Merging our Meetup Groups for HSPs

The National Centre for High Sensitivity (NCHS) is running currently three Meetup Groups for highly sensitive people:

We will be merging these Meetup groups to a single Meetup group for HSPs at: https://www.meetup.com/Growing-Unlimited-Hampshire-HSPs/, to simplify the administration of running our Meetups. The Hampshire Meetup group has the most members and events.  Also, this is the HSP group that has been longest in existence. So, it makes sense that this will be the only merged Meetup the NCHS will be running. All our future Meetup events for HSPs will be listed here, regardless of the location of the event from now on. This will also simplify checking upcoming HSP events for you.

Sadly, when we will  discontinue some of our HSP Meetup Groups, the record of events and messages held on those Meetup sites will be lost. I wish there would be a way to archive that somehow, but according to Meetup.com, one can only archive things individually with copy and paste. If any of our readers would know an easier way to archive our events held in the past and our messages on Meetup.com, we would be grateful, if you would let us know about it!

If you have paid to be a member one of the  discontinued meetup groups, we will transfer your membership payment to the Hampshire HSP meetup group, once you sign up to be a member of that group. Alas, we are not able to transfer this to your name, unless you sign up yourself. So, please remember to do that, if you would like to get regular information about the events we are running for HSPs.

We apologise for the bit of extra work it will take for you to sign up for our merged Meetup group at: https://www.meetup.com/Growing-Unlimited-Hampshire-HSPs/

We hope to welcome you on some of our future events organised for highly sensitive people at some point.

Warmest wishes,
Ildiko Davis
NCHS Newsletter Editor, NCHS Website Coordinator and Online HSP Meetup Facilitator

Article written by Ildiko Davis (e-mail: ildiko.davis@yahoo.co.uk)

Why HSPs Need To Forgive Their Own Past

I think this is something important for a lot of sensitive people. Often, once we realise important things about our trait and re-frame our life experiences to understand why it was hard to thrive, we can unaccountably go through a time of thinking we ‘should’ have realised things earlier, done things differently, started thriving sooner.  We might berate ourselves as if we have used up all our chances in life already.  That’s when we need to forgive ourselves, the way we often reach out and forgive others, over and over again.

Forgive Yourself

At any moment in time, we are doing our very best with what we have, just like everyone else.  The good news is, things can change a lot once we forgive and let go – when we realise who we are when we are not bending out of shape to fit the model of the non-HSP world.

Forgiving ourselves means our energy can be focused on the present. This helps a more positive future unfold, filled with others who can now recognise us for who we are and move towards us, since we are showing a more authentic, recognisable face.  It’s important to forgive and stop judging ourselves if we want to really fulfil our destiny as highly sensitive people.”

barbara_allen-wBarbara Allen

Founder and Director
National Centre for High Sensitivity CIC
Article written by Barbara Allen (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Is Our Educational System Making Highly Sensitive Pupils Sick?

This week I finally found I had had enough.  Over the years, I have heard, supported and vicariously experienced the difficulties of highly sensitive pupils, from all age groups.  Working alongside parents, I have observed a variety of school situations, referral protocols (educational and psychological), attitudes, beliefs and effects and quite frankly, I am in the main, very disappointed with the lack of training provided to teachers and other professionals responsible for meeting the education and emotional needs of sensitive children.  The lack of support given to parents of highly sensitive children and the sheer lack of critical thinking that is behind the way educators respond here in the UK to struggling HSCs in my opinion is beyond belief. So often I have met with parents who are in fact afraid of the educational system and its representatives and I have met with numerous highly sensitive children who are crying out for mercy from within a system that is exhausting, critical and judgmental.

As tempting as it is to have a jolly good rant, I realise that it would be more constructive to put together a proper plan of action to tackle these sad and unnecessary situations more powerfully and usefully.  So, if you are interested in addressing the lack of understanding and support for highly sensitive children in our education, these are the ways that you can have an input towards making a difference:

