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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.

Apr 16, 2019


Anya Surnitsky, LCSW


We use Brene Brown’s work on attachment to talk about security, safety, how we get our needs met, and how to survive when our needs aren't being met. What we all want is to be seen, heard, and to feel valued. Oftentimes, we are triggered due to Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), and trauma, which creates conflict in our relationships. We talk about shame, and Brene Brown’s antidote, which is empathy. In order for shame to survive, it requires secrecy, silence, and judgment.


  • Anya discusses her personal experience as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
  • We are wired for survival and connection
  • What is attachment? Everyday examples of what attachment is, and how it is affected by the world around us
  • We discuss fear, and how it can be used productively
  • Safety and connection are basic needs
  • A lot of times, in relationships, we don't feel safe during a disagreement or a conflict
  • Shame develops when we are let-down or abandoned. We tend to question what we did wrong.
  • Anya provides some great tools for recognizing when we get triggered, and how we can work through shame attacks in order to move from our Reptilian Brain ('T-Rex Brain') back to our frontal lobe where productive communication can take place
  • We discuss Alice Miller's book The Drama of the Gifted Child⦁ As adults, we often begin to recognize the effects of traumatic events from our childhood
  • We discuss trauma with a little 't'
  • Often times, there is a direct correlation between our caregivers' parental strengths and our strengths as adults
  • Anya shares examples for different kinds of triggers
  • Anya explains 'Box Breathing' as an effective tool to use when we feel triggered
    • A technique for breathing includes the concept of--'smell the roses; blow out the candles'
  • We discuss positive ways to navigate situations when we are activated
  • We discuss The Story We Make Up In Our Heads, and how it can be used to break up shame; feel safe in our vulnerability, and restore security in our relationships


Brene Brown Super Soul Sunday on trust:

CES Therapy


Anya Surnitsky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice outside Philadelphia, PA. She helps anxious high achievers and overgivers with big wounded hearts to transform their pain into power and avoidance into action. 
Anya uses her training in EMDR, Ego State Therapy, and Childhood Emotional Neglect, as well as her certification in The Daring WayTM to aid clients in making peace with the past, embrace the present, and develop confidence for the future. Anya is passionate about educating clients on how trauma and/or neglect affects the developing brain to understand how unhealed wounds from the past show up in the present and can have a negative impact on their future.  With these various approaches, Anya shows clients how to heal from both a top-down and a bottom-up approach; we can heal the brain so it can learn to help itself, and we can also learn skills to help ourselves on a conscious level. 

Throughout her personal and professional journey, Anya has learned that what people want more than anything is to be seen and heard for who they are at their core.  For Unapologetically Sensitive listeners, Anya has put together some scripts for hard conversations to help HSP’s ask to be heard and dare to be seen in their relationships. Go to  


Patricia Young, LCSW is a therapist in San Diego who is in private practice.  Patricia works primarily with Highly Sensitive People (HSP) helping them understand their HSPness, and to turn their perceived shortcomings into superpowers.  Patricia is passionate about providing education to help HSPs and non-HSPs understand and truly appreciate all the gifts we have to offer.  Patricia provides online (telehealth) therapy to people who live in California.  We meet over a private platform (similar to Skype), and you can have therapy from the privacy of your own home—when the kids are at school or are napping; from work; in your pajamas, or when you just can’t face sitting in traffic or going out.




Dr. Elaine Aron’s website— 

HSP Self-test-- 
HSP Child self-test-- 

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MUSIC—Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson
Editor - David Petlansky of Pitseleh Pictures -