On the Quiet – NCHS Update

It’s been a while since our last Newsletter, not because there is nothing to report, but simply because such a lot has been going on behind the scenes, both to slow things down but also to speed us forward. So, it’s a pleasure to write a summary of some of the latest things we would like to share with you about our work here at the National Centre for High Sensitivity during the last year.

Thanks firstly and as always, to Ildiko Davis, our Newsletter Editor, website editor and also facilitator of online HSP meet-ups, both for HSPs and HSP therapists. Ildiko’s work has helped us to keep you informed and also, to focus our attention on where we are going and what’s going on ‘out there’. It’s been a long, slow road, getting the NCHS on its journey and Ildiko has been such a support and strength through this process over a number of years.

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.During the last twelve months, a tiny team has been forming here in Andover, made up of volunteers offering a little of their skill in helping me to bring ideas and plans forward. I would like to thank Anna Pell, Bridget Woodward, Rosanna Leigh, Claire Bailey, Andrew and Sophie Kidd and Jordan Leigh for stepping forward, offering time this and last year that I know is hard to find in this busy world, but so very much needed. There are more waiting in the wings to offer skills and ideas, I know, and it feels like this year, our little team is going to form a foundation that will be a springboard for much useful work for and on behalf of HSPs in the UK.

Our next major piece of work is around funding. So far, funding has been very small and provided mostly by a combination of donations from my private practice, Growing Unlimited, and small donations from HSPs to cover some of the costs that naturally arise. In order to progress, we need to bring in many thousands, rather than a few hundreds of pounds, so once again I have been wondering where it will come from. I have recently had an offer of some help from a fund-raiser and I am hoping over the next couple of months to meet with them for ideas and guidance in where to find funding and how to go about asking for it. I’m excited by this and profoundly grateful for this offer of help.

One of our exciting plans is to hold a conference in late Spring 2020. I am hoping for April but it will all depend on finding the right venue at the right price and when it’s likely to be available for us. The conference will be two days and will include talks, discussion groups, stalls with relevant books and other HSP-related items, networking tables for HSPs who can offer informed and appropriate support or anything else that HSPs might find useful. Topics will include science-related info, talks by a variety of professionals and others who have an interest in appropriately supporting or educating HSPs, highly sensitive children and their families. There will also be a variety of discussion groups so that people with common interests can get together to learn more, get support, share ideas and so on. It’s important to us that we find a way of holding this conference in a way that will work in its intention but also work for HSPs strategically.So, I will be looking for a conference organiser with some intelligence and imagination :).

During 2019, we have a few interesting meet-ups and workshops coming up (see our listings in the newsletter), one of which will be our HSP Retreat Weekend, 29th and 30th June. My colleague, Annet de Zwart from the Netherlands will be co-facilitating this event with me. She has co-facilitated HSP Gathering Retreats with myself and Jacquelyn Strickland/Elaine Aron in Europe and the UK and she also attended the training with Dr Elaine Aron last year. So, she is perfectly placed to bring something special to our upcoming event. The two topics we will cover this time are: Understanding and managing over-stimulation and The path to HSP empowerment. The two days will consist of information and exploratory activities, a chance to get to know other HSPs in a gentle setting, time to unwind and be social (if you want to) and above all, a chance to grow. This will be an intimate event and held in our dedicated Andover space to help keep costs for participants down. If this event goes well, we may expand it a little next year, we will see! We don’t have a lot of places on the retreat this year, so if you think you might like to join us, do book early.

