Flourishing as a Highly Sensitive Person
According to psychologist and researcher, Elaine Aron, PhD, 20% of the population has what she dubbed the “Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP) trait. Such individuals 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 -- others often find them wise, empathic, and intuitive. They also tend to have deep inner lives and a heightened awareness to aesthetic beauty. 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. This group is for both HSP’s and those who have an HSP in their lives. The first meeting will cover the basic characteristics of the HSP trait while subsequent meetings will provide a forum for discussion on how best to manage the difficulties of navigating an often over-stimulating world. Participants will come away with new confidence that their experiences are normal and new tools to manage and appreciate the sensitivity better. It may be particularly helpful for parents of HSP children, given the extra challenges these children present.
The following are some issues the group discussions will address:
- Coping with overstimulation in the moment and managing your schedule and environments to avoid chronic over-arousal.
- Dealing with sticky relational issues that come up as a result of your sensitivity, including loved ones who don’t honor your sensitivity.
- Crafting jobs and careers around your special needs and gifts.
- Setting and executing good boundaries to protect yourself.
- Managing health issues and healthcare as they relate to being highly sensitive.
- Healing from hurts that stem from ways your sensitivity wasn’t handled well in childhood.
- Reframing your identity positively as a sensitive person.
Groups can be educational or therapeutic, or both. I’m proposing this one in particular would be both. We would be discussing the HSP trait and coping skills and resources for it, all while also attending to the relational dynamics right in the room. In other words, we may run into points where your sensitivity gets “kicked up” and that would be an opportunity to experience insight, healing, and new ways of being with your sensitivity. This will take some trust and courage, but I will be there to facilitate emotional safety in the group and the fruit could be some amazing growth for all participants.
Cost: 8 1.5 hour sessions, $380 for the series