A lot of people who gravitate towards doing “deep” analytic work in psychotherapy, vs. strictly symptom management or reduction, are highly sensitive people. Why is that? Maybe they have a need to go deeper emotionally because they see and feel things deeply? There’s plenty to read on the subject for anyone who wants to dig into it. Theories and research exploring high sensitivity are interesting and illuminating in their speculation.
Some people experience their own internal states deeply, as well as keenly picking up on the “vibes” of other people and groups they find themselves in proximity of. They may feel they were “just born that way” or sense that they adapted this kind of sensitivity and awareness, early in life as a gift or coping technique.
However the capacity may come to be a part of a person, high sensitivity can be seen as a super power in a lot of ways. But it can also be a bit of burden – at least in some moments and parts of life. And it can even contribute to a person experiencing severe distress or getting stuck in important ways.
I am very interested in working with highly sensitive people. Both when they’re fairly in tune with what’s impacting them at a given moment in their lives; or when they feel stuck and confused about patterns in their lives. Over the decades of my practice, I’ve developed a strong understanding and knowledge base of how to work with people who are highly sensitive, to help them navigate the ways this gift enhances and complicates things. People can benefit from support in negotiating the emotional depth they experience, and their desire to engage deeply in enriching and fulfilling ways. Particularly at moments when others in their lives (friends, family, colleagues) may be in divergent mindsets or otherwise unavailable to process at the same level; either due to differences in capacity or just being otherwise focused during a phase in time.
Having a place to freely explore with support and accurate, individualized and substantive feedback can open up new possibilities. It can enhance self-awareness, allow accessing, containing and processing of important “big feelings”, and contribute to feeling more of a sense of wellbeing while navigating deeper connection and collaboration with other people who have differing temperaments.