The Highly Sensitive Person

The Highly Sensitive Person in Psychotherapy


Saturday 25 July 2020 - A Live Webinar

A Workshop with Dr Elaine Aron, Dr Art Aron and Dr Michael Pluess

  • Includes a recording of the event with access for a year (14 days post the event)
  • Bookings close at 9.00am BST Thursday 23 July

We often think of highly sensitive people as having less structured boundaries than others: their heightened responses can be confused with poor ego function, with personality or mood disorders. But in this conference we will be looking at new work with Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) as those who have an innate trait of sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).




12.30 BST
Dr Michael Pluess
Individual Differences in Environmental Sensitivity: Risk, Resilience and Implications for Treatment
The notion that some people are more affected than others by the same experience is widely embraced in most fields of psychology and usually framed in a Diathesis-Stress perspective: some people are more vulnerable to adverse experiences as a function of inherent risk characteristics (eg, personality, genes). More recently, it has been suggested that individuals may vary in their Environmental Sensitivity more generally: some are more affected by both negative as well as positive influences. Building on this now empirically well-supported proposition, the concept of Vantage Sensitivity refers to variation in response to exclusively positive experiences, such as psychological interventions (Pluess & Belsky, 2013). After introducing these different theoretical perspectives and presenting empirical evidence for each of them featuring behavioural, physiological, neuroimaging and genetic factors as moderators of a wide range of experiences ranging from family environment and psychotherapy to educational intervention, Michael will point out important conceptual differences between the concepts before discussing potential mechanisms of sensitivity and practical implications.


Dr Elaine Aron
Clinical Implications of the Research for Assessment
The research findings on differential susceptibility, along with the characteristics of SPS associated with it, do make assessment complex. Presentations may vary from a patient with a good childhood but severely stressed due to being overstimulated by mismanaged success, to those with traumatic childhoods or severe attachment issues who are deeply troubled and in whom sensitivity might be missed. Further assessment complications result from other traits that may be present, for example, extraversion or high sensation seeking. We will discuss what to look for in a patient’s history and current presentation, and the three mistakes to be avoided. Elaine will conclude the session with an experiential exercise.


Dr Elaine Aron
Most Typical Clinical Issues Related to the Trait
In this session Elaine will describe some typical problems of HSPs with the clinical implications for supporting clients. These issues include dealing with overstimulation and setting boundaries; managing their stronger emotional reactions, particularly in relation to criticism; low self-esteem; and the need to reframe even a good childhood and work history. Also therapists may need to support clients to consider the feasibility of continuing in a lifestyle like those without the trait. In the time remaining we will explore a few of the special issues that arise for highly sensitive men, highly sensitive children and highly sensitive parents.


Dr Art Aron
Highly Sensitive People in Close Relationships
Art will discuss the extensive social psychological research on close relationships, data which clinicians do not usually have the opportunity to hear, focusing on the research on HSPs in these relationships or the implications of the general research to this population. He will feature extensive suggestions of evidence-based methods, beyond communication skills, that couples that include an HSP can use to improve their relationships. Elaine will then lead participants in an active imagination exploring therapists’ countertransference feelings about high sensitivity, either due to themselves having the trait or due to a relationship with an important highly sensitive person in their past (e.g., partner, parent, child, patient).




Handouts included:

Bookings close at 9.00am BST Thursday 23 July

Confer member:
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Certificates of attendance for 5 hours will be provided


This is a live online webinar using Zoom software. Zoom is free to download and use.

For more information about Zoom click here.

To download Zoom free of charge click here.


12.30 (BST) Dr Michael Pluess
13.45 Break
14.00 Dr Elaine Aron
15.15 Break
15.45 Dr Elaine Aron
17.00 Break
17.30 Dr Art Aron
18.00 Discussion
18.30 End


Regrettably, refunds cannot be given in any circumstances except as follows:

  • You cancel in writing to 60 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 100% refund.
  • You cancel in writing to 30 days before the first date of the event you have booked, in which case you will be entitled to a 50% refund.

This does not apply to parts of an event such as a seminar within a series but only to a whole event or complete series. You may give your place to another person if you let us know that person's name at least 24 hours before the event begins.

We reserve the right to change a speaker at one of our conferences without offering a refund. However, if a solo presenter cancels we will offer a full refund OR transfer of your fee to another Confer event. If the entire event is cancelled we will offer you a full refund.

We reserve the right to change our prices at any time. Regrettably, discounts offered after you made your booking cannot be claimed or applied retrospectively.