Empaths & Highly Sensitive Persons

Empaths & Highly Sensitive Persons

The Most spiritual human being, assuming they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies: but it is precisely for this reason that they honor life, because it brings against them its more formidable weapons”.  Friedrich Nietzsche

The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), also popularly known as ‘The Empath’ is seen in Dr. Elaine Aron’s research, which is also matched in research done in the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), as well as in the latest research in the field neuroscience, just to name a few.  Furthermore, pioneer Dr. Judith Orloff M.D. was one of the first to coin the term ‘Empath’. High Sensitivity, otherwise known by its research term as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS), is an innate trait dispersed equally among all gender identities. It is a variation found in at least 15-20% of the human population (and in some animals) that allows the nervous system and brain to process subtleties and details that most miss.

An HSP, or ‘Empath’ notices more subtle details in the environment. In studies, about 20% of the participants were significantly more activated by the same number of sensory stimuli than the other 80% of participants. These 20%, being the ‘Empaths’, showed higher levels of brain and nervous system activation, thus highlighting their ability to be more sensitive to energetic and sensory stimuli. These highly intuitive persons cannot only sense the stimuli more deeply than most, they are believed to be able absorb the emotional and charged energetic stimuli of their environments and of others around them.

Although some Empaths may have childhood trauma history, the high sensitivity is not related to the trauma itself.  Therefore, many Empaths do not have a strong trauma history and other’s do.

Empaths are highly caring, emotional, energy sensitive, perceptive, and empathetic beings. In our opinion they have a significant role in changing and enhancing the consciousness of our modern world. They generally have heightened intuition, introspection, awareness, insight, and in many cases enhanced psychic abilities. They may feel more deeply for others, not in terms of feeling sorry for others, but rather actually sensing the other persons emotional pain or experience. This is often referred to as a “sixth sense”.

Empaths may struggle with being overstimulated, often becoming emotionally exhausted, and in need of self-care, downtime, and access to regulation skills.  The overstimulation and lack of regulation skills may lead to anxiety, stress, health conditions, social anxiety, inability to concentrate, dissociation, and/or depression. Empaths may also have difficulties with boundaries, especially in relationships.  And in some cases, may have impulse control issues and use destructive means to numb themselves. Furthermore, Empaths are subject to feeling misunderstood and invalidated by their families, communities, and/or society.

Some helpful interventions

  • Calm healing environments
  • Developing Empowerment & Courage
  • Neutrally inspired spiritual based psychotherapy
  • Strength based interventions
  • Self-acceptance & self-compassion
  • Validation & Boundary Setting Coaching
  • Lifestyle assessments& Community Building
  • Mindfulness & Dialectical behavior Coping Skills
  • If trauma history, gentle EMDR and/or somatic therapies
  • Energy healing modalities

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