Are You A Highly Sensitive Person Struggling To Make Sense Of An Often Insensitive World?
Do you often feel frustrated and overwhelmed with life and can’t figure out why? Do you sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with you, especially on days when it feels like everything is harder for you than it is for others? Do you long for connection, however still struggle with relationships, particularly if it’s hard for you to regulate emotions, communicate your experience and/or are easily overstimulated? Maybe you have never really felt content at work and, although you have brilliant ideas and can easily see the broad and long-term picture, find it challenging to get your voice heard. Perhaps you deal with physical sensitivities, and loud noises, certain smells, too much movement, direct eye contact, the feeling of some certain fabrics on your skin and/or spatial constructs make you feel uncomfortable.
Do you struggle with shame, self-esteem issues, anxiety or overarousal? Are creating and maintaining healthy boundaries a consistent problem? Maybe you have a hard time staying committed to self-care. Or perhaps you feel consumed by a grief that you don’t understand. Are you seeking information, compassionate guidance and practical skills that can help you learn to better navigate what is often a complicated and confusing world? Do you want to increase self-awareness, strengthen relationships and feel understood, appreciated, valued and loved?
If you know that you are or think that you might be a highly sensitive person (HSP) and struggle to understand, integrate and navigate your sensitivities, you are not alone.
Sometimes you might even feel like you’re just odd or weird, but there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, there are so many strengths that come with being sensitive, such as heightened intuition, empathy and a high level of conscientiousness. However, like many other highly sensitive people, you might still feel isolated and struggle to connect and get your voice heard. While often highly intelligent, many HSPs are slow to hit cultural benchmarks because of all of the processing we are naturally inclined to engage in. And, in a society that is so layered and fast, self-esteem and confidence are inevitably impacted. HSPs become hesitant to express their authentic self, having adopted the idea that they are unusual. But, being HSP is far from unusual.
What many people don’t understand is that HSP is a trait, no different than having blue eyes or brown hair or being an introvert or an extrovert. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that generally doesn’t understand and support sensitivity differences. Furthermore, no one really talks about it. And, many people don’t even know what HSP is even though this trait is shared by upwards of 20 percent of the population.
Because of a lack of general contemporary awareness, many HSPs get misdiagnosed with ADHD, anxiety or learning disorders. Sometimes it is even confused with autism (although autism is on the complete other side of the spectrum) or misinterpret overarousal for anxiety. The good news, however, is that over the last couple of decades there has been a notable increase in studies on highly sensitive people, and as research is being done all over the world, we are learning more and more about this trait. This is not to say that other diagnosis can't coexist with the trait but understanding of HSP certainly broadens our perspectives.
With awareness and information comes opportunity. As a highly sensitive person myself and a HSP therapist with almost two decades of experience studying the trait, I know both personally and professionally that you can create a different, empowered narrative for yourself. It is possible to cultivate and celebrate your many strengths and develop the resources, skills and strengths to navigate your life, relationships and the world with increased understanding and ease.
HSP Counseling Can Help You Increase Awareness, Integrate Sensitives And Aliven Your Life
As someone who is a HSP and has been specializing in this work since 2002, I have extensive knowledge about the mental, emotional, biological and physiological facets of being a highly sensitive person. From the ground up, I discovered a multifaceted, integrative approach to helping other HSPs understand their personal experience and thrive in the world. Often, just understanding what it means to be a highly sensitive person and having someone validate your experience can bring about significant relief. And yet, getting support from a therapist with a depth of knowledge and understanding that comes only with years of experience is a game-changer. There is nothing unusual about or wrong with you. You simply have a very sensitive and highly perceptive experience with the world.
