Psychologist and researcher, Elaine Aron, PhD dubbed the “Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP) trait, and found that 20% of the population has it. They tend to experience more distress at stimuli such as loud noises, strong scents, hunger, pain, and temperature variations. They also react more strongly to emotionally charged events, whether positive or negative, and find themselves exhausted by life changes and busy activities and environments. This has led HSPs to be unfairly labeled as “shy,” “difficult,” “high maintenance,” or “too sensitive,” leading them to believe they are defective. But there are wonderful benefits of being an HSP -- they tend to have deep inner lives and a heightened awareness to aesthetic beauty and others often find them wise, empathic, and intuitive. The key to living life fully as an HSP is accepting and managing the inherent challenges while appreciating and maximizing the unique strengths that sensitivity affords the HSP.
As an HSP myself, I understand well the complexities of being highly sensitive in an over-stimulating world. Family and intimate relationships with non-HSPs can be particularly challenging. Whether you have known you have this trait or are just discovering it now, having an HSP-informed therapist can make a big difference in your psychotherapy experience. I can help with:
- Increasing acceptance of your highly sensitive self, including the limitations and challenges caused by your sensitivity.
- Growing in appreciation of how this trait grants you special skills for dealing with others – it’s your super power!
- Learning to cope with over-stimulating environments, schedules, and events.
- Finding a balance between engaging the world and taking time to process and recover.
- Maximizing and managing for your sensitivity in work and home environments.
- Loving and accepting a family member who is highly sensitive.
- Parenting and understanding a child who is highly sensitive, especially if you are not.
To learn more about the HSP trait, see Dr. Aron’s website at http://hsperson.com/.
For a little fun and a great metaphor for life as an HSP, check out this clip from a classic episode of I Love Lucy! Click HERE.
And to get some support around being an HSP, consider joining my therapy group for HSPs. Check it out: HSP Group.