The highly sensitive person
You may be familiar with the terms Sensory Processing
Sensitivity (SPS) or Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Those
with the SPS trait have a more sensitive nervous system
which allows them to pick up on subtleties in their
environment and find deeper meaning in the information
they process. As a result, HSPs may become overwhelmed
and have an intense response or reactivity (internal and/or
Research on SPS over the last 20 years has revealed some
remarkable benefits to those who inherited the trait (such
as heightened intuition,imagination and creativity)and also
correlations between the trait and certain mental health
Most commonly the challenges HSPs may be at higher risk
for include anxiety, depression, and some personality
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE THE SPS TRAIT?
Because SPS is a trait (not a condition or disorder),there is no clinical diagnosis for it. Rather, it is identified in a self-assessment - a questionnaire that includes roughly 30 of the most commonly known characteristics of the trait.
One such self-assessment can be found here:
How does counselling help with SPS?
If you identify with being an HSP, you probably know all too
well the daily struggles of being overstimulated in a high
sensory environment, feeling emotionally overwhelmed,
being affected by the emotions of others, and generally
feeling like you don't have control over your feelings or life.
From a social-emotional viewpoint,these factors can affect
self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, boundaries, and
identity; which, depending on how long and how intensive
the experiences - and how well they were managed - may
result in anxiety, depression, or a personality disorder. Or
some may simply find that life is more of a struggle than it
Of course, while the SPS trait is separate from any mental
health condition or disorder, it still contributes to many
facets of the quality of one's mental health. If you think of
two people standing on opposing mountaintops staring
down at the same valley,they will see very different things.
So, too, your world (your childhood, beliefs, behaviors and
relationships) will look quite different when being viewed
from the perspective of the HSP mountaintop; and that
perspective needs to be taken into consideration to
determine the best approach/methods of counseling.
In addition to helping you reframe your experiences from
the HSP perspective, you will acquire tools in counseling to
help you shift from a reactive state(overwhelmed,negative
feelings and responses) to a more proactive state (being
better prepared to handle what comes your way and taking
control over key areas of your life).