“There’s a whole range of ways that highly sensitive people can show up in the consulting room in a negative way. There are also huge benefits to being highly sensitive. To fit in with an 80% society of people who are not highly sensitive we need to become very aware of the highly sensitive trait.” ~ Cindy Barnes



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About this interview:

How can we thrive in the world as Highly Sensitive People?  


In this episode Amisha connects with therapist, coach and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Cindy Barnes.   Cindy specialises in working with people who identify as Highly Sensitive or with having the trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity. This is a scientifically verified, hereditary genetic trait shared by around 20% of the population.  


The trait was identified by Dr Elaine Aron in her research published in 1997, but is only recently receiving attention in the form of wider research from the scientific community. Apart from humans, this trait – which involves deep processing, high emotionality, tendency towards overstimulation and heightened sensitivity to stimulus – has been identified in a further 100 species so far.  


Cindy explains what it means to be an HSP, the challenges of living with this trait and also the incredible benefits available when we learn to understand and provide for the particular characteristics of our nervous system. She also shares the results of recent research into the trait and some of the theories about the evolutionary purpose of this trait of high sensitivity in humans and other species.  


Together Amisha and Cindy discuss the experience of living as an HSP, both before and after coming to understand the trait and their own particular manifestations of it. They speak about the varieties within the HSP community – extroverted, introverted and high sensation seeking – and the ways in which HSPs can take care of their sensitivity in order to thrive and reap the benefits of the trait.  


“HSPs are particularly good at seeing the beauty in sadness, the beauty in the difficulties of the world, because we know it’s essential. We know that you can’t have the light without having the dark, that it is important to see all the shadow as well as the light.” ~ Cindy Barnes

Cindy Barnes is a Transactional Analysis Counsellor. Cindy has a special interest in business and work issues due to her previous senior-level business background, and coaches many CEOs of both large and small organisations. She is a passionate environmentalist and supports activists with their resilience. Cindy is also focussed on working with Highly Sensitive People or HSPs and is listed on Dr Elaine Aron’s website. Cindy also holds a a monthly support group for HSPs to build resilience, develop your HSP superpowers and meet others like yourself. Cindy is a qualified counsellor in Transactional Analysis and trained with The Metanoia Institute in London. She is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Climate Psychology Alliance. Cindy also has 30 years of senior P&L business experience and works as a business consultant, coach for business leaders and facilitator of behavioural change programmes. She is MBA qualified and the author of two best-selling business books.

To find out more about Cindy, visit https://cindy-barnes.com

To connect or work with Amisha, visit www.amisha.co.uk  

Links from this episode:

The Highly Sensitive Person

Alanis Morissette and Elaine Aron podcast

Eric Berne M.D. 


Justin Faerman Episode

Jem Bendell Episode

Joanna Macy

The Theory of Positive Disintegration

The Theory of Positive Disintegration and the Highly Sensitive Person Dynamisms at Work

Dabrowski’s poem – Be Greeted Psychoneurotics!

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