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Can 1.2 billion exceptionally nervous nervous systems be wrong? No way, says depth psychologist Elaine Aron, bestselling author of The Highly Sensitive Person
. An HSP herself, Aron is also the reigning expert on the subject, and this workbook exists to make you a more helpful expert on yourself. It can be read in conjunction with her more narrative book--the chapter headings match--or without it. "You should use this workbook in any way you darn well please," says Aron in a typical free-yourself comment.
So what is an HSP? Aron thinks one-fifth of humanity is born with more finely tuned perceptions than the rest. In primitive times, HSPs were the first to spot the lion lurking in the bush, the last to shoot the arrow--and the likeliest to hit the lion in one shot. Later, HSPs became the tempering priestly advisors to the more aggressive warrior kings. To be an HSP is a challenge and an opportunity, she argues. This book contains self-tests to determine whether you're an HSP, and if so, which kind: introverted, extroverted, sensation seeking, and other plausible categories. Some HSPs yearn for "earlids" to shut out sound, for instance. There are plenty of blanks to fill in as you analyze your childhood, health concerns, work history, and psychic wounds, with plenty of guidance on how to do it--sample entries as intriguing as someone else's diary. If you've ever wished you could go back and retort to somebody who said something hurtful that made you speechless, Aron has the exercise to channel your resentment into insight. She gives a quick course in dream analysis (Freud couldn't outdo her job on a dream about The A-Team's Mr. T and a tiger), and rather boldly invites you to envision and prepare for your death. There's also a practical guide to setting up HSP discussion groups with enough structure to prevent fizzle and poor focus.
"People who want to modify their behavioral styles have to go beyond mere reflection and making resolutions to actually engaging in a set of activities that focus them in new, productive, creative directions. Aron's workbook does just that through her many tasks, guidelines, and action paths for sensitive people. Get it and do it!"
--Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D., author of Shyness
"Highly sensitive people often need help with two goals: developing a deep sense of self-acceptance and becoming more confident in their relationships with other people. Elaine Aron's enormously helpful new workbook offers a sympathetic and effective program for highly sensitive people to make real progress in pursuit of their goals."
--Jonathan Cheek, Ph.D., author of Conquering Shyness
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