A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) perceives the world differently than most. Their heightened awareness and deeper processing allow them to perceive subtle environmental and emotional cues, so they take in more and notice things others miss.HSPs are highly empathetic and emotionally responsive, have a strong intuition, and are deeply moved by art and nature.
While everyone feels sensitive at times, and everyone reacts to stimuli to some degree, HSPs experience everything more intensely. This includes external stimuli, like environmental surroundings and sensory input, as well as internal stimuli, such as emotions, thoughts, and sensations. The HSP trait, also known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity or Environmental Sensitivity, is found in 15-20% of the population.
In some ways, this heightened sensitivity can be a gift. HSPs’ enhanced awareness and strong intuition are beneficial for survival, their deep empathy encourages strong relationships, and their rich inner worlds are havens of creativity and beauty.
In other ways, sensitivity can feel like a burden. The flipside of sensitivity is overstimulation. Processing every little detail, all the time, is exhausting. HSPs often feel overwhelmed, stressed, and emotionally overloaded. Too often, HSPs are told they’re “too much” and dismissed as “too sensitive.” Because so few people understand and support them in the ways they need, many HSPs spend their entire lives feeling broken and misunderstood.
Therapy can help change the internal narrative of brokenness to one of wholeness and empowerment. We’ll start by learning about sensitivity and how it affects you and your life. Next, we’ll develop strategies to help you manage your sensitivity and the overstimulation that comes with it. Then, we’ll work on unhooking from the internalized judgment and shame that can come from being an HSP in a not-sensitive world.
If you’re wondering if you’re highly sensitive, you can complete a self-test here: https://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/