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The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N.…

The Highly Sensitive Person (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D.

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1,278126,154 (3.88)28
Title:The Highly Sensitive Person
Authors:Elaine N. Aron Ph.D.
Info:Broadway Books (1997), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 251 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron (1996)


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Forty-two. Seriously. So many things began to make sense.

So much value in this book for someone who suspects they themselves or someone they love is Highly Sensitive. And it would be a fantastic arrow in the quiver of Health Care and Teaching professionals who would never want to inadvertently harm the people they profess to help.

The 2012 Introduction to this Mid-90s book, was a little rough in the flow department. Scan; you'll get the gist. Better yet, skip it and read it at the end; it'll make more sense.

The author is a clinical and research psychologist with Jungian training and while I felt the final chapter was spot-on and enhanced the book's more factually-oriented tone, some might say it strays to far into the realms of woo-woo. The main message will in no way suffer if you just choose to skip that chapter.

( )
  kbosso | May 2, 2017 |
This book was suggested to me nearly five years ago and at the time I chose to read a more current book on the subject titled [b:The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World|19061424|The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World|Ted Zeff|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1406512411s/19061424.jpg|149984] by [a:Ted Zeff|89950|Ted Zeff|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1446163474p2/89950.jpg]. Since Amazon recently had the Kindle version of [b:The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You|923950|The Highly Sensitive Person How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You|Elaine N. Aron|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320525063s/923950.jpg|908967] on sale, I decided it was a good time to finally read it.

Just for a little background, [a:Elaine N. Aron|89949|Elaine N. Aron|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1401536347p2/89949.jpg] has done many years of research on the highly sensitive person(ality) and studied at the San Francisco Jung Institute. She is a self proclaimed HSP and her writings, theories and research does reflect some of that Jungian psychological training.

In a nutshell, Aron's research shows that the HSPs make up about 20 percent of the population. The predominant trait of observing before acting or being more aware than others of subtleties is actually an innate survival strategy that has been observed by scientists in over 100 species. It is believed that the brain processes information differently and reflects on it more deeply. As a result, many HSPs are also more easily overwhelmed by chaotic, and intense situations that go on for prolonged periods.

Also, according to the book, many HSPs have been mislabeled as being shy, inhibited or neurotic but ongoing studies have shown that over 30 percent of those showing the HSP trait are actually extroverts. (I guess one could use the term "extremely cautious and observant" for the predominate HSP trait, whether the individual is an introvert or extrovert?) Along with this trait many HSPs are also highly empathetic, conscientious, loyal, vigilant about quality, good with details, often gifted, and thoughtful. Finally, in cultures where sensitivity is not highly regarded (such as the US) many HSPs often have low self esteem.

Since I already had some knowledge of this subject matter before reading the book, I wasn't certain how much I would learn. I did appreciate the fact that Aron included many references to her research and other psychological studies, as I feel it helps to validate HSP as being a distinct and real personality trait. Unfortunately the original book was written in the early 1990s, so I felt some aspects of the information was dated. The version of Aron's book that I read, included a new preface by the author that commented on some of the newer research, so that was helpful.

The book spent many chapters discussing childhood experiences, their potential impact on HSPs and how therapy can be helpful. Although, I agree it is useful to have some knowledge of this, I felt that the author spent too much time discussing the subject. Instead, I would have preferred that the author included some chapters with practical tips and coping mechanisms for HSPs to deal with specific situations. ([a:Ted Zeff's|89950|Ted Zeff|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1446163474p2/89950.jpg] book does focus more on specific skills to learn and use, however it does delve into the highly spiritual side of that topic.) So, if Aron's book were ever to be rewritten, I would hope for it to be some combination of theory, references to studies, discussion of specific traits associated with HSPs and specific coping skills.

Individuals who would probably benefit from or enjoy reading this book are those that feel they might be an HSP or have a HSP family member. [a:Elaine N. Aron|89949|Elaine N. Aron|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1401536347p2/89949.jpg] has a self-test on her website that may be useful in helping an individual decide if the HSP trait(s) are applicable to themselves. As Aron does state though, no psychological quizzes are 100% accurate. Although I do not have an a Masters or PhD in psychology, I personally feel that some of the questions are very general or could be attributed to other psychological conditions but perhaps that is true of many psychological tests.

