High Sensitivity in Therapists and Clients with Alane Freund | POP 818

A photo of Alane Freund is captured. She is family therapist who specializes in highly sensitive people. Alane is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Do you find yourself easily influenced by your surroundings? Are you a highly sensitive therapist? What are the common four HSP traits?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about high sensitivity in therapists and clients with Alane Freund.

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Meet Alane Freund

A photo of Alane Freund is captured. She is family therapist who specializes in highly sensitive people. Alane is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Alane Freund is an International Consultant on High Sensitivity (ICHS) and a family therapist who helps highly sensitive adults and youth focus on solutions through therapy, consultation, and speaking. She has developed numerous programs for highly sensitive people, families, youth, and clinicians who serve them including her monthly workshops at Are You Highly Sensitive Live.

Alane is known for her widely recognized Talk at Google, Understanding the Highly Sensitive Person.

Visit Alanefreund.com and connect with her on FacebookInstagramYoutube, and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • High sensitivity terminology
  • Parenting a highly sensitive child
  • Tips for therapists about HSPs
  • The four HSP traits
  • The HSP therapist
  • Alane’s advice to private practitioners

High sensitivity terminology

[High sensitivity] is an evolutionary imperative … over 100 species … has between 15% and 30% of its members [that] have a more reactive brain.

Alane Freund

Highly sensitive people are products of evolution that keep the group safe, protected, and aware of the surroundings.

Some basic characteristics of highly sensitive people include:

  • High empathy with others
  • Being sensitive to lights
  • Being sensitive to noise
  • Awareness of smells
  • Awareness of subtle changes in the environment

People who are highly sensitive are just more tuned into their environment and [are] more impacted by it.

Alane Freund

Parenting a highly sensitive child

1 – Rhythm and routine: having a morning and an evening routine is a great help to everybody – especially highly sensitive people!

It’s good for everybody, it’s critical for highly sensitive people, and it’s a game-changer for highly sensitive children and youth.

Alane Freund

2 – Focus on proper rest: our brains never fully rest, and because people already lead industrious lives, highly sensitive people need more downtime than the average person to relax and unwind.

3 – Reset between screen time and genuine downtime: after using screens or completing a task – for HSP youths and adults – consider taking a walk outside or doing some stretches to signal to the brain that it’s time to start resting.

Tips for therapists about HSPs

First of all, therapists can change the life of a highly sensitive person just by identifying them.

Alane Freund
  • If you suspect that your client is a highly sensitive person, share the knowledge with them and see if it resonates, because it can make a big positive impact in their lives to know that what they experience is normal.
  • Be careful of offering mindfulness meditation to HSPs: meditation works great for everybody, HSPs included.

However, because their brains process so much so quickly, quietening their thoughts would feel like a near-impossible task. Rather, encourage them to try breathwork or to simply practice being aware of their thoughts, instead of trying to silence the mind.

  • Encourage them to have a notebook on hand when meditating: if something comes up that interests them, they can write it down to come back to it later, instead of pushing it away and then fretting about forgetting it.

For an HSP when they finally start to quiet down into meditation, that’s when the important thoughts come because they’re so overwhelmed the rest of the time.

Alane Freund

The four HSP traits

D – Depth of processing

O – Overwhelmed or easily overstimulated

E – Empathy and strong emotional reactions

S – Sensitivity to subtle stimuli

Learn more about high sensitivity on Alane’s website.

The HSP therapist

To be a highly sensitive person and work as a therapist will mean that you need to have strong boundaries and self-care in place to protect your mental and emotional health.

Highly sensitive therapists need longer breaks, 10 minutes won’t cut it between clients because you’re taking everything in so deeply that it’s a lot. You need more time in between.

Alane Freund
  • Get comfortable in your sessions: consider seeing clients outside or virtually if in-person sessions feel too daunting back-to-back or with intensive clients
  • Find great consultation: get in touch with a mentor, consultant, and therapist to help you help others.
  • Be gentle with yourself: your brain is slightly different as an HSP to the average person, and the world is not designed with HSPs in mind, so you need to create the structures that you need to thrive within your own life yourself.

Alane’s advice to private practitioners

You do enough. Take a loving chant or meditation and say it to yourself every day.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Sponsors mentioned in this episode:

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Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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