If you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you are likely always showing others empathy. But, how often do you extend empathy towards yourself? What about you? You deserve to receive the same kindness you give in abundance to others.
What is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)? They are the people in the world who are considered more sensitive than most. These sensitivities include sensory inputs from their environment, or people.
Considering yourself an HSP is not a disorder. It does not mean there is anything wrong with you. It is a gift that is a wonderful personality trait, but managing your life with it can be difficult. While it may seem as if there is nothing you can do, you do have options that can help you manage your sensitivity easier so that it becomes your super power. One of these options is through Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT).
CFT Is A Highly Effective Approach For Sensitivities
There are many approaches to therapy that a therapist can use with clients. However, not all of these will be as effective for a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). While many methods focus on behaviors, the approach for an HSP needs to be slightly different. It is often not their own behaviors that contribute to their issues, but their sensitivities to the world around them.
CFT focuses on how our nervous system responds to threats, including social threats. The power in CFT lies within a model of three systems to explain this. Known as the three systems of regulation, CFT is comprised of the threat, drive, and soothing systems.
The threat system involves our response to danger and how we protect ourselves from it. The drive system focuses on how we achieve and accomplish tasks. While the soothing system is how we calm and rejuvenate ourselves to ease anxiety and stress. In Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) a therapist will focus on the threat and drive systems to ease anxiety. In CFT, the main goal is to hone in on the soothing system, which is highly effective in helping someone who is an HSP.
CFT Teaches You How To Calm Yourself Down
One challenge of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is keeping your anxiety at bay when your nervous system is in sensory overload. All too often, it is hard to keep yourself calm when you literally feel as if you are being hit from every angle. No matter if all five senses are being overstimulated or you are in a large crowd absorbing everyone’s energy, CFT can teach you how to block these extra inputs out and focus on self soothing. Here are some unique techniques with CFT that helps to soothe you.
One of the first things that can help a therapist identify your unique needs with HSP is through a body scan. This doesn’t involve any machine, but rather, identifying the physical and emotional reactions you have to the outside world. Working with your therapist will help you identify your reactions to overstimulation. You may not even be aware of how exactly your body reacts to sensory overload. Learning about the exact symptoms you experience can help you in the long run to manage them.
Once you learn how exactly your body reacts to sensory overloads, you can use a variety of techniques to manage these symptoms. One of the most effective ways to manage anxiety is through breathing techniques. In CFT, a great breathing exercise you can do is known as Soothing Rhythm Breathing. It teaches you how to breathe so that you can effectively reset your nervous system.
CFT Teaches You Compassion Towards Yourself
As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), you are highly empathetic towards others. Your inner monologue, however, is likely harsh and critical towards yourself.
CFT works to counter-act the inner critic in yourself. Maybe before this, you didn’t even know you were an HSP. So maybe you have berated yourself, calling yourself overly sensitive or even crazy. In CFT, this is often done through either journaling, imagery exercizes, or other mindfulness techniques.
You Can Learn To Manage Your Sensitivities
Learning to manage your sensitivities and control your anxiety can be a challenge. However, it is not something you have to deal with alone. And with the right approach and practice, you can definitely learn to do this at will and often. Click to learn more about Compassion Focused Therapy.
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Hawaii and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK, with advanced specialist training in Compassion Focused Therapy, I can help you manage your symptoms of anxiety and learn how to embrace your HSP nature so that your sensitivity truly becomes your superpower. Please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinic to set up an Online CFT Test Drive.