Do I feel my fellow HSP friend was astute in recommending this book to me? Oh my goodness, absolutely and I will be forever grateful to her! I wish I had known about this book far earlier in my life, as it has provided an explanation for so many of my personal attributes. Although I sometimes still wish I had a far less sensitive nature combined with an outgoing personality, at least I realize that I am perfectly fine just being myself.
( )
  Lisa805 | Jul 23, 2016 |
Or maybe I won't read it. One reviewer says that the author thinks atheists have warrior personalities - but what about people like me, both sensitive and atheist? Some reviewers laud the medical advice, some say there's not enough concrete advice of any kind but just validation. Some reviewers say Aron talks about being sensitive as a condition due to chemical imbalances, etc.; some say she says our sensitivity is inborn.

Ok, I could read this to get my own take. Or I could just skip it. I prefer [b:Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking|8520610|Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking|Susan Cain|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328562861s/8520610.jpg|13387396] as it's newer, more inclusive, and addresses not just the 'victims' but the extroverts, too.

I will keep my eyes open for other newer books on the topic. And yes, in anything to do with brain science, new means within the last 2-3 years and does really matter.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Read enough to know that this would have been wonderful if I'd read it back in the day. ?

I do still appreciate the more [one] avoids stimulation, the more arousing the remaining stimulation becomes." ?áI must bear in mind that my desire to escape into hermitude is not actually an appropriate or healthy goal.

I will do the exercise at the end of the chapter on medications: "What I would change if a safe pill would change it."

I can't read this library copy more thoroughly, though, because the previous owner read it with a cat on her lap and I'm allergic. ?áI'm certainly aroused with irritation now! ?áThank goodness I'm at a pretty good place in my life now, and I was able to enjoy the newer, somewhat more scientific book, the GR winner Quiet, recently." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
This is the second significant book I have read about HSPs/introversion (though this author doesn't like the latter term). I didn't get as much out of this as I did out of Susan Cain's excellent Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. There was rather too much about the raising of children, brain chemistry and other subjects for me. Also, I didn't care for the author's insistence that HSPs are almost a separate species of humanity. She sees HSPs as about 20% of the population, as opposed to Cain's introverts making up between one third and one half, so the subject audience of the book is not identical, though any of the same issues arise. While I self-identify as both an HSP and an introvert, I didn't get a great deal out of this book. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 7, 2015 |
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I believe in aristocracy, though - if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power... but... of the sensitive, the considerate... Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure...

E.M.Forster, "What I Believe," in Two Cheers for Democracy
To Irene Bernardicou Pettit, Ph.D. - being both poet and peasant, she knew how to plant this seed and tend it until it blossomed.

To Art, who especially loves the flowers - one more love we share.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553062182, Paperback)

Are you an HSP? Are you easily overwhelmed by stimuli? Affected by other people's moods? Easily startled? Do you need to withdraw during busy times to a private, quiet place? Do you get nervous or shaky if someone is observing you or competing with you? HSP, shorthand for "highly sensitive person," describes 15 to 20 percent of the population. Being sensitive is a normal trait--nothing defective about it. But you may not realize that, because society rewards the outgoing personality and treats shyness and sensitivity as something to be overcome. According to author Elaine Aron (herself an HSP), sensitive people have the unusual ability to sense subtleties, spot or avoid errors, concentrate deeply, and delve deeply. This book helps HSPs to understand themselves and their sensitive trait and its impact on personal history, career, relationships, and inner life. The book offers advice for typical problems. For example, you learn strategies for coping with overarousal, overcoming social discomfort, being in love relationships, managing job challenges, and much more. The author covers a lot of material clearly, in an approachable style, using case studies, self-tests, and exercises to bring the information home. The book is essential for you if you are an HSP--you'll learn a lot about yourself. It's also useful for people in a relationship with an HSP. --Joan Price

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:42 -0400)

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A national best-seller in hardcover, this book identifies and defines a new personality type -- and shows readers how to overcome its limitations and maximize its strengths.

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