Highly Sensitive Person

Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait characterized by a high level of sensitivity to external stimuli. A person with a particularly high measure of SPS is considered to be a highly sensitive person.  A highly sensitive person experiences the world differently than others. Due to a biological difference that they’re born with, highly sensitive people have a greater depth of cognitive processing and high emotional reactivity. This can have both positive and negative implications. Highly sensitive people tend to be more empathetic, creative and insightful, but are also more easily overwhelmed and stress prone. They may “feel too deeply” or “feel too much.” If you think you may be a highly sensitive person and are having trouble managing on your own, a qualified mental health professional can help to teach you emotional and sensory immunity strategies. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s highly sensitive person experts today.

Meet the specialists

 

I believe, when cultivated with care and understanding, being an HSP is a real life superpower. I support and educate my clients about what it means to be a sensitive individual and help them cultivate a deeper understanding of themselves, as well as develop tools for nurturing a meaningful and fulfilling life.

— Sarah-Elizabeth McCann, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Do you sometimes feel like you feel emotions and sensations more intensely than others? Maybe you perceive the emotions of others and struggle to know how to protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed? Do you feel misunderstood? Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) is a true gift and who the world needs more of, yet we live in a world that caters to low sensitivity. I have experience helping HSPs learn how to protect their energy and maximize their intuition, living a more authentic life.

— Melanie Taylor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Philadelphia, PA
 

Those who describe experiencing the world as a "highly sensitive person" or "empath" generally have a much harder time fitting into the prescribed cultural and social norms. These folks typically have intense emotions, mood swings, sleeping difficulties, and very high anxiety. Learning what types of environments and people are right for them and learning how to communicate their needs is critical to their overall well-being and fullness of living. Discernment skills are also important for the HSP/empath, as they often feel the feelings of others, not knowing what feelings are their own or someone else's. When a highly sensitive person is traumatized, or has been traumatized in childhood (and the memories have gone underground), the results can be very confusing for both the HSP and their caregivers/loved ones. They may hear voices, see visions, and report paranormal activity. I can help navigate this confusing journey and have extensive experience doing so.

— Lisa Wheeler, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX
 

Have you been told you are "too"--too sensitive, too picky, too thin-skinned, think too much, worry too much? Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) have AMAZING gifts to offer the world! I have such a passion for Sensitives, that I created a podcast called Unapologetically Sensitive, where we talk about the strengths you have BECAUSE of your sensitivity. It's not uncommon for HSPs to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, self-critical and not good enough. Let's work together and find your superpowers!

— Patricia Young, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, CA

Since discovering this trait I have been able to share with many others what it means to be wired this way and how it impacts the way we exist in the world. Arming yourself with this information to understand yourself in a different way can be life changing! I am currently working on getting certified through Dr. Elaine Aron.

— Hollie Bearden, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Kihei, HI
 

If you've always been told "you're too sensitive," I can definitely relate. Sometimes you just want to scream at the world, "YOU'RE NOT SENSITIVE ENOUGH!" I promise, there is a way to strike a balance. I can help you identify, understand, and communicate your emotions in a healthy way. There are tools I can teach you to manage moments in life when you feel like you're about to fall apart or when it feels like no one else understands. Being sensitive doesn't have to be a burden, it can be a gift.

— Dr. Alice Rizzi, Clinical Psychologist in New York, NY

I help clients with sensitive temperaments cope with living in a less-than-sensitive world. Signs that your or child might be a highly sensitive person include: -Easily overwhelmed by busy or noisy environments -Significantly bothered by physical discomforts such as scratchy clothing or temperature -Slow to warm up to new people and situations -Tendency to be a perfectionist -Difficulty making decisions -Processing emotions and experiences deeply

— Emily Long, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Dallas, TX
 

You feel deeply, so much so that your own emotions can overwhelm you. Living life this way can be difficult. Being so sensitive feels like a liability. All this stimulus leaves you overwhelmed, tired and anxious. Being an HSP can be hard to navigate in a world that doesn’t value or validate this trait. You may have suspected that you’re different. Through therapy you can learn skills to make your HSP abilities an asset, and not a liability.

— Meala Datura, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Mill Creek, WA

Are you an empath? Empaths feel "everything"! Many have developed anxiety in social settings due to feeling overwhelmed around others. I specialize in helping empaths develop boundaries. I do this through the process of therapy, and also through the use of energy work tools.

— Sara Rotger, Marriage & Family Therapist in Montrose, CA

My expertise with Highly Sensitive Person (also called sensory processing sensitivity) is based on personal and professional experience. I've completed Dr. Elaine Aron's books and video training. I'm a member of several groups for ongoing consultation and growth in this area.

