As sensitive folks, we tend to be excellent friends, partners, children, parents, employees, colleagues, neighbors. If your immediate reaction is, “I’m not sure that applies to me,” you’re probably being too hard on yourself. But, you’re not alone as many highly sensitive people (HSPs) tend to undervalue what they offer to others. We HSPs are wonderfully empathic and do such a good job of putting ourselves in others’ shoes that the people in our lives usually really appreciate us. HSPs tend to be great listeners, wonderful problem-solvers, and gentle advice-givers. When an HSP tunes in to another person, that person really knows they’re being heard and seen. And, this doesn’t happen a lot in our busy culture, so, people really like this connectedness they feel from sensitive souls.Read More
This blog is written by a therapist in midtown Sacramento and focuses on the concerns and struggles of highly sensitive people (HSPs) and of kids, teens and adults struggling with depression, anxiety or just trying to figure out what they want for themselves. There's help and hope through counseling and therapy!
Have you noticed that your teen is struggling in their relationships? Have you observed them trying to be someone they’re not in order to fit in? Have you seen your teen going out of their way to please their friends, just to be liked . . . only to be taken advantage of and manipulated?Read More
Imagine that you’re at a party or gathering at a friend’s house. As a highly sensitive person, you may have felt some anxiety or dread about going to the party and having to make small talk. Some of the folks in attendance are friends, and you gravitate toward talking to them. But, you notice a couple of people who hang back and don’t seem to know many others. Your empathy kicks in, and you decide to go chat with them to help them feel more welcome. While you’re talking, another person or two joins in the conversation and brings up a political issue you care about deeply. As you passionately discuss the matter, you add in how you cannot understand anyone who thinks otherwise. The person you initially approached quietly says, “I disagree” and wanders away.Read More
Sometimes it can seem like teens completely tune out (or want nothing to do with) adults, especially authority figures, even more so--their parents. This can leave parents feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. “He’s not getting his homework done, but how am I supposed to get him on the right track when he won’t listen to me?!” “She seems irritable and agitated a lot these days, but when I ask what’s wrong, she rolls her eyes or grumbles, ‘nothing.’ How do I get through to her?”Read More
On a somewhat regular basis, I try to make sure my kids get outside and eat some dirt. Just kidding about the eating it part! But, we definitely get out to play in the dirt. We ‘garden’ together. The gardening usually consists of me putting plants and soil in pots, then my five year old moving all around - barefooted - digging either in the pots or in the ground, finding worms, collecting acorn ‘hats,’ and finally plunging herself onto the grass.Read More
This sounds like advice from an eight ball, right? Or, from some sage old monk. Funny how words of wisdom can seem profound and trite at the same time. This little nugget actually came to me from an unexpected source when I was in college. See, I’ve always had some fondness for adventure, and at the end of my junior year, I convinced two of my girlfriends to go with me on a 3 week trip through the southwest with the student Outdoor Center. The trip involved some hiking and camping, which we all loved, and a lot of rock-climbing and mountain biking, which none of us had ever done before.Read More
“I hate math! I’m done!” shouts your 14 year old as he slams his book shut and jumps up from the kitchen table, almost knocking over the chair with him. You watch the severe scowl of irritation on his face and his I’m so totally done with homework tonight vibe with some bewilderment. You wonder why he gave up so quickly or what was so challenging about the work. The recurring theme for your kiddo is his impatience and unwillingness to put in the extra effort.
Have I mentioned that I hate small talk? I can handle about 30 seconds of it, and then . . . I’m boooored. The meaningless banter makes me wish I was at home reading a good book. But, give me some depth, catch my interest on a topic, go beyond the ordinary chatter, and I’m hooked. I love stories SO much. I could listen for hours as a story unfolds. Yes, it’s one of the reasons I became a therapist, and it’s one of the gifts of therapy—we very quickly move past the shallow small talk and dig into what’s real and what matters. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), this stirs my soul. I come alive with such deep and meaningful conversations.Read More
You know that old saying, “What do we do when we fall? - We get back up!”? It seems that our youth are really struggling with mastering this important life skill. There is a trend of perfectionism and a lack of resilience among teens that has caught the attention of mental health and education professionals, as well as parents. When we have adolescents who can’t bounce back from failure (i.e. are not resilient) and aren’t given the appropriate level of independence they need for healthy development, we end up with young adults who are incredibly anxious and depressed.Read More
I often hear the frustration and sadness and defeat in the voices of highly sensitive people (HSP) when they share how they become more emotional, overwhelmed, shut down, or worn out in situations that don’t seem to affect other people. This difference can make HSPs feel like outsiders, like there must be something wrong with them because they are abnormal compared to everyone around them.Read More
Our society has made suicide a taboo topic to talk about, which is unfortunate since suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. Despite the myth, talking about suicide does not lead people to commit suicide. In fact, talking honestly about suicide can be a tool for prevention. Being open to talking with your teen about their feelings and about any thoughts of self-harm can actually help educate and support them with their mental health needs.Read More
Codependency can often feel like a scary word when first brought up in a therapy session. The first sign for me when working with someone struggling with codependency is being the proverbial “Super Woman/Man.” This person is unable to say no to those around them--often placing themselves last in every way--rushing in to save the day emotionally, mentally, and physically without stopping to look at the consequences of doing so and ignoring their own feelings to prioritize the comfort of others.Read More
Do you have those moments where it feels like your entire body has been taken over by a feeling? Almost as if you’ve been consumed by a strange creature, and you’re not sure if there’s going to be a “you” when it’s all said and done?? I imagine most of us highly sensitive people (HSPs) have had and will continue to have these moments—much to our chagrin. We hate them, right? I have that sense of ‘Wait, seriously, seriously?’ when it starts to happen. Like, are you kidding me—I’m here—AGAIN?!Read More
You may have heard of DBT but have no idea what it is actually used for. Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is a form of mental health treatment originally developed for adults who struggled with extremely intense and unstable emotions, as well as self-injurious behaviors like cutting and chronic suicidal thinking. Dr. Marsha Linehan is credited with creating this model of treatment, and over the past 30 years, it’s been found very beneficial for all kinds of issues, like depression, anxiety, impulsivity, eating disorders, etc.Read More
I often hear from highly sensitive people (HSPs) how different and alone they feel. “I’m too sensitive,” “I need to grow a thicker skin,” “Why can’t I just let it go like everyone else?” are common refrains. Such beliefs often stem from a lifetime of conscious and unconscious messages from well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning people about how there’s something wrong with the way you are. And, the reality is--highly sensitive people are not the norm. We know this because research has found that 15-20% of people in any given population in any given culture carry the personality trait of being highly sensitive.