Going to therapy can change your life because it allows you to safely explore blind spots that you may have tried to overlook.
The moment I learned I was a highly sensitive person (HSP) changed my life. My therapist suggested I was one, and I immediately bought and read The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine Aron. The next few days were filled with “a-ha” moments — and finally a sigh of deep relief.
There was nothing “wrong” with me, after all! Being highly sensitive explained so much of the turmoil I’d been feeling. The anxiety was a result of my not understanding myself and the ways I had structured my life.
I always think back on that day and how that one therapist changed my life… forever.
Everything Changes When You ‘See’ Your Sensitivity
As a highly sensitive person, you might struggle to truly accept the sensitive part(s) of yourself. Why wouldn’t you when around 70 percent of the population isn’t as sensitive? Growing up might have been even harder as a highly sensitive child because you were more attuned to others. And now, as an adult, you might be left wondering where you took the “wrong” path.
But you are here now. And that means that you are learning — or have learned — about this incredible trait. Everything changes when you see your sensitivity as a true gift. All those times you felt you weren’t good enough or that the world moved too fast for you suddenly make sense.
And, with time, this ability to accept this trait — and nurture it — becomes easier.
However, it can be quite a challenge to get to this place. And that is why getting support from a therapist can be crucial. Even better, you can find therapists who understand your sensitivity and can help you in a deeper, more attuned way. Here are reasons why I think going to therapy is life-changing for HSPs. (See if you agree!)
5 Reasons Why Going to Therapy Is Life-Changing for HSPs
1. You can finally find a “safe” space.
Finding a therapist can be very challenging — especially when you are trying to go through insurance. Remind yourself that this is a journey, and finding the right therapist for you might take some time. It might also take a few different tries before you finally find someone that you feel comfortable with.
Once you do find a therapist that fits your needs (location, experience, awareness of your HSP trait, availability, price range, and so on), you will soon discover what it’s like to be in a completely safe space. There are many different kinds of therapy, and that’s something you’ll need to figure out as you go, too. Having a space that is just for you to take a deep breath — and allow everything to just be — is so important.
As a sensitive person, day-to-day life can be chaotic and messy, like in parenting or having a stressful career, which is magnified for those of us who are HSPs. And having this safe space where you can be honest — and say all your thoughts out loud — allows your body to feel it all.
Eventually, what might start to happen is that you really look forward to it. And even though the work can be hard, you know that there is a chair waiting for you in your therapist’s office that allows you to be yourself.
2. You can learn about co-regulation and self-regulation.
If you were a child who grew up in a home that did not understand your sensitivity, you can learn how to process your emotions in therapy. A therapist can teach you how to regulate your intense emotions by showing you how to effectively respond to them.
You might have seen a parent do this with a young child when they’re throwing a tantrum. The parent will hold space for the child and may take deep breaths with them, for example. Eventually, the child calms down and learns how to ride out that emotion without adding fuel to the fire.
If you didn’t get these kinds of moments as a child and were yelled at for crying instead, you will need to learn how to do this as an adult. Your therapist can help co-regulate you and, eventually, you will get better at self-regulating.
It can be quite a challenge to admit, and accept, that we must relearn a lot of what we should have learned in childhood. But HSPs are fast learners, and we can become very aware of our bodies and what works to regulate them. This is simply a skill that needs practice and time. Therapy is a great place to do this.
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3. You can decide on an appropriate treatment plan.
As you go more in-depth with your therapist, you will decide on different types of treatment plans. There are so many different types of therapy that can benefit you in whatever you want to work on. The benefit of therapy for the HSP is that once you find a therapist that you feel safe with, you can truly identify the type of treatment that can help you the best.
For example, you can use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help you if you have anxiety and/or depression. One method is giving the client “homework” and having them face a fear (in order to minimize it). There’s also Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy treatment that aims to alleviate distress around traumatic memories.
Through therapy, you will learn to better cope with the overstimulation and/or anxiety you experience. And once you learn how your body responds to the world around you, you’ll be able to make better decisions to help you live the life you want. It is so helpful to have a therapist help guide you along the way in making those decisions.
4. You can apply the skills you learn in other areas of your life.
This type of confidence will then begin to show up in other areas of your life. If you are a parent, for example, the skills that you learn in therapy will transfer over to your parenting skills. When certain areas of your life feel overwhelming as an HSP, you can use the tools and resources that you’ve been exploring in therapy. The best part is, you will have a constant check-in with someone that can help you understand yourself even better.
If you run a business or are in a stressful career, going to therapy can also help you learn how to be more mindful of how fast you are going or how hard you are working. Highly sensitive people need to move a little slower and have built-in times to decompress (alone!). Exploring what works — and what doesn’t — in therapy can help you know what you need in your everyday life.
5. You can learn how to break unhealthy patterns.
Personally, as a highly sensitive mom of two young children and a former teacher, this reason alone was worth the challenges of finding the right therapist and therapy for me. When you focus on yourself and learn how to reframe certain situations, you begin to see the world in a different way. Suddenly, those yelling fits I have with my children or spouse weren’t really about the clothes that were left on the floor. Sure, the overstimulation is there, but there is always something deeper.
Going to therapy changed my own life because it allowed me to safely explore those blind spots that I had tried to force myself to overlook. I spent my entire young adult life trying to shape myself into who the world wanted me to be. There was also a lot of childhood trauma that I’d never processed, and it resulted in anxiety. By taking the time, energy, and space to unpack all of that in a safe place, I began breaking unhealthy patterns that I was unconsciously passing down to my children.
The best part is, I also began showing my kids what it looks like to take care of myself. Highly sensitive people have the gift to be aware of their own subtleties, and when you apply this skill to developing your own healing journey, it can be life-changing — not to mention, inspirational and educational for others.
Seeking Help Is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness
Whether you are scheduling your very first therapy appointment or have found a therapist that you’ve been working with for years, seeking help is a sign of strength. Highly sensitive souls can use therapy to grow, evolve, and to finally see their sensitivity as the strength that it is.
What are your experiences with therapy as a highly sensitive person? I’d love to know in the comments!
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