Counseling with a Highly Sensitive Person
HSP/SPS Children and Adults
What is the Highly Sensitive Person or Sensory Processing Sensitivity?
According to a leading researcher for HSP, Dr. Elaine Aron, High Sensitivity, or Sensory Processing Sensitivity is an innate temperament which allows people to be more aware of small differences in changes in their environment. It is a way of perceiving and processing information deeply. This allows for caution, consideration, and creativity, although it can also lead people to become over stimulated and react in a variety of ways of being overwhelmed.
Sensitivity is a trait and not a mental health condition. High Sensitivity or Sensory Processing Sensitivity is a characteristic found in both animals and people of all ages. While it is a minority of the population, and about 20% of people may be this way, society is not centered on the needs of highly sensitive people. This can create some challenges that need adapting to or problem solving to overcome. It also presents a lot of unique strengths and talents that can be used in daily life and valued by society.
Counseling Approaches for HSP/SPS
Recognizing HSP/SPS is important so that people do not feel bad for being different. Children can be encouraged in the best way for them to succeed and adults can adjust their environments and social network to function in the best way possible and use their strengths to their advantage. Counseling for highly sensitive adults and children can help clients recognize this trait and respond to the world based on their needs instead of trying to conform to a world that misunderstands them and may have criticized them.
Those who are Highly Sensitive are often able to notice changes in other people's emotions, tones, and other subtle differences. This can be present challenges and benefits. Many times HSPs can be more sensitive to these things in conversations and must be careful how they interpret and react. Many HSPs find they can feel emotions more intensely and respond accordingly. This includes both enjoyable experiences like joy and beauty, as well as unpleasant experiences such as sadness. Counseling with HSP may include discussions on having boundaries with others, using assertive communication when needed, finding the best skills to help them regulate emotions, as well as identify and use their sensitivity strengths as much as possible. Counseling with Highly Sensitive Person and Children will be tailored to accommodate for more sensory comfort, collaboration, and validation. As a HSP myself, I can understand the challenges and needs of my HSP clients.