When Should A Highly Sensitive Person Consider Going To Therapy?

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Self

Therapy for highly sensitive people has many benefits. 

But first off, what is a highly sensitive person (HSP)? 

Someone who is often overly emotional or easily overwhelmed may be a highly sensitive person.

HSP is not a disorder, but rather a personality trait associated with a more sensitive central nervous system that results in increased responsiveness to external stimuli.

RELATED: How To Tell If You’re A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Or An Empath

Individuals categorized as highly sensitive make up about 15-20 percent of the population and have physiological attributes that make them more sensitive to their environment than others. 

Being an HSP can result in overwhelming feelings, overstimulation, and overthinking, most notably in situations with many people, loud noises, or stressful demands.

How does therapy for highly sensitive people help?

There's nothing wrong with being a highly sensitive person. Being an HSP should be something you celebrate rather than "fix."

With the help of your therapist, you will gain insight into the core tenants of your personality, learn to embrace your sensitivity, and develop the tools and strategies needed to live each day authentically and in accordance with your goals and values.

Sensory processing sensitivity is a personality trait that results from an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and is characteristic of HSP.

It leads to deeper cognitive processing of physical, social, and emotional stimuli.

Since HSP results from physiological traits in the central nervous system and sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), it's not something that develops as a result of life experiences.

Instead, the HSP is born more sensitive and attuned to their environments than others.

What is the impact of being a highly sensitive person?

A sensitive nervous system can cause you to perceive any stimulus as disorienting, overwhelming, and stressful. The HSP often feels others do not understand these struggles, leading to increased self-criticism, isolation, and shame.

In moments of extreme tension, the highly sensitive person may also ultimately shut down or even freeze.

The HSP may also feel easily overwhelmed or overstimulated, often resulting from large crowds, loud noises, and other stressful stimuli.

RELATED: What It’s Like For Highly Sensitive People In An Insensitive World

The following symptoms are also common for the HSP:

Feeling shame about being told that you are overly emotional or sensitive

Over-analyzing and overthinking situations or relationships

Feeling alone or misunderstood

Internalizing the feelings and experiences of others

Experiencing anxiety

Being easily and strongly impacted by your environment and lacking boundaries

Struggling with processing negative feelings towards others, such as anger or frustration

Do you need therapy for overwhelming emotions?

There is no formal diagnostic test to determine if you are a highly sensitive person as it's a personality trait rather than a mental illness.

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Common challenges of the HSP include: 

Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burned out

Experiencing shyness or difficulty in large crowds

Having intense emotions

Problem with change or transitions

Increased sensitivity to the environment

Feeling judged or misunderstood

Having perfectionistic tendencies

While not every experience is the same, if you are a highly sensitive person experiencing overwhelming emotions that interfere with your daily social, emotional, occupational, or romantic functioning, therapy can help

RELATED: 9 Common Traits Of Highly Sensitive People Whose Emotions Can Feel Overwhelming

Dr. Leda Kaveh is a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner/director of Washington Psychological Wellness. If you want to learn more about family therapy, contact them today!

This article was originally published at Washington Psychological Wellness. Reprinted with permission from the author.