If your child seems to be “extra” impacted by things—whether it’s light, noise, pain, or even other people’s emotions—he or she might be highly sensitive. High sensitivity is a genetic trait that affects up to 20% of the population, and is often misunderstood and mistaken for other differences and disorders. What makes it difficult is that when unrecognized and unsupported, highly sensitive children (and adults) tend to exhibit high levels of anxiety, overwhelm, and emotional outbursts, due to their finely tuned nervous systems. But this sensitivity can also be a rich and valuable way to experience the world. 

My guest today is Alane Freund, a licensed family therapist, an International Consultant on High Sensitivity, and a highly sensitive person herself. In this episode, Alane explains to us what high sensitivity is, how it shows up in children, teens, and adults, and gives her insights on how parents can help their highly sensitive kids flourish.

 

About Alane: Alane Freund, MS, MA, LMFT has helped adults, youth, and families focus on solutions through psychotherapy and consultation over three decades in the mental health field. An International Consultant on High Sensitivity (ICHS) working closely with Dr. Elaine Aron, Ms. Freund has developed and implemented programs for highly sensitive people, children, families, and clinicians who serve them. She also holds Masters’ degrees in clinical psychology and school counseling. Ms. Freund specializes in family therapy and education with and about highly sensitive people and LGBTQ+ families. A skilled facilitator and therapist, an HSP herself, and the parent of a highly sensitive young adult, she teaches workshops, offers consultation, has a twice monthly live Q&A webinar, and leads groups and retreats, including the HSPs & Horses™ retreats at Heart and Mind Equine in Northern California with Elaine Aron, PhD (CEs offered). Ms. Freund is an instructor at retreat centers, Kripalu in Massachusetts and 1440 Multiversity in California, as well as teaching at the Community Institute for Psychotherapy and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

 

THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • What is meant by the term highly sensitive person and how it differs from sensory processing disorders
  • The four traits associated with high sensitivity (HS): depth of processing, over-arousal/overwhelm, emotional reactions and empathy, and sensitivity to subtle stimuli
  • How HS is often misdiagnosed as other disorders
  • How common is HS (even among other species)
  • What to know about differential susceptibility and why it is so important for parenting HS kids
  • How to best support HS kids

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

  • Finely Tuned (Alane’s blog about highly sensitive teens)

 

SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR

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