About the NCHS

The NCHS was sadly closing in 2020 due to struggles sustaining funding and also the health and self-care needs of its very small team. We aim to keep this website’s information going in the meantime, as a resource, and there is a possibility of a skeleton team taking on responsibilities for content and responses at some point in the future, we will let you know if that happens. The National Centre’s founder, Barbara Allen, wishes you all well and looks forward to continuing to support HSPs, their parents and those who provide services to them from her part-time private practice, Growing Unlimited Consultancy.

There are also Meetup groups for the HSPs, which you can join to attend events specially designed for highly sensitive people at:

The National Centre for High Sensitivity was founded by Barbara Allen in 2010, as a result of working consciously as a therapist with HSPs for over ten years and the experience of providing Meetups since 2008, for sensitive people to meet each other, share, learn and commune.This organisation hoped to bring together information about Sensory Processing Sensitivity, a variety of services useful to highly sensitive people (HSPs) and to provide a platform of community for HSPs, their families and friends, and the professionals who provide services to them. It was also hoped over time to develop as a centre for learning, discussion and research that will benefit all.

During its 10 years, the National Centre for High Sensitivity has introduced the trait of high sensitivity to a lot of professionals and people across the UK and supported HSPs with a variety of services and events. As its legacy, we have HSP aware professionals throughout the UK now (see our Directory), who are continuing to raise awareness about the trait and support HSPs. There are also HSP communities now across the UK aware of their trait and living authentic lives as highly sensitive people.

In recent years, thanks to the dedicated research of Dr Elaine N Aron, we now have some wonderful books, literature and ongoing research that is both enlightening and validating for highly sensitive people (HSPs) and those who know them. One of the most striking things one becomes aware of, is just how many sensitive individuals fail to thrive or to reach their true potential, or struggle to deal with the overstimulating world in which we all live. Often this happens because of misunderstanding and the invisibility of a quiet minority who needs the right environment in which to thrive.

Dr Elaine Aron, author of the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’ describes Sensory Processing Sensitivity thus:

“Your trait is normal. It is found in 15 to 20% of the population–too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you.

It is innate. In fact, biologists have found it to be in most or all animals, from fruit flies and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’.

You are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So even if you wear glasses, for example, you see more than others by noticing more.

You are also more easily overwhelmed. If you notice everything, you are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.

This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called “shy.” But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extraverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait.

Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSPs tend to have low self-esteem. They are told “don’t be so sensitive” so that they feel abnormal.”

As you can see, HSPs are different, but normal 🙂

For more information about Dr Elaine N Aron, please go to www.hsperson.com

For more information about Barbara Allen-Williams, please go to www.growingunlimited.co.uk