An empath has the ability to pick up impressions about people and places that are not seen by your conscious mind, especially the feelings, health, and emotions of others.

Empathy is the ability to tap into or read the feelings of another person. You can empathise with the emotions of another and see things from their perspective. Being an empath means that you have the ability to connect with another person's aura, allowing you to feel and experience what is going on in their life on a personal level. When you are not psychically aware of this ability it can happen unconsciously. On a positive side, it helps you to relate to others and have an understanding of others around you. However, empathy can be a very challenging ability to deal with as it allows you to become emotionally involved when you may not wish to be.

Being empathetic is part of human nature and it is a necessary part of our life. However, if you don't learn how to control or shut yourself down from being a constant empath you will become like a human sponge and absorb the emotions and feelings of everyone around you. It's OK to be empathetic to your friends and loved ones, as that is part of what a friendship or relationship is about. Being supportive and taking the time to listen to others is fine, but if a relationship is only one-sided and the person is not a good support to you, then maybe you need to have a chat to your friend/partner and explain how you feel about this situation. If the person doesn't understand, then it may be time to disconnect from the friendship/relationship. People who constantly do this to others are called psychic vampires. Sometimes they are not aware of their actions, while some actively feed off the positive energy of others as it makes them feel stronger and more powerful. If you don't learn how to protect yourself, you will become like a human sponge, absorbing the emotions and feelings of everyone around you.

Empaths can use their gift to be able to diagnose or feel illnesses and ailments in other people's bodies. Many gifted healers, reiki practitioners, naturopaths and psychics have the ability of empathy. The important thing to remember is that you will need to have control of how and when you connect to another's pain. To be able to work with the spirit world and those in the living world, it is important to be able to be empathetic to both sides. However, it is also important to shut yourself down when you have finished your work, because otherwise you will become very drained and depleted, which can result in health and emotional issues. I always make a point of 'White Lighting' myself if I am going to be in a situation where there are lots of people around me. This doesn't mean that I am shut off from the world, as it still allows me to pick up the information I need, but it stops me from being constantly bombarded by the emotions and feelings of others.

White light protection

White light protection is the most common way to protect yourself from any negative energies or entities. It is a form of 'shielding' which protects your aura and surrounds your energy source with protective angelic light. White light is made up of the seven colours of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These are the seven colours that are also present in rainbows and in our aura. Psychic protection is something that can be achieved in a number of different ways. Here are some examples for you to try out yourself.
* Visualise beautiful pure white light showering down upon you from the heavens above. Surround your entire being with pure white light. Visualise any negative or dark energies being cleansed and removed by the light as it surrounds your body with protection.
* Visualise your guardian angel surrounding you with their angelic light and enveloping you with their powerful wings to protect you.
* Visualise yourself inside a white bubble or white cocoon of protection.
* Imagine yourself bathing or swimming in protective light that surrounds you like a force field.
* Imagine there is an invisible hole where the white light can enter the top of your head. The invisible hole is located at your Crown Chakra, and it is the colour violet.
* Using breathing techniques to breathe in the light and exhale any negative energy on the outward breath can enhance your protection from the spirit world.

Key signs

* You feel like you are different and don't always feel like you belong.
* You watch the news and see tragic events, and feel as though the event is personally happening to you.
* You find it hard to say “No” to others, even though deep down you do not want to do what is being asked of you.
* You the person that everybody comes to with their problems - when a depressed or upset friend arrives,you are happy and positive, but when they leave after dumping all their problems onto you, you feel tired and depressed yourself.
* You are a person who always puts others needs before your own, as you feel responsible for them, even at detriment to yourself.
* You have a tendency to like your own space because you get caught up in other people's emotions and problems.
* You feel distracted when you speak with people, because you start to pick up on their problems.
* You forget to take time out for yourself to have fun.
* You find it hard to be among crowds. This is because sometimes, when people hustle and bustle past you, their emotional baggage may be picked up and absorbed into your own energy field or aura, which is your spiritual body.

Debbie Malone is an acclaimed spirit medium who is a psychic and clairvoyant; she is also the author of Awaken Your Psychic Ability (Rockpool Publishing), available in bookstores and Big W or online at