Highly Sensitive Person

Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait characterized by a high level of sensitivity to external stimuli. A person with a particularly high measure of SPS is considered to be a highly sensitive person.  A highly sensitive person experiences the world differently than others. Due to a biological difference that they’re born with, highly sensitive people have a greater depth of cognitive processing and high emotional reactivity. This can have both positive and negative implications. Highly sensitive people tend to be more empathetic, creative and insightful, but are also more easily overwhelmed and stress prone. They may “feel too deeply” or “feel too much.” If you think you may be a highly sensitive person and are having trouble managing on your own, a qualified mental health professional can help to teach you emotional and sensory immunity strategies. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s highly sensitive person experts today.

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

Meet the specialists


As Elaine Aron, Ph.D., states in her work with highly sensitive people (HSP), "There is nothing wrong with high sensitivity. Sensitivity is an advantage in many situations and for many purposes, but not in other cases. Like having a certain eye color, it is a neutral, normal trait inherited by a large portion of the population, not the majority." Dr. Aron estimates that this trait s found in 15-20% of the population. I help HSPs understand their strength and true gift as an empath.

— Shari Grande, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Santa Clara, CA

For Highly Sensitive individuals, functioning well in our fast paced world can be a lot of work. I'm interested in helping people who identify this way by providing a safe and empathic space, one in which moving slowly and sharing at a modulated pace are encouraged and supported. With my training in Dance/Therapy, Authentic Movement, Yoga and Meditation, it's a pleasure for me to share embodiment and mindfulness tools in service of nervous system regulation and self care.

— Rachel Fernbach, Therapist in Brooklyn, NY

I am a qualified Highly Sensitive Person informed counselor in residency.

— Jess Callaway, Licensed Resident in Counseling in Norfolk, VA

Non-highly sensitive people seem to function with 10 layers of protection against the world. We HSPs often seem to have only 2. Being a highly sensitive person in an insensitive world offers a unique set of challenges but also allows us to access different wells of strength. Embracing one's highly sensitive nature and learning about limits and boundaries can help us feel better equipped and add back layers of protection we didn't realize were possible.

— Lauren Bartholomew, Psychologist in King of Prussia, PA

I am an HSP and have worked with both HSP clients and therapists.

— Mariah Dancing, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

As an occupational therapist I have evaluated and treated children and adults challenged by sensory processing disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Many adults find it difficult to establish a therapeutic program that effectively addresses their needs. Occupational therapy approaches the therapeutic process through functional activities that align with the client’s lifestyle, uplifting their overall performance of their roles and responsibilities in work, home and leisure. Walk the talk!

— Tina Anderson, Occupational Therapist in Austin, TX

I consider myself an HSP and an Empath. I am also an Intuitive. I help you manage your sensitivity to others as well as the environment. We will talk about boundaries- physical, emotional and psychic boundaries. We will talk about grounding and centering techniques. We will discover together your best approach to living and expansive life.

— DeeAnna Nagel, Psychotherapist

Highly sensitive people feel, perceive, and think deeply. They are often sensitive to changes in their environment and stimuli as well as other's emotions. While this can come with challenges, it can also be a great strength and allow for deep fulfillment. I have taken trainings and understand both the difficulties and the possibilities that come with this sensory processing trait.

— Sammy Kirk, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Alexandria, VA

In therapy, we can make space for your sensitivities, learn to manage when they feel overwhelming, and especially elevate when they can be an asset.

— Halina Brooke, Therapist in Phoenix, AZ

As a highly sensitive person myself, I understand how an overstimulating lifestyle can lead to symptoms that mimic anxiety and depression. I can help you navigate your life and make changes so you can let your light shine and reduce overwhelm in your life. Sometimes small, sustainable changes can have a huge impact.

— Kylee Nelson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO

Are you stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Do you feel ungrounded in your relationships? Do you find it hard to manage your life without losing who you are? Learn how to rediscover your sense of purpose and empowerment as a Highly Sensitive Person, by managing stress, anxiety, relationships and work demand while honoring your authentic self.

— Layla Ashley, Marriage & Family Therapist in Valley Village, CA

As a highly sensitive therapist and person, I know first-hand what it is like to feel different. What a relief it can be to learn it's a natural trait that makes up around 20% of humans. We feel, think and experience things deeply, often need more downtime, may experience more emotional ups and down's and angry outbursts when at our max, and are prone to experiencing higher levels of stress, people-pleasing patterns, and low self-confidence. If you are having trouble managing, I am here.

— Amanda Rebel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Wheat Ridge, CO

You are a sensitive person. The things people say and do impact you more than you’d like, and your sadness sometimes takes you to places that scare you. My clients struggle like you do. They crave connection, but the heaviness of their emotions makes them feel like they’re a burden to those closest to them. Those who partner with me often share that our sessions are the best part of their week. Why? Because putting on a show and wearing the “I’m fine!” smile is so damn exhausting.

— Tamara Clarkson, Counselor in Houston, TX

I was amazed the first time I read about Highly Sensitive People (or HSP's) as I had never seen anything that explained my way of being in the world like this had. I am continuing to develop my skills in the area of working with HSP's, including HSP-specific and self-compassion-based learning.

— Melanie Cohn-Hopwood, Clinical Social Worker in Cambridge, MA

As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) myself, I completely understand that you probably feel like an oddball in a world of seemingly "normal" people. It took close to 45 years of living to finally embrace that being Highly Sensitive wasn't a curse, and I didn't need to apologize for being this way. I now embrace my sensitivities. While being Highly Sensitive comes with challenges, your unique sensitivities can also be seen as a superpower. I would love to support you in embracing all parts of you!

— Grace Willow, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Larkspur, CO

The Highly Sensitive genetic trait is found in 15-20% of the total population, in over 200 species. Certain brain centers are highly active in HSPs. This helps them sense subtleties in their environment, but it can also lead to overstimulation & overwhelming emotions. As an HSP specialist, I've found that trauma-informed somatic therapy works wonders for overstimulated nervous systems. In addition, reiki helps HSPs maximize their capacity to sense subtleties, & use it to their advantage.

— Anneva NK Garner, Counselor in Longmont, CO

Feeling overwhelmed by your world? Do others tell you that you're "too sensitive?" Experiencing high sensitivity to your environment and the people around you can impact your energy and mood and feels EXHAUSTING. It can also make having and maintaining relationships with others a bit difficult. If you're interested to learn more about ways to cope and navigate your world more effectively, let's work together on that.

— Dr. Dana Avey, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Colorado Springs, CO

I have always been drawn to working with highly sensitive people, including those who have been identified as having a personality disorder such as BPD. I see being highly sensitive as a superpower that no one teaches you how to wield. My training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy in conjunction with attachment-based treatment helps highly sensitive people move through their emotions without suppressing or becoming overtaken by them so they can lead more intentional and grounded lives.

— Molly Nestor Kaye, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Beverly Hills, CA

My experience as a Highly Sensitive Person and my education on the trait has empowered me to provide therapeutic services for other HSPs. Engaging in group art therapy with other sensitive humans will give you a safe space to process your experience, gain tools to navigate your sensitivity, and celebrate the trait.

— Kelly Holley (Gupta), Art Therapist in Nashville, TN

I provide individual therapy and couples counseling to introverts and highly sensitive people who struggle with managing deep emotions, feeling easily overwhelmed or overstimulated. The flip side of the HSP trait may be a strong sense of justice or empathy or noticing details that others often miss. There are tools that we can learn to help cope with the overwhelming feelings and sensitivities while honoring the strengths that go along with the HSP trait.

— Rachelle Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Spokane Valley, WA