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Unapologetically Sensitive

We explore how sensitivity weaves itself into our lives; the richness that it adds, and the strengths we have BECAUSE of our sensitivity--and some of the challenges it poses as well. You may learn to live a bolder, brighter life.

Oct 22, 2019


The Traits of Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and What It Means To Be Fully Integrated



Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC



Jacquelyn Strickland co-created the HSP Gathering Retreats with Dr. Elaine Aron in 2000, and she has worked exclusively with HSPs since then. Jacquelyn talks about the 4 Core Characteristics of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and the differences between Highly Sensitive and non-Highly Sensitive introverts and extroverts, as well as the ambivert. Jaquelyn also talks about sensitivity as we age, and what it means to be fully integrated with a strong sense of self-identity as an HSP.




  • We discuss the term Highly Sensitive Person and Jacquelyn shares her thoughts about this name
  • There are 1.4 Billion HSPs in the world and we all share these 4 core characteristics
  • The 4 Core Characteristics of being a Highly Sensitive Person as coined by Dr. Elaine Aron
    • D—Depth of Processing
      • Elaine Aron feels that Depth of Processing is a key component for HSPs
      • Depth of processing happens in the pre-frontal cortex, so HSPs see breadth and depth of things around us
      • We reflect more than others on the way the world is going
      • We think about the meaning of life
      • We Wonder about the quality of relationships we’re in
      • We’re aware of social justice issues
    • O—Overarousal and Overstimulation
      • That feeling of being stressed out
      • Feeling burnt out
      • This may be the most negative thing HSPs experience since our current dominant culture is about doing
      • Chronic overstimulation can lead to depression and anxiety
    • E—Emotional Responsiveness and Empathy
      • We bring more emotional intensity and empathy in most every situation
      • There’s a difference between emotional intensity and emotional reactivity
      • We can honor our emotional intensity—this is where we express our feelings in the arts, writing beautiful poems, people who show or speak passionately about they feel
      • We have more mirror neurons
    • S—Sensitive to Subtleties
      • We can notice when the barometric pressure is dropping
      • Some HSPs may have perfect pitch
      • We have more side effects to medications
      • We are usually sensitive to changes in temperature
      • We may notice the sound of a ticking clock or dripping water


  • 70% of Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) are introverts
  • 30% of Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) are extroverts
  • There are 5 distinct groups we need to look at when talking about introversion and extroversion
    • HS introvert
    • HS extrovert
    • Non-HS introvert
    • Non-HS extrovert
    • Ambivert
  • Jacquelyn also talks about the Myer’s Briggs and what it means when scores on introversion or extroversion are high and low
  • The concept of the battery being charged for extroverts and drained for introverts when they are around people is primarily talking about Non-HSPs
  • A HS extrovert will enjoy being alone; will need time to recharge after extroverting, and will probably choose specific venues to socializing that are different than a Non-HS extrovert
  • A HS extrovert needs to find the right amount of novel stimulation, to renew and recharge
  • A HS extrovert may want to know who will be at the party (their political affiliation, what the activities will be; how long will the activity last) in order to see if it satisfies our HS needs
  • As we get older, we may get more particular about where and how we choose to expend our energy and time
  • We can be sensitive extroverts, or we can choose to introvert
  • You can be a HS extrovert and still feel socially awkward or not always feel at ease in social situations
  • Our depth of processing can make it challenging if we’re reading the room, or we may go home and wonder if we talked too much or did things right
  • If you feel uncomfortable in a social situation, it helps to have a role—volunteer to help; arrive early before it gets crowded
  • When we worry about doing things right or following the rules it can make it harder for us to trust that how we show up is just right
  • I thought I had social anxiety, was anxious, was an introvert, so I avoided social situations and felt depressed and lethargic. Turns out, I’m a Highly Sensitive Extrovert, which is why I’m so passionate about providing information to others who may read memes around introversion and mistakenly identify
  • The ambivert doesn’t have the DOES, but can choose whether to introvert or extrovert
  • We want to be fully self-identified and integrated as HSPs regardless of whether we’re an introvert or extrovert
  • Once we get fully integrated with a strong sense of self-identify, when we’ve healed our wounds, when we’ve reframed our past, when we’ve got a plan of knowing when and how to be out in the world, we don’t hide anymore.
  • We talk about sensitivity and whether it increases as we age
  • We discuss HSPs and social media
  • We talk about the HSP retreats that Jacquelyn has been running and the benefits and unexpected gifts she’s seen people get from these retreats
  • We talk about some of the things that are unrelated to being an HSP that are often posted in groups, and then people identify and things that are not related to being an HSP get mistakenly attributed to being an HSP
  • Jacquelyn acknowledges Dr. Elaine Aron’s work and the fact that she’s opened the doors for many people (myself included) to specialize in working with The Highly Sensitive Person
  • Thank you Dr. Elaine Aron!



Jacquelyn has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1993, which is the same year she became certified to utilize the statistically valid & reliable Myers Briggs Personality Assessment.   Her professional and personal lives took synchronistic detour when she stumbled across Elaine Aron’s original work in May 1996 while waiting for a bus not far from where Elaine lives in Marin County, California.    Since that time, Jacquelyn has devoted herself to empowering sensitive people around the world.  She and Elaine co-created the HSP Gathering Retreats in 2001, and there have been 35 and counting HSP Gatherings, both nationally and internationally – in Canada, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, and on both U.S. coasts and in between.   She is an Advanced HSP Consultant , one  of 15 national & international HSP professionals trained by Elaine Aron in 2018 on the concept, measurement and research regarding of Sensory Processing Sensitivity and the highly sensitive person

Besides Elaine Aron, major influences which have informed Jacquelyn’s work have been her background in Social Work, Women’s Studies, Brene Brown, Eco Psychology & her Nature as Teacher & Healer experiences.  She is fortunate to live in Colorado where she has been able to immerse herself in nature for days at a time over the last 30 years. She has recently added the title of Sage – and she teaches, mentors, and counsels not only with knowledge of our HSP trait, but also with decades of wisdom from living authentically as an HSP.  Elaine talks of this stage as the Priestly Advisor.    

She has been married to a major introvert, non-HSP, since 1978 .  Her relationship with someone so different than me is what prompted my study of temperaments, including the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram.  She is the mother of two grown sons, one a  HSP, and the grandmother of 3 grandchildren, ages 4, 2 and 1.   Her oldest granddaughter is a sensitive extrovert, like her grandmother.   




Patricia Young works with Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) helping them to understand their HSP traits, and turning their perceived shortcomings into superpowers. Patricia is passionate about providing education to help HSPs and non-HSPs understand and truly appreciate the amazing gifts they have to offer. Patricia works globally online with HSPs providing coaching. Patricia also facilitates online groups for HSPs that focus on building community and developing skills (identifying your superpowers, boundaries, perfectionism, dealing with conflict, mindfulness, embracing emotions, creating a lifestyle that supports the HSP, communication and more).



Jacquelyn’s Links


Website-- LifeWorks!

Stages of Cultural Awareness/Acceptance As An HSP--


Top Ten Reasons to Have a HSP Dyad Parntership--

Introversion, Extroversion and The Highly Sensitive Person--

HSP Highlights & Insights Ezine: Sign up Here--


You can like the HSP Gathering Retreat Facebook Page here:


The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron



Patricia’s Links


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