  • Firstly, if there are parents out there who are experiencing any concerns, or have in the past, about how their highly sensitive child is doing in the UK educational system – please let me know.  Is it something that is a general malaise, or has your child developed particular difficulties, either in their learning, their physical or emotional health?  Did you notice a change once your child went to school, or moved schools or got to a certain age?  Is the cause of the child’s discomfort a result of being in school, a particular activity, a topic, a cultural tone or unfair expectations, or is the school simply failing to take account of how outside matters are affecting them?
  • If you are a child who wants to tell me your concerns – please also contact me – teens can probably do this without help, but if you are younger, ask your parents to help you with this.
  • If you are a teacher who feels concerned that there is not enough knowledgeable support for you or your sensitive pupils, please contact me.  Also contact me if you feel the current set-up doesn’t work well for highly sensitive teachers.  Tell me about your training or lack of it, in the area of sensitivity.
  • Secondly, remember that if you have managed to sort out something positive from the situation, I will be delighted to hear about this also – what did you do?  who helped you?  what needed to happen?  what difference has it made and how are things as a result?  Have you consulted us here at the NCHS and found a way forward?  If your child has had a wonderful education in a wonderful setting, tell us all about it and why you think it worked.
  • Thirdly, tell me why it matters that sensitivity is taken into account and accommodated in our educational system.  We all know that each HSP is different, and some HSCs are more highly sensitive in different ways, so yes, some HSCs will cope better in some situations than other sensitive children – but even so, what is it that has made the path to resolution and thriving hard for both your child and you as a parent?
  • Is there an attitude or belief that schools, educational systems or others have that you feel is mistaken or blocking progress?
  • Lastly, when things go wrong, and you have a highly sensitive child who is beginning to suffer mental health or physical health problems due to stress, how well do the interventions you are offered do?  How long do you wait?  Do they correctly diagnose a problem, do they misdiagnose sensitivity for a problem.  Do they take your child’s sensitivity into account when they decide what to offer?  What do your children think?  What options do they have for improving their situation or future educational path?  Are there any myths expressed to you as parents or to your child about fitting in and getting on in life that you would like to ‘bust’?

I look forward to hearing from you via leaving a comment to this article at the bottom. If you write to us, I would be very grateful if you would be prepared for us to quote (in a generalised and anonymous way), the situation you are describing and the concerns and needs you feel you or your sensitive child have.  Writing up the real experience of this (large) minority within the school system might help us here at the NCHS to find a way to make a difference and get your views heard.  We may later also design a questionnaire to assist us in understanding and analysing where improvements are needed and where the best examples of our educational system lie in terms of how it meets the needs of HSCs. Please do consider letting us know if you would be prepared to fill out a questionnaire at some point (again, anonymously).

barbara_allen-wWell, thank you for reading this far!  I did not expect to be writing this today, but having done so, I do feel a bit better – even though I see that I have given myself a useful, but jolly big task to complete :).  I look forward to reading your comments about this.

Best wishes to you all and thank you in advance for any help you can give, whether in terms of telling us your story or opinion, or donations to the National Centre for High Sensitivity, (even if its just enough to buy a ream of paper!).

Barbara
Founder and Director
National Centre for High Sensitivity CIC
Article written by Barbara Allen (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Get Involved With Our Work

I’m in the midst of pushing to clear the way for the National Centre for High Sensitivity to receive funding and to fulfil more of its work in the ‘bigger picture’. It’s a long road and is taking even longer than I hoped. My meeting with Dr Elaine Aron in March impressed on me how important it is right now to raise awareness (of the accurate kind) and to push ahead in offering info and services in the UK to individuals and organisations. In order to do that, I need to spend more time on those activities, plus get enough rest and follow advice regarding recent health issues, so I have allocated time between now and September to plough ahead, with the help of one or two dedicated colleagues.

My main reason for emailing you at this time is to suggest that perhaps some of you might like to put on some Meetups for fellow HSPs during the Spring/Summer while I’m busy doing other stuff? It might be just offering what we have already, meeting up for conversations, info and cake, or, it might be that you have something else you would like to offer, either for a couple of hours or a full day. My dedicated HSP space in Andover is here if you want to use it, just give me enough notice so I can make sure it’s free. If you decide to run an event/Meetup here, do make a charge for whatever you are offering and make a partial donation from those funds to the National Centre for High Sensitivity CIC to help us with our fund-raising. Wherever you run your Meetup/event this Spring/Summer, do consider raising some money for the NCHS as part of its purpose.

Due to spending more time on other tasks, I’m going to need to refer HSPs and parents of HSCs for support and mentoring. Please, let me know if you would be willing to undergo some specific mentoring training from me to help HSPs either face to face here at the centre or by Skype/Zoom. In order to make sure that the National Centre benefits from having trained official NCHS Mentors, you will be expected to either pay for your training upfront, or, receive free training if you volunteer to provide 4 hours of mentoring per month for a minimum of 12 months. All trained mentors will have access to consultation with me both at an online group meeting every 6 weeks, plus individual time for urgent support – for volunteers, this support and consultation will be free of charge. Whilst counsellors may be suitable as Mentors, please be aware that Mentoring is not counselling, therefore you may be asked to refer any mentoring clients to appropriate counsellors should they also need counselling. More clarification on this will be provided during your NCHS Mentoring training.

