Everybody is psychic or empathic to some degree. We all possess intelligent consciousness but access to spiritual abilities varies from person to person. Broadly speaking, a psychic person receives knowledge or information based communication and an empath, emotional communication. All this is received by the spirit complex and then accessed by the mind. You can be both psychic and empathic to a great degree, more one than the other, or very little of both. Both psychics and empaths often have trouble discerning the thoughts or emotions of others, from ideas and feelings of their own.
Psychics receive information from both people, and spirits within the spirit realm. Those who communicate with discarnate spirits are usually called 'psychic mediums'. The word 'medium' represents a medium of communication, the psychic is like a telephone or email - the vessel for transference of meaning.
Psychics, that's each one of us to a varying degree, pick up knowledge and information. Examples include knowing a parcel has arrived just before the delivery driver pulls-up, knowing what another person is thinking, bringing-up a topic of a conversation that someone nearby is already thinking about, knowing a loved one is in trouble and so on. Facts however small, are received and can be acted upon.
Clairvoyance is the ability to 'see' with the mind's eye. 'Clair' in French means 'clear' and 'voyance' means 'vision'. This psychic ability allows the individual to literally see people, things and events within the mind's eye. A vision of a family member might appear clairvoyantly, prompting the psychic to call them and find out that there was indeed important news to be learned.
Clairaudience is the ability to hear voices or sounds within the mind, in this case 'audience' means 'hearing'. This form of psychic ability allows the psychic to gain knowledge from entities communicating through the use of language. Sometimes only a name is picked up, enough to initiate seeking behaviours to discover something about the person named. Clairaudience and clairvoyance usually occur in very short sound bursts or singular images due to the large amount of energy required for a spirit to communicate in such ways.
Commonly the untrained psychic has trouble discerning psychically received information from their own thoughts and ideas. For example, a child might ask her mother, 'when are we going to see grandma next?' - just as her mother was thinking the very same thing. The child perceives the thought as her own, but actually the notion was transferred from her mother.
Psychic skills can turn negative when the mind is intruded upon. This can occur when a spirit, usually discarnate (not in human form), purposefully initiates unwanted communication. A trained psychic knows how to 'close' their mind to spirits attempting to communicate unwanted messages when it's time for rest.
Here's a good book on Psychic Development For Beginners.
Empaths feel what others are feeling. Empathy means to 'put yourself in another person's shoes', to feel what others are feeling. Empaths feel other people's emotions through energy transference. Emotions are energy, like light is energy, and they carry a positive or negative vibration. Love being highly positive, and hatred being intensely negative. These energies are picked up by the empath and usually experienced as if they were their own emotions.
This often presents a problem for the highly developed empath, especially if the individual has no idea they are empathic. The emotions of others they live, work or socialize with, can be transferred to them subconsciously. The empath then experiences the emotions for themselves – whether they are positive or negative. Imagine a highly attuned empath in a crowd of people – they can become quickly overwhelmed.
As a result, empaths can become withdrawn or reclusive. Being sensitive to others who are experiencing negative energies, can bring their mood down, and even cause depression. It can be isolating knowing that someone feels negative in your presence.
Being empathic, if unwanted, can be a kind of psychic noise. A constant intrusion on the equilibrium of the mind. Conversely, during happy times, being an empath can enhance this earthly experience. Feeling the joy of your child receiving a gift, or the happiness of a lonely person receiving a visit from you, or the intense love of a partner - the empath's skills are life enriching.
So we see, being a naturally developed or well-trained psychic or empath, has both advantages and disadvantages. The psychic gains concepts and thought energies, and the empath, emotional energy. We can all develop these skills – however lifestyles, social norms, preoccupation with material gain, and the unavoidable need to acquire money to survive, tend to prevent this. If everybody possessed these skills, it would give us greater abilities to create a fairer, healthier and more balanced world. Hence, the powers that be, likely prefer it to remain in the realm of the unproven forever.
Here's a great book for Empaths: The Empath Experience: What to Do When You Feel Everything.