The sixth sense: how to develop intuition and use it in everyday life

The sixth sense: how to develop intuition and use it in everyday life

Trusting the first impression, is basing your choices on intuition safe? We asked psychotherapist Valdrè to explain what the sixth sense is and how to train it.

Interview with Dr. Rossella Valdré
Psychotherapist and psychoanalyst
Author: Francesca Parlato

It’s a sensation, sometimes it lasts a few seconds, but it’s enough to give us an idea of ​​the person in front of us or a particular situation. It is the so-called sixth sense, intuition, defined by Plato as the highest function of intelligence because it is capable of arriving at knowledge without passing through reason. But does it really work? Can we trust this feeling that we feel ‘in the skin’ enough to base decisions, choices or judgments? “It must be said that many boast of possessing this ability, but the true sixth sense, true intuition is not so widespread” Rossella Valdrè explained to psychotherapist and psychoanalyst contributor to the Committee.

What is the sixth sense?

But what is intuition really? “It is the ability to explore the unconscious and, above all, pre-conscious areas of the mind, an extraordinary resource of the human being, an exceptional help to move in life, to understand situations and others, without resorting to rational intelligence and control – explains Valdré – It may be called ’emotional intelligence’, but it is not correct to say that it comes from the heart, it is a specific competence of the mind that has been seen to belong to the prefrontal cortex.” It’s like having an extra sense, the sixth, in addition to the five normal senses with which we perceive the outside world: “A sixth sense that cannot be seen, but is known to exist within us.” A skill that all of us, at least in theory, should have. “In fact, however, not everyone has them. In my profession, for example, I believe that the main quality of a psychoanalyst is being endowed with intuition, on which training is developed. The therapist, and in a sense also the scientists, are close to the artists in this. It is not enough to be well trained, at the base you need to have intuitive capacity, the ability to delve into the unconscious. Not everyone is endowed with these inner freedoms, for various reasons, characterological, habitual and psychopathological”.

How to train intuition

Although in some people it is naturally more developed than in others, intuition can be ‘trained’. “Within certain limits, yes. For example, with meditation techniques, with the use of art, with psychoanalytic treatment, but I would also say simply training in contact with oneself, in a certain solitude. Without solitude it is difficult to be creative and intuitive, and unfortunately solitude is frightening, it is a dimension that is often avoided”. To work the sixth sense, therefore, creativity must also be trained: “Even the night dream (whose interpretation is only accessible with psychoanalysis) is a very valid method for developing intuition, as are reading, cinema, poetry, letting oneself be carried away by imagination and fantasy. they imply“.

But can we trust the sixth sense?

Many people base their decisions precisely on skin sensations, the immediate ones. They trust their intuition over even more objective assessments.
The most controlled and controlling people instead, they have a hard time letting go. Of course, being rational is necessary, only being excessively controlling, for fear of the imaginative and unconscious instinctual world, can create blocks to intuition”. In general, however, according to psychologist Valdré, we can trust what our first sensations tell us. “Personally, I can say that I was wrong when I didn’t trust my intuition. Someone also calls it ‘instinct’, but this is an incorrect simplification, because instinct is animal, while intuition is exquisitely human, as we know it belongs to the frontal cortex and the preconscious, an area located between the conscious and the preconscious. the unconscious. , the one in which we spend most of our life, and to which we give very little importance. We are used to overvaluing consciousness since Descartes, but with Freud and psychoanalysis, and today also modern neuroscience, we have learned that the human being really lives largely in ‘dreaming’, that is, in the realm of the preconscious”.

The first impression: the sixth sense and relationships

One of the situations in which we most often challenge our intuition is when we make new knowledge. When we meet someone for the first time, a look, a handshake, the way he presents himself is enough to immediately get a first impression, an idea of ​​the person we are in front of. “We all know its importance and first impressions are rarely wrong. If it is, it is because it is loaded with the unconscious projections we make on others, that is, on what we put into it, which belongs to us. Even the memories, the now unconscious images of the people of our history contribute to the creation of that often indistinct form that the ‘first impression’ has, sometimes vague and confused. But on the other hand, the impact with people, or places and situations, if stripped of prejudices, is usually able to stimulate our internal areas, and from which intuition arises. However, we must be free, open, we say like the poet Keats with “negative capacity”, which means the capacity to remain unsaturated, not to immediately fill the new experience or the new encounter with our harmful meanings. We must trust intuition, because in it lies our authentic part. It is a valuable tool that some, as artists, have for themselves, while others must be trusted to develop.”

The information provided on is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his doctor.

Source: Fan Page IT