— Nancy Lee, Licensed Professional Counselor in Aurora, CO
 

That's me! In case you're not sure if you are an HSP, here are some signs: very conscientious, quickly overwhelmed, easily startled, avoid violent TV/movies, deeply moved by art/music, rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, sensitive to smells, loud noise, course fabric, or caffeine, try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things, are a deep thinker or process stuff on a deeper level, notice subtleties in your environment, easily affected by other people's moods?

— Patti Sabla, Therapist in Orange City, FL
 

Oooh, guess what? I ALSO wrote about this topic on my blog! In short, HSP qualities can include: Being easily overwhelmed by stimuli Being affected by other people’s moods Being easily startled Needing to withdraw during busy times to a private, quiet place Getting nervous or shaky if someone is observing you or competing with you Check out my blog for a longer explanation AND a link to a quiz!

— Wendy Curtis, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

I specialize in helping HSPs better understand, value and thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person. 20% of people have the innate trait of high sensitivity.

— Louisa Lombard, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Los Angeles, CA

Boundary definition is vital in improving our own health and creating balance in relationships. I assist people in attuning to your own needs and recognizing when you are holding emotions and stresses that are not actually your own. I can safely hold space for people who are used to being the one everyone else goes to with problems but feel you have no one to turn to for support. I understand how it can be exhausting work to stay strong all the time and offer ways to shift from that.

— Shana Wright Wood, Associate Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
 

I provide individual therapy and couples counseling to introverts and highly sensitive people who struggle with managing deep emotions, feeling easily overwhelmed or overstimulated. The flip side of the HSP trait may be a strong sense of justice or empathy or noticing details that others often miss. There are tools that we can learn to help cope with the overwhelming feelings and sensitivities while honoring the strengths that go along with the HSP trait.

— Rachelle Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Spokane Valley, WA
 

I work to support the highly sensitive person in finding calmness, clarity, and self-acceptance by utilizing their natural ingenuity and intuition. I promote balance and interconnectedness between spirit, mind, and body to support whole person wellness.

— Kristen Henshaw, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

Emotional sensitivity can seem like a curse to those of us who feel deeply. It often leads to experiencing intense emotions and difficulty coming back to neutral. Through my training and experiences, I have learned that emotional sensitivity is a strength. Highly sensitive people feel intensely; therefore, they are passionate about what is meaningful to them and inspire others to care deeply too. Acceptance of feelings as valid and learning to respond differently is the goal.

— Paola Granados-Radlick, Clinical Psychologist in Miami, FL
 

I think highly sensitive people are like superhero's with an extra skill not everyone has! However, being a highly sensitive person can be exhausting at times. When you feel everything in the world stronger, it can be overstimulating. Some things we work on in therapy are learning how to balance your emotions, know how to use your strengths in being a highly sensitive person, and find a partner and friends who are a good fit for you and your needs.

— Katrina Zaleski, Psychologist in TEMECULA, CA
 

Do you often notice things that others miss? Or feel things deeply and have strong emotions? Maybe you get caught up in worrisome thoughts or feel overwhelmed easily by stress or social situations and need alone time to decompress? If so, you might be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Find out on my website by downloading the free guide: Sensitive & Strong - A Survival Guide for Highly Sensitive People.

— Becky Howie, Licensed Professional Counselor in Boulder, CO

That's me! In case you're not sure if you are an HSP, here are some signs: very conscientious, quickly overwhelmed, easily startled, avoid violent TV/movies, deeply moved by art/music, rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, sensitive to smells, loud noise, course fabric, or caffeine, try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things, are a deep thinker or process stuff on a deeper level, notice subtleties in your environment,

— Patti Sabla, Therapist in Orange City, FL
 

That's me! In case you're not sure if you are an HSP, here are signs: very conscientious, quickly overwhelmed, easily startled, avoid violent TV/movies, deeply moved by art/music, rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, sensitive to smells, loud noise, course fabric, or caffeine, try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things, are a deep thinker or process stuff on a deeper level, notice subtleties in your environment, easily affected by other people's moods?

— Patti Sabla, Therapist in Orange City, FL

Highly Sensitive People make up about 15-20% of the general population and possess a unique sensory processing trait that allows them to pick up more on subtleties in the environment. As such, they may become overwhelmed very easily, absorb other people’s emotions, or have difficulty navigating mainstream culture’s expectations. It’s important to work with a therapist who is knowledgeable about this trait and can provide a strengths-based approach as opposed to pathologizing one’s inherent sensitivity. I have undergone specific training to be listed on the hsperson.com website as an HSP-Knowledgable Therapist.

— Arianna Smith, Licensed Professional Counselor in Littleton, CO