Have you been told again and again that you are too sensitive, too emotional, too intense, leaving you feeling like there is something wrong with you?
Do you feel overwhelmed by loud noises, crowds of people, bright lights and other stimuli? Maybe you long for the quiet of a darkened room during busy times, seeking relief from the intensity. When you were growing up, did your parents and other adults see you as sensitive and maybe shy or quiet?
You may have difficulty with managing your keen awareness of the moods and feelings of others. Or you might be challenged with perfectionism, demanding even more of yourself than you ask of others.
If you relate to any of this, you likely have a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) personality type. Living in a culture that does not embrace the trait can be challenging. You might have been encouraged by others to be less sensitive (easier said than done, right?). Or anxiety comes up as you push yourself to be more like those who do not have an HSP personality.
You may have spent years trying to show up in the world as someone who is not highly sensitive, feeling misunderstood or invisible. And now you may feel burned out and exhausted. Perhaps you have wondered if you will ever feel like you belong and your sensitivity will ever stop getting in your way of living a full life. Or maybe you dream of a world that is slower and quieter than western culture seems to allow.
According to Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person:
About 20-25% of the population is highly sensitive, so you are certainly not alone!
In fact, the HSP personality is found not only among human beings, but also across other species, from fruit flies to dogs and cats to primates. In many instances, HSPs serve as advisors to those who do not have the highly sensitive trait, because insightful leaders value their awareness of subtleties and deep feeling and thinking nature. HSPs notice details that non-HSPs do not. For example, they may walk into a room and simply know how others are feeling or what can be done to make them more comfortable.
Some cultures value the trait, respecting those who are empathic, intuitive and deep thinkers. Because they feel so deeply, Highly Sensitive Persons tend to be compassionate, caring and insightful. They are often fighters for justice. They are typically conscientious and pay attention to details. HSPs notice subtleties of fragrances, colors, sounds and have a beautifully rich and deep inner life.
At the same time, we live in a fast-paced, highly-stimulating culture that makes it difficult to be a Highly Sensitive Person.
As challenging as it may feel to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), the good news is that you can come to understand the trait and appreciate it as a gift
HSP therapy can help you learn to honor and take care of yourself so that your uniqueness can shine through. High sensitivity is a little like a Stradivarius violin – finely tuned, with exquisite sound, and requiring gentle care and protection. And Stradivarius violins are valued at millions of dollars!
I know that care and protection can be really difficult when you haven’t learned how to do that! It’s sort of like expecting a child to be able to tie her shoes without ever showing her how it’s done.
Perhaps you have known of your highly sensitive person trait for some time and still struggle, or maybe you recently read something about highly sensitive persons and felt that ah-ha moment – yes, that is me. Either way, I’m glad you are here and acknowledge the courage it takes to even begin to look for a HSP counselor who feels like a good fit.
I know it can be difficult to begin to open up about the impact of your highly sensitive person trait, especially after being expected to simply be something different for so long. That’s why my approach to therapy is gentle, following your pace.
With me, HSP therapy begins by developing a full understanding of the trait and how it shows up for you. Then we can look in more depth at the aspects of your life that you are most concerned about. We can explore how your relationships have been impacted or find ways to stop holding yourself back, which you do to avoid situations that overwhelm you. Maybe you want to find employment that feels right or learn how to function well at the job you already have.
Then, we’ll begin to unpack tools and skills, self care exercises and more to help you begin to feel better quickly. Once you’ve gained an understanding of your sensitivity and have tools to take care of yourself in most situations, we can dive deeper to uncover the gifts of your trait – in all parts of your life, from relationships, to work, to creative expression, and more – allowing you to find the deep fulfillment and sense of purpose that leaves you flourishing.
Often, people who are highly sensitive are also carrying trauma with them, so therapy may utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), hypnotherapy, somatic mindfulness techniques, or creative therapies to support the healing process. All of these approaches can help you uncover the stuck spots and begin to appreciate all parts of yourself, helping you feel free to be fully you.
I have been privileged to work with many HSPs over the years. Initially, they often take a deep breath, recognizing that they are finally being seen and have their traits valued. Then, as they begin to embrace their highly sensitive trait, they become able to express themselves confidently and fully, build relationships that support them, and do whatever they choose. This can be you, too!
You believe HSP Therapy can help, but you still have questions…
I think I’ve tried everything, but nothing has ever really helped. Will this be any different?
Your frustration makes good sense and your willingness to keep trying is courageous. Many of my clients initially want to “fix” what they believe is wrong with them until they realize that they are not broken. They simply need tools to fully be who they are, so they can understand their highly sensitive trait as the gift that it can be.
Sometimes, this journey can be challenging and seem long. As you gain new tools and understanding with every step you take, you can find your moment to begin to fully shine.
Together, we can work on the challenges that get in your way, building on the foundation you’ve already constructed. I have had many clients over the years who have felt frustrated and invisible, too. By truly connecting with an HSP therapist and building an extended support system, you too can design and create a wonderful, fulfilling life.
I am already feeling so overwhelmed and drained. How will I ever be able to find time and energy for HSP therapy, too?
This concern is so understandable. Though you likely want to eliminate activities from your life, you are worth this investment in yourself. You deserve to have a fulfilling, meaningful life that you choose. Setting aside time now for HSP counseling can help you begin to fill the rest of your life with the experiences and relationships you dream of. Like many of my clients, I believe that by using the tools you’ll learn and the new focus on what’s important to you through therapy, you’ll begin to have more free time in your life, feeling less overwhelmed and drained.
How do I know if you are the therapist for me?
This is a great question! Finding an HSP therapist who feels like a good match is really important. You may even have tried therapy before, but didn’t feel like you gained as much from it as you could have or that your therapist just wasn’t quite a fit for you. You can learn some about a therapist by reading their website, but choosing a therapist is an important decision.
Because you will share deep, personal information in your sessions, a therapist you feel comfortable with is key to successfully meeting your goals. So I encourage you to utilize a complimentary 15-minute telephone consultation to ask me questions and explore whether I feel like the right fit for you.
You can find relief and learn to appreciate your high sensitivity!
If you are ready, I invite you to schedule your 15-minute phone consultation at 561-533-0948. During the consultation, we will explore your needs and goals and how I might help. And if you don’t feel a connection with me during our first session, that’s okay. I can offer suggestions for another colleague who may be a better fit for you. My priority is that you get what you need from your HSP therapy experience.