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Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

A Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, is a person who has a personality trait known as sensory-processing sensitivity, or SPS. Those with high levels of SPS show high emotional sensitivity, stronger reactivity to both external and internal stimuli—pain, hunger, light, and noise—and a complex inner life About 15 to 20 percent of the population are thought to be highly sensitive.

HSP isn't a mental health disorder; it is more a characteristic of a person's personality. It's a trait that exists in everyone to varying degrees. Being an HSP has some manageable disadvantages and some powerful advantages as well.

HSPs may be more upset than others by violence, conflict, tension, or feelings of being overwhelmed. They may also make concerted efforts to avoid upsetting situations. Highly sensitive people also tend to be highly creative, have a vivid appreciation of art and beauty, and enjoy deeply beneficial and satisfying relationships with others. 

HSPs are perceptive, compassionate, empathetic, and benefit from their generally high EQ. The therapeutic goal in helping highly sensitive people is to enable them to survive and thrive in situations without lessening the many clear advantages of their sensitivity. This can be challenging with children but therapy can enable them to have very happy lives.  Adults are very capable of learning to manage situations with understanding and a variety of coping skill.

The essence is that HSP is not a disorder at all.  It is a trait possessed by perceptive people who can learn to manage stressful situations effectively with therapy, rather than avoidance, enabling them to enjoy vivid and happy lives. 

Man with arm around woman and both are smiling. They are talking to another person, a therapist, who is facing them.
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