Lastly, do you know of anyone who would like to be trained to voluntarily run regular NCHS Meetup group somewhere in the UK? Ideally someone who is used to supporting or leading people as individuals, in teams or groups. We have a Meetup in Hampshire and Berkshire at the moment. Hopefully we will restart a Sussex and Devon group soon, but we need more! HSPs contact the NCHS everyday asking about Meetups near them and most of the time I can’t even offer them something in the same part of the country let alone in their county – you can imagine how frustrating that is. Training for this is free if you fulfil twelve months of monthly Meetup facilitation as a volunteer. You can also pay for the training and do your own Meetup if you want to, or just set up without the training or the NCHS umbrella – the main thing is to get more Meetup opportunities out there for isolated HSPs. As an NCHS Meetup facilitator you would be trained to facilitate the Meetup and also expected to do some advance work ahead of the start of your Meetup to make sure people know about it and know where to find it. If you are a therapist, do discuss in supervision any boundary implications that you may need to negotiate – the NCHS would not expect to find itself turning away HSPs from Meetups because of past or ongoing counselling relationships with the facilitator. Please only apply, if you are truly in a position and enthusiastic to commit – I’m happy to train two facilitators for each county if necessary,  so that this relieves pressure of sickness and holiday cover.

barbara_allen-w

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you all have a lovely summer and hope there will be some interesting and fun events appearing on our HSP calendar soon 🙂

Best wishes,

Barbara

Article written by Barbara Allen (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Attending Elaine Aron’s Advanced Training

In March this year I was invited to attend an advanced training on Sensory Processing Sensitivity (the technical name for high sensitivity) with Dr Elaine Aron, the person who has conducted important research and written books that have helped us to understand and make the most of our genetically inherited trait.

Not being a scientist, I expected to find myself a little overwhelmed by the in-depth information, but was pleasantly surprised that despite my lack of familiarity with the ‘lingo’, I was able to understand, with the help of Dr Aron’s explanations, more about our trait and why it’s important that we understand even more about it.

We looked at many studies, including those of UK researcher, Michael Pluess and his colleagues, and grasped interesting insights into the neurological and genetic components that relate to SPS, (our differential susceptibility), what SPS is and equally importantly, what it is not, bi-modalilty and tri-modality.  I won’t go into all the ins and outs of the information here, its a bit complex for a short piece, but hopefully you will have the chance to look at some of the papers we studied at one of our events and take away a list for further study.

I was surrounded at this two day event, by 12 amazing colleagues from around the world, many of whom have researched and written books on the trait, are consciously working with HSPs and who like myself, had been invited for a reason.  It was clear that Dr Aron wanted to impart the ability to be able to talk about high sensitivity more fully to both the media and other professionals about our trait and most importantly, why it matters that we both understand it and make room for it in the way we design our world. Needless to say, it was an inspiring training and left me with renewed enthusiasm to return to the UK and do what I can to help educate and support both HSPs and non-HSPs to appreciate how we can improve the day-to-day experience of HSPs both adults and children, and also think about the roles they can play in families and  society as a whole that perhaps they feel they are limited in just now.

barbara_allen-w

So, onward and upward.  There’s a lot to do in the next couple of years, not least of which is trying to find some funding to help underpin the NCHS and its fledgling work in supporting highly sensitive adults and children.  Please don’t underestimate how much a small donation can do, to help us in reaching out and spreading accurate, useful information and appropriate support to those who need it.  If you would like to donate or know someone who does, please ask them to email me at accounts@hspsensitive.com and I will send the bank details so they can make a contribution.

Enjoy the summer and I hope to see you at one of our events later this year 🙂

Article written by Barbara Allen (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

We are a CIC now!

We have some wonderful news for you: The National Centre for High Sensitivity (NCHS) has recently become a Community Interest Company (CIC!)  You may appreciate what this means for us HSPs in the UK, if we write here a bit about our humble origins, as an organisation that supports highly sensitive people.

The National Centre was founded by Barbara Allen- Williams, to provide accurate information about the trait of high sensitivity (sensory processing sensitivity – SPS), for HSPs themselves, professionals and those they come into contact with; and to provide HSPs opportunities to meet others like themselves in a suitable environment. Barbara started a Meetup in Winchester for highly sensitive people in 2009, and by 2010 had founded the beginnings of the NCHS. The growth of the National Centre has been slow and organic since then, which mainly has to do with the limited resources we had. With most of its funding coming from profits of Barbara’s private practice, Growing Unlimited Therapeutic Consultancy, the NCHS has been focusing on providing links, resources, connection and training about the highly sensitive trait. Becoming a CIC (Community Interest Company) means that we will be able to seek funding over the next 12 months from various sources to develop our services for HSPs throughout the UK.