We are in the process of developing a new website which we hope will be easier for non-techs like myself to update and will encapsulate the information our current site has, plus bring into one place a blog, a chat facility, a forum and also our event listings which are currently hosted here and there on Meet-up.com. Hopefully this will simplify things and help to make sense of all of the different things we are involved in. With no funding to speak of, we are dependent on volunteers to help us with this new website, so thank you Andrew, Sophie and Jordan for starting us on the road to our new and expanding website.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful placesI thought I would also mention a new project that is coming along later this year. The project is the idea of Rosie Raleigh, who attended the UK HSP Gathering Retreat last year with Jacquelyn Strickland and became inspired to use her skills to help with reforming policy to include the needs of HSPs. As you may know, working with high sensitivity as a cultural diversity issue is close to my heart. Rosie will be working with higher-level policy-making and has a lot of experience with this, so I have high hopes. Rosie has named the project ‘Vantage’, after the name given by scientists to a particular aspect of our genetic trait.If you want to know more about Rosie’s project e mail her at rosieraleigh@gmail.com.

Finally, I would like to give a little more of an introduction to Claire Bailey, who has recently joined me as an administrator and support. She is very well qualified in all levels of managing behind-the-scenes in organisations, so I’m very lucky to have her. Claire is a volunteer for the NCHS and for now she is very part time, so as always, if you get in contact with us here, do forgive us if we need to take some time to get around to answering any queries :).

barbara_allen-wWell, that is all for now I think. If I have forgotten anything, do let me know and I will add any information to an email or to the next Newsletter. Thank you for reading this far and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events in the near future:).

With warm regards
Barbara

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

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)

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.

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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.

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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)

What is happening at the NCHS

It’s been a year of challenges and achievements in the face of struggles here at the National Centre for High Sensitivity (NCHS). The topic of high sensitivity is becoming more talked about, especially when we take information into schools and there is such a lot to do ‘out there’. Health issues, both of myself and a close friend have made it necessary for me to step back somewhat for a few months and this has been very frustrating, knowing what needs to be done and having to rest nevertheless.

Fortunately for me, Ildiko (Newsletter Editor and much more!) has kept her finger on the pulse and filled in some of the gaps on my behalf (thank you so much Ildiko). She has also been a great support to me and kept me motivated throughout some tough times.

The National Centre for High Sensitivity has been very lucky in that some of the people who have attended Workshops and other events in the last couple of years have been inspired to begin working on projects aimed at children, parents and young people. It may be a while before we see the fruits of this, but its good for you to know there is some work going on around this.

In the meantime, it has become clearer that Mentoring for HSPs is a vital service and we are happy to offer that and to continue to support others to do so. We offer Professional Training to anyone wishing to learn more about how to adapt their support work with sensitive individuals. Mentoring is different from counseling because it involves sharing ideas, skills and support in a way that gives more freedom in terms of time and the type of help that can be offered. It is not ‘therapy’ but often feels ‘therapeutic’.

Some of the HSPs who attend our Meetups and Events have a lot of experience in finding ways forward, meeting challenges, living authentically and healthily in a world where we are often put under pressure to live differently than is natural to us. One of our popular types of Mentoring is the ‘Walk and Talk’ mentoring that takes place on a peaceful walk. We need more Mentors, Counsellors and ‘Walk and Talk’ practitioners in our directory so that we can put people in touch with other supportive HSPs in their locality. HSPs pay for these services and if you are suitable, self-aware, reliable and would like to train with us, do let us know.

My next task is to re-start the NCHS calendar and begin adding things into the diary again. I receive numerous requests from HSPs for various events in their locality, but often find that we don’t have enough people to be able to create an event for them – an example of this is Manchester where we would love to provide a Meetup, a Workshop and a training event, but where we don’t have enough people to be able to cover our costs for a venue and travel as yet. That being said, we are still looking at ways to spread the support and facilities we offer at the NCHS as wide as possible – my dream is to have a regular monthly HSP Meetup happening in every county in the UK – maybe this will happen one day.HSP Rest and Recovery Retreatbarbara_allen-w

In the meantime, I keep putting one foot in front of the other and am so grateful to be meeting lovely HSPs from all walks of life as I go about this important work. I am looking forward to another year pushing this project forward and will update you when we have any further news of interest .

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