Karen Hoving, Ph.D. 


What is an HSP and Is That Me?

Recently I had a patient use a term I had not heard of, “HSP.” The meaning is a HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON. I was humiliated to understand that I had never heard this term!

I poked around and found an article on Salon Magazine (OK, not exactly a Psychology Today article but it was originally found in Alternet Magazine written by Psychologist Elaine Aaron. According to the article an HSP is an individual is about 15% of the population that feels that they are overstimulated, extremely sensitive and very shy as a child.
Besides being extremely shy and sensitive, Dr Aaron describes several other symptoms that may suggests you have been struggling with being an HSP.

Do the subtleties in the environment seem to be screaming at you, as opposed to be just simply tugging on your sleeve? Dr Aaron suggests that HSP’s have a tendency to notice things that others dismiss. An example given, is that often individuals with HSP might add an artificial sweetener into their tea and they feel that they have been chemically overdosed! They also intuitively feel when individuals are lying. And no, they aren’t paranoid (although as many of us say, sometimes you aren’t paranoid, people are actually out to get you) they also have issues with irritating sounds “the perverbial nails on the chalkboard” experience.

Do you fall in love hard and fast? At work being a perfectionist, doesn’t begin to describe how you feel, or what you struggle with. And the term “vivid imagination” brings a whole new meaning to the table with friends, co-workers, and family members.

If any of these things seem to pull a tiny cord in your brain, you might want to read the brief article that Dr Aaron explained about HSP http://tinyurl.com/p2tbyrb

Here are a few other articles that you may want to see if if feels similar to what you may be struggling with day by day, and have had no idea.


For those of you that prefer the Q & A tests (please remember this does NOT exclude working with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist for a clinical diagnosis). http://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/


And if after reading a few of these informational articles, if you are beginning to feel as though someone “crawled into your head and took notes” perhaps you might want to know a few things that might help you explain what is going on to the people you care about, and what you can do to help your family understand and what to ask those individuals around you.  http://introvertdear.com/2016/02/01/things-a-highly-sensitive-person-needs/

Here is a TED TALK in case you would rather watch what’s up, than read all about it!



For more information or help please contact:

Dr Karen Hoving   Psychotherapist 720-878-8891                                                                Dr Karen Hoving


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