Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person
Improving Outcomes for That Minority of People Who Are the Majority of Clients
Dr. Elaine Aron’s newest book, Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person, redefines the term “highly sensitive” for the professional researcher and practitioner. She dispels common misconceptions about the relationship between sensitivity and other personality traits, such as introversion and shyness, and further defines the trait for the benefit of both the clinician and patient. Readers will learn to assess for the trait, distinguish it from clinical diagnoses such as panic disorder or avoidant personality disorder, understand how sensitivity may change the presentation of a problem such as depression or shyness, and generally inform, validate, and improve the quality of life for these clients. She pays particular attention to self-esteem issues and helping patients separate effects of their innate temperament from problems due to their personal learning histories. Dr. Aron keeps both patient and practitioner in mind as she suggests ways to adapt treatment for highly sensitive persons and how to deal with the typical issues that arise. Three appendices provide the HSP Scale, a summary of the extensive research on this innate trait, and its relation to DSM diagnoses. Through this helpful guide, therapists will see a marked improvement in their ability to assist highly sensitive clients.
Table of Contents
Evidence for the Basic Innate Trait Being Sensitivity, and How it Relates to Vulnerability, Shyness, Introversion, and Proneness to Negative Affect. Assessing High Sensitivity. Distinguishing Sensitivity from Disorder. Recognizing and Addressing Five Almost Inevitable Problems. Adapting the Psychotherapy Process. High Sensitivity and Diversity — Ethnicity and Gender Issues. The Highly Sensitive in Close Relationships. Finding Meaningful Work and a Comfortable Work Place. Specific Treatment Approaches and Specific Clinical Problems. The Role of the Temperament of the Psychotherapist.
Elaine Aron, PhD, has published numerous articles in academic journals on the highly sensitive person, including surveys, laboratory experiments, and neuroimaging studies. Her writings on other topics include books, chapters, and journal articles on close relationships as well as co-authoring a statistics textbook. Her writing for the general public includes the best selling Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Child, and The Undervalued Self. Dr. Aron maintains a psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, teaches public and professional workshops, and continues her research on the trait of sensitivity.
'Highly sensitive people disproportionately benefit from supporting experiences, like therapy, yet prove especially vulnerable to adverse ones, including troubled childhoods. This insightful volume, which explains why that is the case and provides guidance for maximizing treatment efficacy, should be on every therapist’s bookshelf.' - Jay Belsky, Director, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, University of London
'Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person is a must-read for every therapist since up to fifty percent of therapy clients may have the trait of high sensitivity. The book is a brilliant, scholarly work filled with many fascinating vignettes and examples about how to treat the sensitive client. It will teach the therapist how to recognize and work with a highly sensitive client by employing therapeutic techniques to help the client manage their emotions, develop satisfactory relationships, and create a manageable work environment.' - Ted Zeff, PhD, author, The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide, The Strong, Sensitive Boy
'When it comes to psychotherapy, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Indeed, patients fundamentally differ in their openness or susceptibility to all kinds of therapies and interventions. Dr. Aron deeply understands this and has spent most of her professional life studying differences between people in their sensitivities to the social and physical world around them. Psychotherapy and the Highly Sensitive Person provides an indispensible guide to understanding highly sensitive people—both their frailties and unique strengths—and how to help them turn potential vulnerabilities into real-life advantages.' - Bruce Ellis, John & Doris Norton Endowed Chair, Fathers, Parenting, and Families, University of Arizona; co-developer, Theory of Biological Sensitivity to Context
"...an importand addition to the literature on people born with 'highly sensitive' (HS) temperament...Every therapist would greatly benefit from reading this book." - Richard House, Ph.D., Therapy Today
"Elaine Aron has emerged as something of a doyenne in the temperament field...[Like] her earlier books, it is comprehensive and well-grounded in research and theory...Aron is a dedicated advocate for her group, and this book adds to her list of unusually compelling and well-considered offerings...[It] will serve as something of a compendium to which I am likely to turn each time I come across a highly sensitive soul, still struggling to accept her predilections." -Rob Pluke, South Africa, New Therapist