Don’t call her a psychic: ‘Intuitive counselor’ Susan King sets up shop at Hotel Bel-Air

Self-described intuitive counselor Susan King will be at the Hotel Bel-Air from Wednesday to Nov. 9.
Self-described intuitive counselor Susan King will be at the Hotel Bel-Air from Wednesday to Nov. 9.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

At first blush, Susan King seems like the type of person you’d meet at a neighborhood pub in London after work: cheerful, bubbly, given to exuberant exclamation. There’s nothing about her personality that gives you a sense of what she does for a living. She calls herself an “intuitive counselor” and sees clients several weeks a year at the Hotel Bel-Air (her next “residence” is scheduled for Nov. 4-9). A 60-minute counseling session costs $500.

What’s the difference between an intuitive counselor and a psychic, channel, clairvoyant or medium?

Some words carry lots of unintended baggage. In Europe you don’t hear “channel”; you do hear “medium.” Mediums are generally people who say they can have direct contact with people no longer living. That’s not what I do. I call myself an intuitive because I think it takes away any barriers and removes potential erroneous stereotyping. Intuition is something everyone “gets” and wants. I recall a business magazine article claiming intuition — or “going with their gut” — was the common denominator of the 10 most successful men in the United States.


So what exactly do you do?

When I meet someone for counseling or even just look at a photo of them, a visual image comes to my mind’s eye. It’s not like I go into a trance state or anything, or hear voices, like in the movie “Ghost,” though I loved Whoopi Goldberg’s Oda Mae Brown. This image just pops up when I concentrate on the person or their photo, and then I invoke some impressions. The client doesn’t have to tell me any of their background.

When did you first recognize this talent?

I wouldn’t call it a talent — perhaps an ability that has grown stronger over many years. ... In my teens — you’re going to think I’m a nut case — I would sit in my bathroom a nose length away from the mirror for hours on end, looking for something inside me, because I was sure there was something there, other than body parts. I guess I thought if I looked long and hard enough, I would find my soul.

Did you?

Not exactly. But when I was 19, I realized I saw things other people didn’t see. But I didn’t know what to do with it. Because I am very practical and knew that it would be very hard to make a living as an intuitive — to say the least — I went into pharmaceutical sales for several years. It fit in with my lifelong interest in health and healing. Then somewhere in my mid 20s I was in an auto accident; the car rolled over and I bumped my head. That left me with a headache for five days. A few weeks later was when I really started to see things in a clearer light. At first it was frustrating because I saw all these images — like I’d see you on a hilltop surrounded by white flowers. It took me about five years to be able to interpret them, and longer to accurately predict which way things would go. That was when I thought this was my true calling.


So when you look into your own crystal ball, so to speak, what do you see?

I do not sit and focus on what is in my future; sometimes I just instinctively know when something is coming at me. I would rather walk the path of life and weather the seas as I walk toward them, without too much advance notice. I try to be in the moment with my own life.


‘Wild’ author Cheryl Strayed says you need to be ‘be brave enough to break your own heart’

Author Jane Smiley talks about the corporatization of food and how she always knows what’s for dinner


How Shiva Rea found yoga -- and how it changed her life