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Therapy for the Highly Sensitive Person


  • Are you easily overwhelmed by external stimuli like bright lights, coarse fabrics, or noises?


  • Do you feel rattled when you have a lot to do and little time to do it?


  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies or TV?

  • Do you feel the need to withdraw during busy days and take down time?

  • Do you make it a priority to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?

  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate smells, tastes, sounds, or art?

  • Do you have a complex and rich inner life?

  • When you were a child did people describe you as sensitive or shy?


If so, you may have highly sensitive personality trait, or sensory processing sensitivity (the terms are interchangeable).


Highly Sensitive People (or those with sensory processing sensitivity) have a personality trait found in 20% of the population, not a mental health diagnosis. Possessing this unique trait does come with challenges. After all, 80% of the population isn’t highly sensitive, and the majority usually rules.


If you’re highly sensitive, it may help you to know that your trait is normal. It’s found it such a large portion of the population that it can’t be a ‘disorder’. Yet, not enough people possess it that it’s fully understood by the majority – yet.


Your trait is innate, which means that it’s born in. This trait is found in more than 100 species, and biologists believe that it reflects a survival strategy. Being observant before acting and being sensitive to subtleties may help keep a species alive and thriving. The brains of those with HS trait work differently than other brains without the trait.


You’re more aware of subtleties than others because your brain processes information and reflections on it more deeply than others.


You may be more easily overwhelmed than others. Think about it – if you notice more, you are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are chaotic, intense, or new.


HS trait isn’t new, but it has been long misunderstood. It can be seen as “shyness”, but being shy is a learned behavior and related fear, not a trait that is innate. Many HSPs are extroverts (around 30% of us), although some may label HSP behavior and experiences as “introversion”. Some HSPs may be shy, but it isn’t part of the trait itself. To dispel another myth - the trait is found equally across genders too. 


If you’re an HSP, you aren’t alone! Uncovering your trait and learning to value it and navigate its intricacies may take some adjusting and self-work. Finding a therapist to act as a guide and support as you do so can be very helpful.

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