Do you feel a heightened sensitivity to your surroundings?

What is Heightened Sensitivity?

Sensitivity is a trait found in around 20% of humans – men and women. There are as many sensitive men as women, but usually men hide this trait more and have more difficulty accepting it. It is important to understand that sensitivity used in this sense does not mean the same as being caring or feeling responsible for others or being hypersensitive to criticism.

People with highly sensitive symptoms need to be aware of four important factors

  • Over arousal
  • Depth in processing information
  • Emotional intensity
  • Sensory sensitivity

Sensitivity can be a result of processing information one is exposed to carefully, before acting on it. This deep processing results in awareness of the subtleties of the situations, and can bring about overstimulation as an effect.

How do we experience Heightened Sensitivity?

Following is a list of distinguishing characteristics which result in deep processing, you may identify with a number of the following:

  • Preferring to analyse both sides of a situation before getting involved in it: ‘I like to check things out first – see what I am getting into’
  • Awareness of small changes: ‘That picture (carpet, hair style) is new, isn’t it?
  • Awareness of thoughts and emotions of others: ‘I am really affected by other people’s moods’
  • Having unusual concern about social justice, environment, animal rights and expressing an unusual degree of compassion from childhood: ‘I was trying to get others understand about global warming for years’
  • Being easily overstimulated and therefore easily over aroused: ‘I just can’t take tests’.
  • Noticing unusual distress due to change: ‘I had no idea moving would be so upsetting’
  • Complaining about over stimulating or unaesthetic environment: ‘I can’t stand fluorescent lights’
  • Finding that nature has an unusually healing effect, or being more moved by its beauty. Fond of animals, plants or being near or in water.

Source: Elaine N. Aron, ‘Psychotherapy and the highly sensitive person, Improving outcomes for that minority of people who are the majority of clients’, Routledge, 2010. 

The author has published several books and articles on the highly sensitive person, and her work is the theoretic base for my work with highly sensitive clients.

What issues do Heightened Sensitivity clients commonly have?

  • Stress: experiencing the everyday life as a highly sensitive person can cause a lot of pressure and can become overwhelming.
  • Depression: the result of missing the joy of the everyday life, life becomes a struggle
  • Self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence issues: as general relation to self, becomes challenging
  • Work problems or challenging social situations, as well as family issues
  • Addiction issues

How I can help?

In my work, I help highly sensitive clients to develop a good understanding of the four earlier mentioned factors and their relation to specific situations they are experiencing. 

Furthermore we find the best tools and coping strategies for these and similar situations. 

Because of the sensitivity towards others’ reactions, these clients often have challenges regarding self-confidence, and self-respect. Therefore working with our relationship to the self and self-empowerment is another important part of the therapeutic work. 

During our work together, we redefine high sensitivity together, so it is not seen as a problem, but rather as a situation or trait which has both positive and challenging sides. 

The therapeutic tools will help the clients to manage their emotions, develop satisfactory relationships and to create a manageable and fulfilling work environment.

Could you be an Empath?

Being an empath means that you experience the highest level of sensitivity.

Are you a highly sensitive person, who can feel someone else’s physical pain in your own body? Then you might be a Physical Empath.

Can you feel someone else’s emotions just as your own feelings? Then you might be an Emotional Empath.

Do you have a highly developed intuition? Can you feel the energy of people and places? Then you might be an Intuitive Empath

Read more about being an Empath