According to Dr. Elaine Aron, Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) is a personality trait that is often misunderstood, with the highly sensitive person displaying traits of shyness or fearlfulness. She lists the following as signs of SPS:
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Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
There is a lot of overlap between Dr. Aron's theory and the current body of knowledge on Sensory Processing Disorder, which is not considered a personality trait but rather a neurological disorder. In this video the link between SPS as a personality trait, and body-focussed repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) such as compulsive sin picking disorder is discussed.
About the author
Tasneem is an Occupational Therapist, and a graduate of the TLC foundation for BFRBs professional training institute. Her experience in mental health includes working at Lentegeur Psychiatric hospital forensic unit (South Africa), Kingston Community Adult Learning Disability team (UK), Clinical Specialist for the Oasis Project Spelthorne Community Mental Health team (UK). Tasneem is a member of both the editorial team and the clinical staff on Skinpick, providing online therapy for people who suffer from excoriation (skin picking) disorder.
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