Empath and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
What are the signs and symptoms of HSP?
Highly Sensitive People are very affected by the environment around them. Your nervous system is on overdrive. This can manifest in many noticeable ways that I will discuss below.
My child seems hyper-sensitive and it’s hard for them to focus on more than one thing at a time, could they be HSP?
HSP can often be confused with other conditions like A.D.D and Autism in kids, and even A.D.H.D. in adults. The reason is, a lot of the personality traits can mirror the same behavior in these other conditions, but there are a few major differences. HSP children generally do well in school and their cognitive abilities may not be impaired at all. HSP kids may appear to be overly sensitive to things like the folds in their clothes, similar to a child with autism, but they have less trouble interacting with other kids and interpreting nonverbal cues. In fact, HSP kids excel at communication and interpersonal skills.
Is HSP Common?
Highly Sensitive People (HSP) make up 20-30% of the population. This means there is a good chance that almost a quarter of the people you know, including you, have highly sensitive personality traits. HSP men are just as common as HSP women. 20% of men and women are born with the HSP trait.
Is HSP a psychological diagnosis or disorder? What is the treatment for HSP?
HSP is NOT a psychological diagnosis or a disorder. It is a term coined by Dr. Elaine Aron, a renowned psychologist who studied highly sensitive people and their sensory sensitivity in depth. She shared how understanding the symptoms of HSP and using positive coping skills can turn those once frustrating and misunderstood behaviors into a child or adult’s biggest strengths.
Is HSP caused by trauma?
HSP is NOT caused by trauma, but HSPs are more impacted by trauma because they experience everything deeply. HSP is actually an evolutionary trait, found in over 100 species. Studies show those with HSP have more “mirror neurons,” and other chemical differences in their brains, that allow them to process more thoroughly. This is not just a term for people who are sensitive, it’s actually science.
What is the difference between Highly Sensitive People and Empaths?
Empaths have many of the traits of HSP, but they take it a step further and actually absorb the energy around them. See more in this section: HSP vs. Empath. Empaths are more attuned to subtle energy, which affects them very deeply. They may feel another’s pain physically themselves, or take on the moods of those around them without even knowing they are doing it. Like HSPs, they are very connected to nature, but may have deeper, more intuitive experiences.
Counseling can be beneficial to process any traumas or anxieties experienced because people who identify as HSP or Empath are more susceptible to dealing with these. The therapy process does not have to be overwhelming with the tools provided in Stacey’s counseling practice.