The Highly Sensitive Person

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Back to Comfort ZoneAugust 2006: Comfort Zone ONLINE
A Letter from Elaine
The HSP Community Has Staying Power

Dear Readers,

An Anniversary. This month, August, is the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Highly Sensitive Person. More precisely, on August 25, 1996, it appeared out of nowhere (from the viewpoint of publishing) on the San Francisco Chronicle's hardcover best seller list at fourteen. That caused Broadway Books, now part of Random House, to purchase the paperback rights from the original small publisher, Carol Publishing, now out of business, and the rest is history.

It's a good time to celebrate and think back, which I do in one of the articles for this newsletter. Ten years later, we are reaching out all over the world. Just as examples, Italy and Japan will soon have The Highly Sensitive Child. This September an article by me on sensitivity will appear in the leading psychology magazine in Spain because the book has been published in Spanish. The Highly Sensitive Person in Love is printed in German, Dutch, and Taiwan Chinese. I honestly lose track of where the books are published now!

By the way, I am working hard on a book on psychotherapy with HSPs, so this issue's articles are a little briefer than recent others (and as poorly proofread as ever), but hopefully just as interesting. Maybe you are having a busy summer too and will appreciate the brevity.

New Zealand and Australia. More on the international front: Skye Bothma came all the way from New Zealand for the June West Coast HSP Gathering. It was quite an adventure for her (if you ever meet her, ask her about the San Francisco Youth Hostel). But she is enthused now to move ahead with helping HSPs in that part of the globe to identify themselves and support each other.

New Research. Research on sensitive people is advancing at a good pace. We have found some important brain differences that I cannot announce until the results are accepted where they have been submitted (so that they are not "scooped"), but there is another type of study I can report: We finally have strong empirical data that HSPs are more sensitive to medication. When 69 undergraduates filled out the HSP Scale as well as a standard questionnaire about their sensitivity to medication, there was a strong statistical relationship between the two. Next issue I will have the questionnaire for all of you to take, just for fun.

A Link to Professionals Working with HSPs. In our "links" area of the website there is a link to a list of professionals, mostly coaches right now, who specialize in working with HSPs in various capacities. I hope this list grows. Any doctors or dentists out there who work well with HSPs? Any licensed psychologists? Do remember that someone listed there is not being endorsed by Comfort Zone, but we think the service is important and again, hope it grows.

[EDITOR'S UPDATE 2016: This website seems to no longer be available, but you can now find a list of therapists here, and other professionals here.]

Gatherings. The gathering in Marin this June brought together a thoughtful, dynamic group, as usual. The next gathering will be in September 23 to 27 in British Columbia, on cool, green Gabriola Island. It's a perfect time and place to gather. I'll be speaking to everyone by teleconference on Monday, September 25.

By the way, the gatherings can now be originated by anyone who would like to be a co-host. One or more co-hosts share with Jacquelyn Strickland a little of the pre-conference financial risk (deposits) and organizational burdens (finding a good place, getting the word out locally, etc.). This should make it possible to have more gatherings and in more varied places. She has co-hosts for June 14-17 in the San Franiscico Bay Area. Atlanta? Chicago? Minneapolis? Anyone? And she needs one more (in addition to someone from Tarryton, NY) for the East Coast 2007. This is an excellent way to get to know other HSPs in your area and perhaps create something permanent.

Speaking of creating...

Pearl Buck Speaks from the Past to All of Us
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create--so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

- Pearl S. Buck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1892-1973)

With warmest regards to each of you… Elaine Aron

Next Issue: "Bullying" in the Work Place and the HSP—Changes are Coming

August 2006 Articles:
A Letter from Elaine
Looking Back: How the Concept of HSP (Quietly) Entered the Public Consciousness
Coping Corner: Thoughts on Vacations and Travel
Book Review : The Temperament Perspective by Jan Kristal

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