Types of Psychic Abilities – Cheat Sheet

This Types of Psychic Abilities list s a MUST have (like those shoes on your Christmas list) cheat sheet of all the common and uncommon psychic abilities. It’s like SparkNotes, but way better!

So if you’ve been wondering if what you’re experiencing is a psychic breakthrough or if it’s just last night’s tacos, look no further.

types of psychic abilities

The 4 Types of Psychic Abilities

At the heart of it, there are four main types of psychic abilities (we’ll also call these intuitive abilities throughout this post).

Each of these abilities works in a different way, but tells the same message.

For instance, if I wanted to let you know I was baking cookies (chocolate chip, of course), I could:

  • Send you a text
  • Call your cell phone
  • Open my front door and let the smell float over to your house
  • DM you a picture on Instagram

All of those ways to communicate would almost guarantee you rushing to my kitchen, but they deliver the message differently.

That’s how psychic abilities work, too!

Each intuitive ability gets the “message” through, but in different ways.

So, without any further ado, the four major types of psychic abilities are:

  • Clairvoyance: Clear seeing
  • Clairsentience: Clear feeling
  • Clairaudience: Clear hearing
  • Claircognizance: Clear knowing

Cool fact: In case you’re wondering, the repeated word prefix ‘clair-’ is from the French ‘clair(e)’ and means ‘clear’.

As you explore these types of psychic abilities, you may realize that you have ALL of these abilities or just one or two.

Either way, no worries. With practice, it’s easy to develop all of your psychic gifts!

Tip: Set up a psychic development board on Pinterest. Then, hover over the image to save it!

1. Clairvoyance – clear seeing

Clairvoyance is typically what people think of when they picture a psychic. It’s the ability to see psychic visions.

Shows like That’s So Raven and Psych made psychic visions popular and mainstream. Because of these shows and old documentaries, people often picture a psychic waving their hands around a crystal ball and seeing into the future.

So of all the abilities, this one is the most popular and most misunderstood.

The best way to describe clairvoyance is to imagine watching a movie play in your head. These movies could be obvious or have no context at all, depending on the situation.

And, contrary to dramatic TV shows and movies, clairvoyance is subtle.

In fact, some visions don’t show clear visions at all! You may just see a color, object, symbol, or concept.

Of course on the flip side, your visions could be not so subtle and lead you to say things like: UGH that’s exactly what I saw coming.

Tip: Third eye, psychic eye, and psychic visions are all phrases that you might hear associated with clairvoyance.

Learn more:


2. Clairsentience – clear feeling

Have you ever interacted with someone and just felt what they were feeling?

Or sensed the energy when you walked into a room?

Clairsentience is the ability to receive intuitive information via feelings, emotions, or physical sensations.

For example… say a client comes to me for a psychic reading. She is emotionally drained and frustrated. She says her job is  “driving her nuts” but can’t figure out why.

Come to find out, her company is going through a major change and everyone is anxious about it.

Someone with clairsentience in that situation would feel those anxious emotions of their co-workers ALL DAY.

So of course her work was leaving her feeling exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed!

Those with clairsentience pick up on all kinds of energies and feelings around them.

In fact, after spending time with friends and partners, they usually need to take some time alone to decompress. Watching the news or tragic realistic movies may also be super difficult.

Clairsentients are also like human lie detectors — they just seem to know what the person’s true intentions are.

Tip: empath, intuitive empath, or spiritual empath are other phrases that you may hear associated with clairsentience.

Learn more:

P.S. If you think you’re a clairsentient psychic, I highly encourage you to read the post Psychic Self Defense — How to Not Get Drained While Doing Energy Work.

Hover over the image to save it to Pinterest :)

3. Clairaudience – clear hearing

Don’t get me wrong, all types of psychic abilities are wonderful, but clairaudience is a fav of mine!

It’s the ability to receive intuitive messages without using your physical ears!

Basically just as clairsentience is inner seeing, clairaudience is inner hearing. (i.e. you hear the messages, sounds, etc. in your head.)

Someone with clairaudience may hear sudden instructions, messages, or ideas in their head like, “call mom”, “go right”, or “check the garage door”.

Most times, this voice will be in your own tone of voice (so don’t think of this sense like “hearing voices”). In addition to voices, a clairaudient psychic or medium may hear things that others can not, like sounds or music.

