If you stumbled onto this site, you must have felt that the word sensitive resonated somehow with you and you may want to know more. For others, you may already have that word figured out but wonder about the word empath, as you have been called that, too. My intention is to reach out to people with all different levels of knowledge about these special traits, so I will do my best to lay things out in a detailed and clear way.
First off, I want to give recognition to the woman who really started this whole movement, Elaine Aron, PhD. She studied the trait that she has coined Highly Sensitive and wrote a book called The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms you. I can tell you that this book had a very positive impact on me. I highly recommend that you read it. To get it at a good price, you may purchase it on Amazon by clicking on the link here:
I have included a page with Dr. Aron's HSP questionnaire that you can take to find out if you qualify as a Highly Sensitive Person. You can access Elaine Aron's HSP questionnaire by clicking here. Should you want to print the questionnaire off and have a hard copy, just click here.
There is another woman whose work has positively impacted my life. Her name is Judith Orloff, MD. She wrote a book called The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. She does a good job differentiating who a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is with who an Empath is. Once again, I highly recommend you read this book. You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking on this link:
I am quoting this directly from Dr. Orloff’s book.
Empaths share some or all of the traits of what psychologist Elaine Aron calls
Highly Sensitive People, or HSPs. These traits include a low threshold for
stimulation, the need for alone time, sensitivity to light, sound and smell, plus
an aversion to large groups. In addition, it takes highly sensitive people longer
to wind down after a busy day because of their system’s ability to transition
from high stimulation to quiet and calm is slower. Empaths also share a highly
sensitive person’s love of nature and quiet environments.
Empaths, however, take the experience of a highly sensitive person further. We
can sense subtle energy, which is called shakti or prana in Eastern healing traditions,
and we absorb this energy into our bodies. Highly sensitive people don’t typically
do that. This capacity allows us to experience the energies around us in extremely
deep ways. Since everything is made up of subtle energy, including emotions and
physical sensations, we energetically internalize the feelings, pain, and various
physical sensations of others. We often have trouble distinguishing someone else’s
discomfort from our own. Also, some empaths, are even able to communicate with
animals, nature, and their inner guides. Being a highly sensitive person and an empath
are not mutually exclusive: you can be both at the same time. (p.p.5-6)
Dr. Orloff also has a questionnaire that you can take to find out if you qualify as an empath. To find out if you are an empath, click here. to access that questionnaire or click here to print off a hard copy of it.
I recommend that you consider reading the books in my references section.
Aron, E.N. (1996). The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Aron, E.N. (1999). The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Orloff. J. (2017). The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Boulder, CO: True Books.
Orloff, J. (2017). Essential Tools for Empaths: A Survival Guide for Sensitive People. Audiobook. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
Amazon tends to have the best deals on books these days. I will include their store widget here. Should you wish to order from Amazon, just scroll to the bottom of the widget to the search bar, type in what you are searching for and it will take you there. Technology is amazing, isn't it?
CLICK HERE to take Elaine Aron's Questionnaire
CLICK HERE to take Judith Orloff's Questionnaire