All posts filed under: Psychology

Distancing Myself from Empaths

Over 3 years ago I described my understanding of empaths and acknowledged that I fit the description. I reluctantly admitted that there was something more to the empath experience than just being a highly sensitive person (HSP). Today I revisit the Empath label, and explain why I can no longer identify with it. Firstly, in recent years Elaine Aaron has been very clear that HSP is a trait, not a disorder, disease, schema, error in thinking, acquired preference, or anything else obtained through conditioning or experience alone. Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is the more accurate academic description of the trait. There is new evidence to support it from brain studies and a growing mountain of qualitative evidence in the form of interviews, surveys, and clinical observation. See the Highly Sensitive Person Website and Esther Bergsma’s website for research details. Drs Begsma is a Dutch expert on high sensitivity, and while her website is in Dutch I find Goggle Translate does a good job converting it into English. Check out her blog on work stress here: …

Pros and Cons of Being Highly Sensitive

Defining Terms Sensory processing sensitivity, SPS, is the accurate academic term for the trait behind the more widely known and used HSP or highly sensitive person. SPS is my preference because it describes the trait, rather than making the trait the defining attribute of the person. Primary Characteristics of SPS/HPS are DOES: Depth of processing, overstimulation, emotional sensitivity and empathy, and sensing the subtle. Secondary Characteristics: DS Differential Susceptibility: SPS children who did not receive the engagement from adults that would cultivate a sense of safety, validation, and encouragement are more likely than others to be depressed, anxious, or shy, whereas those who received the necessary engagement as children do better in life than those who are not so sensitive. They are more confident and less likely to be depressed or highly anxious. Pronouns: I use the terms “our and “we” to refer to HSP/SPS as a way of personalizing or humanizing the trait. Pros Cons Depth of processing. Recent evidence [2], [5], [8] supports earlier surveys and interviews that suggest we have strong activation …

Coming Out as an Empath

The same sensitivity and awareness that causes increased pain, also empowers empaths to know deeper and richer levels of solitude, sabi, and mono no aware. They see all kinds of beauty and they tend to see it everywhere. They feel deep connections in nature, and with others. Their heart it touched every day.  I intuitively knew that if I numbed my pain, I would also numb my joy.

Type A, B, and C Personalities

Type A Medical commentary from the late 1960s through the 1990s speculated about two types of personalities associated with disease. Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and RH Rosenman coined the phrase “Type A Personality” several years after they noticed that their waiting-room chairs needed re-upholstering sooner than those in other medical offices. Cardiac patients, more than most, were sitting on the edge of their seats and fidgeting and fussing with their arms and hands. In 1976 Rosenman and Friedman began research that confirmed their original suspicions. They found that there was a common set of traits associated with cardiac patients and identified the primary one as a propensity to be easily stimulated to anger. They also noted a high degree of competition and hostility. Type A people are hard working goal setters, but tend to lack a sense of joy in their accomplishments. Type B People with Type B personality were said to be more tolerant and relaxed than Type A individuals. They are thought to be more reflective, less hostile and aggressive, and not overly prone …