Counselling for Highly Sensitive Individuals in Surrey
- Do you or your child become overwhelmed easily?
- Do you respond to subtleties in your environment or in other people’s moods or behaviour?
- Do people experience you as sensitive or shy?
- Do you need to take time away from people to calm yourself or regain your ability to feel comfortable?
- Do you or your child experience heightened sensory experience with regard to touch, sound or taste?
- Do you or your child have a rich inner world but find that functioning in the world outside can present challenges?
There are many characteristics of personality and temperament that can impact how people respond to their environment. Highly sensitive individuals are highly aware and responsive to emotional and physical input from their environment. Being highly sensitive is similar to having the “volume turned up” on awareness and experiencing of sensory information and emotional cues. With a deep sensitivity to subtleties in interpersonal and physical environments come deep internal reactions, awareness of other’s feelings, and challenges with tolerating change and novel situations.
As with many qualities, there are positive and negative aspects to sensitivity. Heightened sensitivity come with both exceptional and rich experiencing and also the potential to become overwhelmed. With understanding and appropriate support highly sensitive people can thrive and their sensitivity can be strength rather than a source of distress to the individual or those around them.
Highly Sensitive Children
There are many gifts and some challenges that come with being or raising a highly sensitive child. Variability in how sensitivity is demonstrated in emotional reactions and behaviours also makes supportive care of highly sensitive children a challenge. No two highly sensitive children are exactly alike, and interventions and support require creativity, empathy and patience.
Parents often seek support and psychotherapy for the highly sensitive child without full appreciation or awareness of how the quality may be contributing to behaviour and emotional reactions. Highly sensitive children often present to therapy as a result of extreme shyness, challenges in managing emotions or "meltdowns", hyperawareness of other's emotions, or difficulties with transitions or change. These children often experience other qualities such as introversion, or perfectionism, are easily over stimulated and may have many "quirks" that others find difficult to understand.
Parenting a highly sensitive child presents unique challenges and it is important that parents, teachers and caregivers adapt their nurturing, support and parenting styles to account for the child’s sensitivities. The more a highly sensitive child feels understood, the more comfortable they will be, and the more able they will be to adapt and thrive.
Many parents know the trials and tribulations of being highly sensitive firsthand. Since being highly sensitive is a hereditary trait, it is not unusual for a highly sensitive child to have a highly sensitive parent. A highly sensitive parent may be aware of their own sensitivity, or may be triggered by the sensitivity that their child is expressing. A parent who does not have the personal experience of high sensitivity may be easily frustrated or confused by their children’s reactions or traits.
Benefits of Counselling for the Highly Sensitive
The key to effectively adapting and enjoying the positive aspect of a highly sensitive nature is to understand how it manifests in a person’s life and experience and to work with it. Being highly sensitive isn’t something that will change, but you can predict how it will work and understand how it is triggered and how it can be managed. You can also learn to appreciate, accept and nurture the sensitivities that allow for rich experiencing of the world. For children and adults, coping skills to deal with the “volume” being turned up on emotional, physical and social experiences can allow the sensitive person to thrive, adapt and appreciate their ways of being and experiencing.
Ready to make a change?
Contact Alison Bell, Surrey BC Family Counsellor, to explore the initial first step in reaching your goals.
Alison will speak to you directly to discuss your areas of concern and determine how she may be best able to assist you. Finding the right therapist to support you is essential and Alison will be very happy to speak with you at any time to discuss your circumstance and hopes for the counselling or psychotherapy process.
Please feel free to refer yourself or a family member directly. Outside agencies or individuals may also refer to the practice.