Spiritual mediums are often clairaudient and can hear words, phrases, names and messages from those who have passed on.

In fact, one of my favorite memories is when I was doing a reading for a client and distinctly heard the message, “Say hi to Bobo!”. It turns out that Bobo was the family pet.

Tip: Psychic hearing means the same thing as clairaudience.

Learn more:


4. Claircognizance – clear knowing

Some people refer to this sense as a “gut feeling”. It’s the ability to just know something without logic or facts.

If you’ve ever known that you should avoid your new neighbor, take a different route to work, not take that drink or call someone up, you’ve experienced some inner knowing!

At the time, you probably didn’t know why you were having those feelings. Your friends may have made fun of you or you may have thought you were being silly, but something was telling you that you were right.

These claircognizant feelings can be very strong and come in the form of intuitive thoughts that pop into your head at random.

For example:

(yes, I’ve told this story a million times, but it’s such a fab claircognizant story that it’s worth telling for the 1,000,001 time!)

My husband had an experience with claircognizance that saved him and his friends.

He and three other colleagues were passengers driving down the highway when he suddenly KNEW they all needed to buckle up. There was no doubt about it, so he instructed everyone in the car to put their seat-belts on NOW!

There was no logical reason for this to suddenly pop in his mind, but mid-confusion, they were rear ended at top speed!

Luckily, everyone listened. There were minor injuries, but thankfully, no one lost their life, which, by the looks of the vehicle they were in, could have happened!

Psychic Ability Examples

As I said, my husband received a claircognizant message that saved him and his co-workers.

Here’s the thing, though: He could have received that intuitive message in another way.

  • He could have had a vision of an accident flash in his mind’s eye. (clairvoyance)
  • Or, he could have heard the impact or squealing tires or heard the impact before it happened. (clairaudience)
  • He could have sensed that they were going to be in an accident. (clairsentience)

Those methods would have delivered the same psychic information, but in a different manner. And that’s the bottom line when it comes to psychic abilities.

2 Types of Psychic Abilities That No One Talks About

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention these less common types of psychic abilities!

While they’re pretty awesome, they typically don’t stand on their own (someone who experiences them likely also experiences one of the main abilities above).

Scroll over the clairalience image to save it to Pinterest.

Clairalience – clear smelling

Have you ever gotten a whiff of your mom’s favorite perfume, even though she’s nowhere near?

Or maybe smelled the pot roast you had when your husband proposed to you, even though you’re at work on a Tuesday morning? (Only to get home and discovered that he surprised you with pot roast!)

Clairalience is the ability to smell things outside the normal range of smell.

For instance my sister-in-law often smells cigar smoke which she associates with her father who passed away. Whenever she gets a whiff of a cigar, she feels comforted knowing that her father is around.


Clairgustance – clear tasting

Well, you’ve heard it all now! Clairgustance is (as you may have guessed) inner tasting.

Those with this ability can taste without putting food into their mouth. (If only I could survive on this method, I’d still fit into my skinny jeans from the ’90s!)

Most often this ability shows up when a medium is doing a reading. If the Spirit they’re connecting with loved cheesecake, it’s possible the psychic will get the taste of cheesecake!

Next Steps

With a little practice and patience, anyone can learn how to tap into and strengthen their psychic abilities. Yes, even you!

The next step is to discover which of the above psychic gifts you have. Just read through this post (it’s super long, but oh-so-good) and by the end of it, you’ll know EXACTLY which intuitive abilities you have!

And of course, if you’re feeling unsure, you can always talk to a psychic. In fact, I got many readings when I was on my psychic journey! It was so nice to chat with someone who knew what I was going through and that understood the types of psychic abilities. :)


1. Clairvoyance – clear seeing

Clairvoyance is an inner seeing.  It’s the most well known, but least understood intuitive gift on our list of psychic abilities.

I would describe it as watching a little movie inside your head.

Someone who is clairvoyant is not necessarily seeing the future or having dramatic psychic visions like you see in the movies.

Rather, clairvoyance can be very subtle.  For example, you may just see a color, a number, or even a symbol.  You may or may not understand what these images mean, and they are not always meant to be taken literally.

On the other hand, you may get a full blown premonition.  Like the old saying goes, “I saw that one coming!”

Other terms for clairvoyance:  third eye, psychic eye, psychic vision.