We are all unique individuals with varying needs and goals, which is why we’ll work together to uncover your specific challenges, strengths and therapy goals. Although I draw from proven and effective practical approaches and healing modalities—including mindfulness, psychotherapy and Hakomi, which focuses on body-centered awareness and increasing emotional intelligence—our work together will center around what you personally need. I track the pace that you set as we explore issues related to anxiety, shame, relationships, boundaries, past trauma, navigating social settings, attachment issues, emotional regulation and more. Although I hold a broad picture of your history and story, we’ll generally work in the present, exploring what is coming up for you in the moment as you learn how to effectively resource yourself and integrate your sensitivities into your relationships.
Throughout the HSP counseling process, I will compassionately honor what feels authentic and important to you, as well as offer you practical skills that you can immediately draw from and apply in your life. HSP is a very somatic experience, which is why in addition to drawing from mindfulness and other proven healing modalities, we’ll engage in body-centered work, which helps to regulate the nervous system and aids you in navigating your physical experience.
All of the work that I do is holistic and designed to support your mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual health. Unlike many therapists, I bring spirituality—and will honor whatever that means for you—into the work we do together. A lot of healing and growth can occur through having a connection to something that is bigger than ourselves, whether that be God, Mother Nature, the Universe or the Divine. Also, as a HSP myself, I am sensitive to the office environment I create, which is stable and designed to provide feelings of comfort and safety and help you thrive.
Highly sensitive person counseling is a powerful resource that can help you completely reframe your life. As your awareness increases, so can your confidence. With better boundaries and improved emotional regulation and communication skills, your relationships can begin to thrive. Anxiety and depression symptoms decrease and self-esteem and your sense of empowerment begin to soar. I’ve seen time and again that with validation, guidance, information and a revelation, change really can and does happen. You can truly go from feeling confused and uncertain to confident, clear and centered in all aspects of your life.
You still might wonder if working with a HSP therapist is right for you…
I can’t help but feel ashamed for being so sensitive and worry that HSP counseling will make me feel labeled and weak.
I understand and appreciate your concern; however, it’s important to understand that HSP is a trait, not a diagnosis, and that there is nothing to feel ashamed about. From a biological perspective, being born a highly sensitive person is no different than having been born with blue eyes or as an introvert. And, although some aspects of our culture challenge sensitivities, being HSP truly is not a negative thing. Rather, high sensitivity is a beautiful quality that comes with many gifts. There is also power in knowing and better understanding yourself and your experience in the world. There’s a freedom in appreciating and embracing this part of you, which we can work on together. No one needs to know that you’re working with a HSP therapist unless—or until—you choose to share that information.
I’ve tried therapy in the past and it didn’t help much. How would working with you be different?
Given my personal experience with being highly sensitive and the decades that I have spent studying HSP as well as mindfulness, psychotherapy and body-centered therapies, I have the capacity to see and work with a lot of different things that come up with HSP. While I work with core modalities and have learned, both personally and professionally, what approaches are particularly effective for highly sensitive people, I also honor that you are a unique individual with unique, specific and important needs. Together we’ll identify what you need and want to heal, strengthen and develop, and I’ll create an individualized HSP therapy plan that feels authentic and effective for you.
I’m not sure if what I’m dealing with is HSP or if it’s anxiety or something else.
Whether you are a highly sensitive person, experiencing anxiety or both, therapy can help. Together we can explore what is coming up for you and I can determine if it’s a high sensitivity, anxiety or something else. Although I specialize in HSP, I also have years of training and experience helping people work through issues surrounding trauma, attachment and anxiety of all kinds. All of my work is holistic, multifaceted, integrative and customized to help you tap into mind, body and spirit and improve all aspects of your life.
Are You Ready To Feel More Connected, Aware And Alive?
If you’re in Boulder or Denver, CO and are ready to experience increased awareness and and personal empowerment, I can help. In HSP therapy, the relationship we create is central to our work together, which is why I offer a complimentary consultation either by phone or in person to ensure that we’re a good fit. I invite you to contact me today at 303-579-3166 to schedule our initial meeting to discuss your needs, goals and how I can best help you develop the insight and skills to navigate your life with confidence, clarity and ease.