Welcome. I am a psychotherapist that specializes in the highly sensitive person and happen to be an HSP myself and mother of highly sensitive children. I work with HSPs all over the world, and my mission is to share research, information, and resources to help HSPs live their best and thrive.
I love neuroscience and find it fascinating that we can train parts of our brain that can then help us reduce stress, anxiety and that feeling of being overwhelmed that can be common for many HSPs. We share incredible gifts that are needed in the world.
I'm happy you are here.
First, let's start with some information about the trait:
About 15 to 20 percent of the population has the innate trait of high sensitivity, also known as sensory processing sensitivity. The brains of HSPs process more information more deeply, which can make us more sensitive to our surroundings. HSPs often suffer from anxiety and higher stress levels in a world that feels overwhelming, which is likely why up to 50 percent of clients in therapy are HSPs.
As a highly sensitive person, you may be able to feel what other people feel, which can help you to be more empathic and compassionate (some of the gifts of this trait). On the other hand, you can also be more easily overwhelmed and have higher stress levels. You may experience sensory overload with such factors as loud noise, bright lighting, and strong odors.
As an HSP myself, I am passionate about my work and consider it a calling to help you live a less stressed, less overwhelmed, and happier life. I've developed what I call a compassionate and supportive "brain training" program that provides specific tools for HSP's to learn to navigate an overstimulating world.
Recommended Resources for HSPs:
Below you will find a list of resources for HSPs that I have compiled. I also specialize in anxiety, couples and LGBTQQ so I've also included information that HSPs may find useful within these areas as well. This list will be added to periodically, and I also welcome hearing about good resources for HSPs you know about and would like to see added.
- Online Global Course for HSPs, sign up now to start September 25 (Uses the 8-week brain training program from my book with the added benefit of working directly with me and other HSPs). This course helps make foundational positive changes specifically for the HSP brain to reduce stress and anxiety and begin to blossom and thrive toward your best self.
- HSP Book: Brain Training For The Highly Sensitive Person: Techniques To Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions: An 8-Week Program (Reviewed by Tara Brach, Ted Zeff and Rick Hanson) There are also two new HSP Journals that are companion workbook guides for the Brain Training book. Positives Journal and Challenges and Growth Journal.
- HSP Coaching worldwide one-on-one video, phone, email or messaging.
- Coaching for Parents of Highly Sensitive Children
- Psychotherapy: in California specializing in the highly sensitive person, anxiety, couples, and LGBTQQ
- Consultations for mental health professionals
- Supervision to MFT, HSP Interns
- HSP Facebook Group, offers resources for HSPs. I invite you to "like" it to stay connected.
- HSP Blog, Information and resources for HSPs
- HSP Store In celebration of this beautiful trait!
- Highly Sensitive Dogs, Imagine Life with a Well-Behaved Dog, offers a positive and sensitive approach to teaching and training sensitive dogs.
HSP Self Tests by Elaine Aron, PhD
- Julie Bjelland, LMFT (California Bay Area-Specializes in HSPs, anxiety, couples and LGBTQQ)
- Find an HSP Knowledgable therapist in your area.
HSP Global Life Coaching/Mentoring for HSP Adults and Parents of Highly Sensitive Children
- One-on-One HSP Coaching provides global phone, video, or chat/email session options with a psychotherapist that specializes in HSPs.
- I also work with parents of highly sensitive children (HSC) to offer them coping techniques and tools that have worked for other parents of HSCs.
Global Online HSP Course
- Online Course: HSP Brain Training (Tools to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions) Next course starts September 25.
HSP Books and Websites
- Brain Training For the Highly Sensitive Person, Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions by Julie Bjelland, LMFT, HSP Psychotherapist specializing in HSPs.
Elaine Aron’s website and books: http://hsperson.com/ Aron has a lot of great information for HSPs on her site.
Ted Zeff’s website and books: http://drtedzeff.com/ He specializes in sensitive males and also has a downloadable meditation for HSPs.
HSPs tend to relate a lot to Susan Cain’s book and research: http://www.quietrev.com
- Consultations for professionals working with HSPs
- HSP Blog by Julie Bjelland, Licensed Psychotherapist specializing in HSPs
- HSP Introvert Blog, by April Snow, MFTI
HSP Facebook Pages
- HSP Resources and Support by Julie Bjelland, LMFT
- HSP Global Cooperative for Sensitive Leaders, I am on the Advisory Council
- Highly Sensitive Therapists
- Sensitive, The Untold Story is a documentary about this trait that you can rent online. It is great to share with family and friends so they can learn more about the trait.
- I love this meditation/mindfulness app. You would be surprised how ten minutes a day can be very centering, grounding and calming, which are all things important for HSPs! The first ten are free so you can try it: https://www.headspace.com/
- Some of my HSP course participants really enjoyed yoga with Adriene, and she offers some great free yoga on YouTube. She makes the practice feel doable and fun with some of her sweet and gentle playfulness. Here's a link to enjoy: 30 Days of Yoga
Increasing Self Compassion
- Pema Chodron’s work is excellent to learn more loving kindness and self-acceptance, particularly her book Unconditional Confidence http://pemachodronfoundation.org/
- Kristin Neff specializes in self compassion: http://self-compassion.org/
- Many HSPs have challenges sleeping. I recommend trying these Mack earplugs to reduce the amount of times you wake up in the night.
- Weighted blankets affect proprioceptor input that can help our brain release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which can create a sense of calm. Many companies make them now. I happened to get mine from SensaCalm.
- I also recommend listening to sleep meditations before sleep. There are many good ones. Dr. Thompson uses deep-sleep sound waves mixed within relaxing music. I liked his Brainwave Sleep series. Here's a free sample of his Delta Sleep System.
- Do the same five things before bed every night. Try a bath with lavender oil, lighting a soothing candle, reading something non-stimulating, turning off the lights and listening to meditation. Our brain begins to recognize sleep is coming by about the 3rd step. Also, if we warm up our body with a bath before sleeping, the process of cooling the body after can initiate better sleep as well.
Improving Connections and Reducing Shame/Blame/Guilt
- I recommend a lot of Brene Brown’s work, particularly the book she narrates called “The Power of Vulnerability." You can see a free YouTube video here as well.
Neuroplasticity (Rewiring the brain)
- Online Course: HSP Brain Training: Tools to Reduce Anxiety and Overwhelming Emotions
- Rick Hanson is a best selling author and has some very interesting teachings incorporating neuroplasticity with a spiritual twist: http://www.rickhanson.net/
- http://www.wisebrain.org/ (psychology, neurology, and contemplative practice).
Blending Psychology and Spirituality
- Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. https://www.tarabrach.com/
- For couples and communication, I recommend The Gottman Method that I use when working with couples. It is an excellent positive-based method, and the communication training is based on over 40 years of researching couples!
- The Five Love Languages, I recommend couples take this free, quick quiz online to discover what your love languages are so you know how to fill up your partners love tank.
- Wired for Love book How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love by Amir Levine
Lourdes Viado, PhD, MFT who is also an HSP, offers podcast interviews you may enjoy that explore women's lives in depth.
- Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity, a non-profit organization focused on LGBTQ mental health.
- Our Family Coalition "advances equity* for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families with children through support, education, and advocacy."
Lesbian/Queer Women: Dating and Love
- The Conscious Girlfriend website and book uses a conscious, sensitive approach, and offers great tools for lesbian and queer women for dating and keeping relationships strong.
Transgender and Gender Non-conforming
- Dara Hoffman-Fox is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a gender therapist who offers some great resources and support for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.