2. Clairsentience – clear feeling

Clairsentience is the ability to receive intuitive messages via feelings, emotions, or physical sensations.  Empathy (feeling the emotions of others) is also a form of clairsentience.

Here’s a great example of a clairsentience:

My daughter is fourteen and for the last two years, I’ve homeschooled her.  Prior to that, she struggled at school, in part, because she’s extremely empathic and clairsentient. When someone is sad, angry, or ecstatic, she feels it.

She is so sensitive to energy that school would leave her feeling exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed.

You may feel that way, too.  Whether you are at school or at work, you may feel drained or pick up on the moods of people around you.  You may feel exhausted being around someone who is negative and it may be difficult for you to watch the news.

As a clairsentient, it may be very easy for you to know when someone is lying to you – you can just feel it somehow. And you may even feel the physical ailments of others.

Other common terms for clairsentience:  empath, spiritual or intuitive empath

If this sounds like you, I would encourage you to read my tips for dealing with energy vampires.

3. Clairaudience – clear hearing

No list of psychic abilities would be complete without clairaudience.

Clairaudience is a way of receiving intuitive messages without using the physical ears.  I know, that sounds weird.  Let me explain.

Think of clairaudience as an inner hearing.  For example, you may suddenly hear that little voice inside you say, “go right!” or “stop!”.

When a highly sensitive person – such as a psychic or medium – is clairaudient, they are able to hear things that others cannot, such as spirit voices, sounds, and even music.

For example, spiritual mediums are often clairaudient and can hear words, phrases, and names from those who have passed on.

Most times, the medium will hear Spirit speaking inside his or her own head in her own voice (it sounds like when you are reading silently to yourself).  On some occasions, the medium may also hear the actual voice that the spirit had when they were living.

Common Misconception About Clairaudience:

Let’s pretend you and some friends think you hear a spirit voice in your house.  This is usually not be considered a clairaudient experience because the sound was out loud, for all to hear with the physical ears.

Personally, I feel that clairaudience is the most interesting of all the extrasensory perceptions on our list of psychic abilities.  My favorite memory of clairaudience was when I was doing a reading for a client and distinctly heard the message, Say hi to Bobo!  Turns out, Bobo was the family pet.

4. Claircognizance – clear knowing

Claircognizance is the ability to just know something without logic or facts.  It may help to think of it as an inner knowing.

Like if you know that you shouldn’t trust your new neighbor or get on that airplane, but you don’t know why, that is claircognizance.  It’s an important extrasensory perception, so it makes it into the top four on our list of psychic abilities.

These claircognizant feelings can be very strong.  They can also come in the form of intuitive thoughts that can pop into your head at random.

For example, my husband (who is not psychic) was driving on the highway with some co-workers.  He says he didn’t know why, but all of a sudden he knew he had to tell everyone to buckle up.

Less than five minutes later, their vehicle was rear ended from behind by a car going 65 miles an hour.  The seat my husband was sitting in broke in half.

This is a great example of an intuitive thought coming through in the form of claircognizance.  He didn’t know why everyone needed to buckle up – he just knew they had to do it immediately!

But he could have received that intuitive message in another way.  He could have had a vision of an accident.  Same message, but received in a different manner. That’s the concept for you to grasp here today while reading this list of psychic abilities.

Less Common Intuitive Abilities

Did You Know?  Clair is the prefix for the French word meaning clear.

Clairalience – clear smelling

Funny name, isn’t it?  Clairalience is the ability to smell things outside the normal range of smell, such as the perfume of a loved one who has passed away.

Sometimes a person in spirit will fill a room with a familiar smell so that their loved ones know they are around.  My sister-in-law often smells cigar smoke which she associates with her father.

I don’t know how our loved ones in spirit do this, but many people find this phenomenon very comforting.

Clairgustance – clear tasting

Last on our list of psychic abilities is clairgustance.  Clairgustance is an inner tasting; that is, tasting without actually putting anything into your mouth.

This form of extrasensory perception is sometimes experienced by mediums when they give a reading.

The way it works is pretty simple.  When a medium is communicating with a spirit, they may begin to develop a particular taste in their mouth.  So, if a person in spirit used to love to eat chocolate cake, a medium who has this sense might taste chocolate cake.

Think of how easy dieting would be if we could all do this.  Oh joy!

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