I am only one, but I am one.With more funding, we want to continue to fill our website (www.hspsensitive.com) with relevant books, resources and links. Ideally in the next two to three years, we would like to establish at least one HSP Monthly Meetup in every county in the UK, with facilitators trained by the NCHS. We want a comprehensive and searchable directory of NCHS-trained counsellors and other professionals for both sensitive adults and children. This is in its infancy at present and you can see more about how you could join this in this newsletter.

We want to progress our educational and training arm, so that training is available to more professionals. Our training for introducing professionals to the highly sensitive trait is CPD, quality checked by the National Counselling Society. It is currently available either at our head office in Andover, Hampshire, or can be provided in-house for organisations on request. A charge is made currently for this, however, we are seeking funding to allow us to make a heavy subsidy for this training, particularly for charitable or other not-for-profit organisations. We also wish to extend our workshops, walks, retreats and events for HSPs, so that they can find support for their social and personal development and career ambitions. With the help of Dr Elaine Aron, we will also be seeking to collaborate on research projects related to high sensitivity and within three years hope to host a conference for both research summaries and for professionals seeking further understanding of this genetic trait. Probably one of the most important of our aims, is to continue to provide support and encouragement to parents of highly sensitive children around their normal home and school needs, as well. This is how we can support future generations of HSPs to be more at ease with who they are and be able to fulfil better their essential role in our society.

barbara_allen-wCurrently, the NCHS are just a handful of enthusiastic volunteers mostly, who are passionate about supporting highly sensitive people and raising awareness. With more funding coming in hopefully in 2018, we will be planning to expand our workforce, as well. This is a significant and necessary step, in order to be able to fulfil our ambitions to expand what we can do for HSPs all over the country, and maybe even further afield. 2018 is looking to be an exciting year for stepping forward and growing towards becoming the kind of organization that we have been wanting to be for many years 🙂

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Thank You for getting us this far!

Any organisation that depends on donations and grants, knows that the dedication and support of volunteers or benefactors makes all the difference as to whether a project moves forward. I want to draw attention to the valuable assistance offered over the years by volunteers who have played a number of roles and also those who have given donations, both small and bigger. I know those who have given donations often feel shy, so I’m not going to name them here, but they know who they are and I hope they know their help has made a difference.

Volunteers of course, can’t hide! We see them or hear from them from time to time as they make their contribution. Here are just a few of the people, whose time has helped to give the National Centre for High Sensitivity and its members, the support and opportunities needed:

Gratitude is the heart's memory. Thank you very much.Ildiko – currently on sabbatical, but still editing our Newsletter and a constant support for me in the background, thank you!
Meetup faciitators – Tony in Brighton, Glenna last year in the Professionals group, Cindy in north Berkshire, Helen and Michelle in Glasgow (just started), Shyron and Helen in Exeter, Chris in Reading. Alan who has run yoga meetups for us and HSP games and offered HSP Walk and Talk sessions, Caroline who has organised our HSP Group Walks and is also one of our Walk and Talk volunteers, Christine who ran an HSP art workshop for us, Jordan who helped create our new NCHS website as well as funding some of it, and Rosie who offers help from time to time in terms of research. Lastly but not least, Suzie who has joined us recently as a volunteer to help with ideas to spread information to those who need it.
PLUS, all the HSPs who have given their time or favours in little ways that are often invisible, yet make a difference all the same.

There are a couple of people who are not HSPs, but who have been helpful to me and as a consequence, our NCHS. My husband who has helped with accounts and filling out complicated CIC forms, (and not least, has donated the money to pay the fee for the CIC to be registered and processed professionally!); my mother-in-law who has encouraged me to keep going and my life-long friends who console me when I think I can’t carry on and cheer me on when I am inspired to push forward another step with the vision of seeing a UK service in place.

barbara_allen-wThank you to all who have ever offered your encouragement and support. It really has made a difference both to myself and those who have benefited from the HSP services that have been offered so far.

Lets hope that funding organisations will feel the same positivity about this project and that we will see some financial support coming in during 2018 🙂

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

Regular NCHS group walks for HSPs

Hello fellow HSPs 🙂

I am delighted to announce that the NCHS is now offering more regular group walks. HSP Caroline has done a sterling job facilitating these, so I have asked her to make it a regular monthly thing. The locations will vary and go further afield at times, but will still have that HSP-friendly energy that HSPs have loved. You will be able to see the walks on our Meetup calendar for events in Hampshire.

