid to even just close their eyes and look within or around them because they might see something someone else (like a religious or community leader) does not want them to see, or talk about. This is what we put up with, and go along with! How can any group of people say they are free, living in a free society, if they are not free to dream, or free to explore their very own states of consciousness?
In your experience in working with people, what would you say is the number one thing that holds most people back from living the fulfilling life they would like to live?
Important question!! There are a number of things – People are creatures of habit. They cling to what is safe and secure. What is safe is what is familiar, what would not create conflict, what is the easiest course of action to take. Most people are looking for the path of least resistance. They are also impatient; they want what they want now, so it is like the game show “Let’s Make a Deal”. The contestant is offered smaller consolation prizes that someone else has chosen for them and asked to choose between one of these, that which is known but not what they would really choose, or they can hold out for the big prize – fulfillment – which takes more concentration, work, faith, risk, and unknowns – its not guaranteed that they will get what they ultimately want, but if they do not go for it (because they are distracted by everything else) then for sure will not happen. People get stuck in their limiting thought forms, so then they cannot see beyond sometimes one or two choices. I can not tell you how many people I have talked to that clearly hate their job. In my readings I get the feeling they are long overdue to make a change – like they could have done this years before. They know this is true but just do not know what else to do and are worried they will not find something else.
As it turns out, many of them have not even taken a single step to even apply for a new job, or explore going back to school, or even talked to other people about career changes. Further, they go home at night and instead of pursuing what they really want to do in their off time, they just watch TV. Why? Not just because they are tired (which is often the case as well) but because of all the doubt, fear, desire for security, some of these people work really hard, even to the brink of sickness and death, and yet (or because of this) the task of stretching into new areas is too much for them. In these cases sometimes a leave of absence is exactly what is needed. In this respect I think some people are benefitting from what has happened with the COVID pandemic, as hard of a time they may be having financially. They are being aided in making changes that would otherwise have been very difficult to make on their own. They have enough of a break to get their energy level back and also to see life from a new perspective.
It is hard for some people with more fixed personalities and perspectives to see that there can be a better way for themselves, so then external circumstances forces them into this. This is one of the benefits of the pandemic – it is a jump start for the entire world to see that life can happen in different ways. I suspect moving forward, companies will learn how to massively cut costs, expand clientele and customers, and broaden business worldwide as there is a move to having people work from home, online. T his will open up brand new opportunities, even though in the short term what is happened is devastating, because it was so unexpected and few were prepared for such radical change. The other thing is that people in the U.S. believe that fulfillment has to come from ones employment. It is certainly great if it does, but sometimes that is not where its going to come from at all – It will be from relationships, from being creative, and being in service to others.
Is there a certain method that you personally use to prepare yourself before a reading?
Yes, first I find the quietest room to be in, and I make sure my body is happy in terms of temperature, sitting positions, clothing, and being well watered and fed. Then I run through a series of visualization tools that I discuss in my book YOU ARE PSYCHIC (and my new anthology, THE COMPLETE CLAIRVOYANT). These involve grounding, centering behind the third eye, in the 6th chakra, connecting up to source and running helpful energy through my body while releasing unhelpful (such as that which is underlying stress or anxiety). Next I will visualize turning down my analytic mind and allowing my intuitive mind to become dominant. Setting my boundaries/protection around me, grounding my room/space, and also checking in to remind myself that I am about to learn, have fun and setting my intention for what I would like to learn or experience during that particular reading.
Could you tell us a bit more about the International School of Clairvoyance?
The ISC offers several classes in clairvoyant reading and healing people, and then also in remote viewing for purposes related to describing the physical world. Since 2005, I’ve been offering 12 week distant training classes designed to emulate in person classes as far as level of interaction and personalization, so these are conducted in real time and provide lots of practice opportunities, within class and outside.
Can anyone sign up with the school to become a psychic or do you have to have an underlying ability?
Classes are designed for both those brand new to these topics through to professionals. I’ve designed the classes so it actually works to have both levels within the same classes. This allows for those at varying levels to learn from each other. Those who are more experienced are given greater challenges and assignments and sometimes become facilitators for our ongoing practice groups in which members from the public can receive free student readings.
Your first book You are Psychic: The Art of Clairvoyant Reading & Healing offers guidance on developing natural intuitive gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience and telepathy, was there anything that you felt resonated with you on a personal level from this work?
EVERYTHING! Our psychic abilities are ourselves. Every time we do a reading, or any kind of remote viewing session, we are learning about ourselves, about our own consciousness, about the spiritual realms, about humanity and about the world around us. There are endless opportunities to expand, learn, grow, overcome our own limitations and obstacles. Every time I do a reading it is an adventure and a new experience. It is exciting, fun, enthralling, although of course depending on who you are working with, if they are not open or if they are insistent they want to hear something that is not what you are getting for them, that can be frustrating for sure. Working with people in any capacity comes with its challenges.
What do you hope people will take away from working with you?
First and foremost, life is stressful. I want to give everyone tools that they can use to cope with this stress, manage their emotional states, become more empowered and learn how to excel despite all of life’s challenges. These tools help them change their energetic and emotional frequencies within themselves and around themselves, and even within relationships.
We cannot always stop bad things from happening, but the way we handle and cope with life’s challenges is largely within our power and that is what I feel my books, classes and sessions can offer first and foremost – many people are just not given these when growing up or through our mainstream educational system.
Next, I want those who are interested in exploring their intuitive abilities to know there is a way, and that no matter if they have hardly had any experiences themselves so far, to understand part of the reason is they may never have been put into a situation that allowed them to do this. Babies that were left out in the wild raised by animals who have been found as older children do not even know how to walk upright. They do not know how to speak. They do not even know how to eat with a fork or spoon. We learn these basic things that we take for granted because of socialization and education. It is the same thing with one’s clairvoyance. I want people to know what to do to begin to harness their own abilities and direct themselves so as soon as possible we can part ways but they will be able to continue along this path through practicing on their own. I want to plug them into further resources so they can feel less alone in their intuitive journeys. I now have hundreds of graduates of my programs, many whom have gone onto have successful intuitive based practices; others have gone onto integrate all they learned into coaching, or therapeutic, massage, hypnotherapy or medical practices or even in their jobs as police officers, prison guards and businessmen and women; and still many others use their abilities in their every-day lives – to find missing household items, to help heal their kids and friends, to make sound business decisions, and to enhance their creative projects. My aim is to assist a person as quickly as possible so they won’t need me anymore. I want to show them as quickly as possible how they can become their own mentor, boss, therapist, coach and intuitive reader and healer. That is what I’ve been doing for the past 25 years or so and it seems to be going quite well.