If anyone in other counties in the UK would like to run one of these for us, do contact me and I will see what we can do to support another regular walk opportunity.

barbara_allen-wPlease note that you will need to RSVP and pay in advance from now on our Meetup site (£3.50 currently). We have previously had a little difficulty collecting the small sum of cash on the day – some have forgotten to pay or come without cash on them. We really do depend on the contributions to help keep events running. If you cannot pay by PayPal, let me know and I will give you the online banking details. Alternatively, send a cheque and I will RSVP you from this end once a I receive it (payable to ‘Growing Unlimited’, Annadell House, Clatford Lodge, Andover, SP11 7DH).

Enjoy your walks, I hope to join you from time to time 🙂

Best wishes,

Barbara

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: accounts@hspsensitive.com)

International HSP Gathering Retreat in the U.K in 2018

Hello All,

Just a heads up that there will be an International HSP Gathering Retreat in Gaunts House, Dorset, UK 14th-18th June in 2018. These gatherings were co-created by Jacquelyn Strickland (http://www.lifeworkshelp.com/hspgathering.htm­) and Dr Elaine Aron (http://www.hsperson.com) for the benefit of HSPs. I have co-hosted a number of them in USA and Europe. They are residential for four days, in a natural and beautiful setting, and each Gathering has a special theme. It is a chance to learn more about your trait, to find your growing edges and to commune with HSPs in a very rare, HSP-friendly setting. Dr Elaine Aron often attends on one of the days to give a talk and answer questions.

Gaunts-house-300x225One of the beautiful things that I like about these gatherings is the way you can do what you need. None of the things on offer (talks, group discussions, creative opportunities, guidance opportunities) at the Gathering is compulsory, you are encouraged to sleep or rest when you like, and healthy, nourishing meals are provided for you. There is no special requirement in terms of prior knowledge, just be in a good enough place to be a positive companion in the group, whether that is by participating verbally or in action, or simply by your quiet and attentive presence. If you have known about your trait a long time, you will still learn and experience growth here. The gatherings are kept small, maximum is usually approximately 25 attendees, meaning that there is plenty of time to meet needs, learn at depth and make lasting friends.

Plan ahead financially if you want to attend. These gatherings are residential, in lovely settings and have internationally well-known and respected leaders. Overall, the gatherings are not only empowering, but life-changing and affirming of your trait. Do come if you can. Every effort is made to keep costs of the Gathering as low as possible. I have made a (very) rough calculation that it may cost in the region of £650-750 per person in total – it is a real commitment, I know, for most HSPs. However, for what it is and the fact that the fee includes accommodation, food and the wisdom and support of such HSPs as Dr Elaine Aron and Jacquelyn Strickland means that value for money is not in question. Do consider coming along, I am not sure how many more of these opportunities there will be. If anyone would like to set up a monthly payment towards the gathering from November to June, then let me know, I may be able to arrange this for you if it makes it easier to save up.

barbara_allen-wMore details of the Gathering and venue will go up on our Meetup calendar as soon as I have them, but feel free to ask any questions in the meantime in the comments section below. If you have a private question, please message me at accounts@hspsensitive.com or email Jacquelyn at Jacquelyn@hspgatheringretreats.com. I hope to see you there for a special HSP experience 🙂

Warmly,

Barbara

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: barbara@hspsensitive.com)

The Highly Sensitive Person – CPD for Professionals

sensitiveboy-smallWould you like to be able to help more of those minority of people who could be the majority of your clients? It is not widely known that almost half of therapy clients have sensory processing sensitivity according to Dr Elaine N Aron. The NCHS is often running a CPD training for therapists, coaches, educators, social workers, health care professionals and others who work with highly sensitive clients. We will look at what sensory processing sensitivity is, how we can identify a client with this trait and ways of working that are effective and appropriate for this client group. All information is based on the seminal work of Dr Elaine Aron, renowned research psychologist and Jungian analyst.  Professionals attending this course can get a free entry to the HSP support directory on the NCHS website and also referrals from the NCHS, as many HSPs approach us to link them to professionals aware of the highly sensitive trait. You can find out more about this training (quality checked by the National Counselling Society) at our last CPD held for professionals. Please also consider forwarding details on this training to any professional or organisation that would benefit from understanding more about highly sensitive people.  ildiko_davisThis training day can be presented at your own venue, in most parts of the country, if there are at least 10 people attending. We would especially like to arrange this CPD in London, since this is where we receive most enquiries from clients looking for appropriate counsellors and other professionals. Please enquire more about this from Barbara Allen – Williams.

Written by Ildiko Davis (e-mail: ildiko.davis@yahoo.co.uk)