Being an empath is a gift and a curse. It can help you connect with others and understand their pain, but it also leaves you feeling exhausted with some level of emotional overwhelm after spending time in public or even just being near human beings. Plus, you may feel like there’s no one else who understands what it’s like to be so deeply connected to your emotions.
Yet, the reality is that therapists can perfectly understand what you’re going through since they’re specialized in helping empaths and highly sensitive persons (HSPs). Here’s how therapy for empaths can make your life better.
What is Therapy for Empaths?
Before delving into therapy for empaths, it’s crucial to explain what being an empath is. In a nutshell, highly sensitive persons (HSPs) have strong emotional responses and are more sensitive to their environment than the average person.
But this goes beyond basic empathy: you actually feel the emotions of other people and put yourself in every person’s shoes. This has a price, though – feeling their emotions can drain you and leave you emotionally overwhelmed.
Not only that, but they tend to pick up on subtle nonverbal cues like tone of voice and body language and often know what’s going on in the minds of others (even when they can’t properly define it). Not easy, right?
Therefore, therapy for empaths is designed to help HSPs deal with their emotions so they won’t feel the urge to avoid social situations or feel like they can’t connect deeply with others.
It has many tools that can help you feel empowered and more in control of how you feel. For example, if you’re a highly sensitive person, therapy for empaths may use deep breathing techniques to ground you when the empathy is overwhelming.
At the same time, it can be used to deal with judgemental family members or friends who simply don’t “get” what it means to be an HSP, helping you effectively communicate your needs without hurting their feelings or being guilty about it.
Through therapy, highly sensitive people can finally feel in control of their lives. No more turning down social invitations because you don’t want to be acutely aware of the emotions of others!
How Do You Treat Empaths or Highly Sensitive Persons?
There are many therapeutic tools that therapists use in their treatment of empaths, but there are some very specific ones that can help. Below are among the common ones.
Setting Emotional Boundaries
Since you feel the emotions of other people, it’s challenging to build your own identity and not be overwhelmed by the identity of someone else and their feelings. For example, if someone around you is angry, you absorb the feelings and feel angry too, right?
Therapy can support you in putting mental constructs in place to stop absorbing the feelings of others. That way, you prevent emotional overwhelm when you’re in public and separate yourself from other people’s feelings, so the empathy doesn’t overwhelm you.
To achieve that, your therapist may teach you to use mental imagery to help change how you react to various stimuli, among other techniques.
Learning How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty
As an empath, if you don’t feel you can take on more responsibilities, therapy will teach you how to let other people know of that without thinking that you’re bad or a bad friend/daughter/son, etc. You’ll understand that saying no doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, but rather that you have the right to exist as your person with your own feelings and mental space in the world.
Dealing With People Who “Don’t Get It”
There will always be people around you in society who don’t understand what an empath means being, or they’ll judge you for turning down invitations because of your empathy. They find it hard to see their feelings impacting you or tell you that your mental state is “wrong” just because they can’t experience what you’re experiencing. It’s a real struggle!
Your therapist will introduce you to ways to have compassion towards these people while also interacting with them in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you. They’ll also teach you how to educate them about your mental state instead of feeling guilty for being different so that you have a better relationship with them.
Being Compassionate to Yourself
As an empath or highly sensitive person, you probably tend to beat yourself up a lot because of your ability or “sixth sense.” You’re not to blame for being an empath, but it can be tiring. With proper therapy, highly sensitive persons are taught how to accept empathy as a gift and harness their unique strengths instead of shying away from it or feeling guilty and anxious about it.
You don’t become less of an empath by understanding your empath or highly sensitive nature, but the opposite – it makes you more able to live with it and not feel any shame.
Empaths tend to feel so connected to others that they don’t set limits and let people walk all over them. That’s why, as a highly sensitive person, you probably find yourself being taken advantage of by people who want to “dump” their problems on you or just take up all your free time.
But this can lead to resentment and is exhausting, so setting limits and boundaries with your family or friends is very important for your well-being. The good news is that kind of self-care, and boundary setting becomes easy with the help of therapy and the support of a good therapist for empaths!
Using Grounding Techniques
Many empaths and highly sensitive people can find themselves “spaced out” because of their empathy, especially in crowded areas like supermarkets or malls. This is because it’s easy to get lost in other people’s feelings (especially negative ones). Meditation exercises are usually beneficial in these situations.
Through the process, you get in touch with your own body and take control of it, employing mental exercises to maintain mental and physical calmness and awareness when in an emotional situation. They’ll help you stay grounded when you need it most and when the anxiety is at its peak.
Instead of empathizing with other people’s emotions, you’ll begin to focus on your own feelings, thoughts, body sensations, and mental state.
Learning How to Shut Off Your Empathic Abilities
If it’s interfering with your life and mental health, therapy for empaths can help you get better at turning your empathy on and off whenever you want to. But it’s important to note that this isn’t the case for all empaths – some of them can shut off their empathic abilities easily, and others can’t, no matter how much mental training they do.
But for the empaths who it does work for, therapy helps them build mental toughness where they can keep cool despite dealing with powerful feelings from other people.
Seek an Empath Therapist: Counseling for Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
If you’re an empath or highly sensitive person, be sure to get mental help from a therapist so you can learn how to cope with your empathic abilities. While mental help may still seem rare in some parts of the world today, it’s actually easy to find empath therapists in major cities if you know how to look.
An empath therapist is a mental health professional whose clients are highly sensitive people. They not only help you understand your mental state but also provide you with mental training to increase your mental toughness and reduce your sensitivity, making it easier for you to handle it when you feel others’ emotions.
More importantly, the therapist can significantly help with self-awareness, empowering highly sensitive people or empaths to understand why they’re different than others and the role empathy plays in their relationships and lives. That way, empaths control how they feel about their state, which ultimately makes life easier for them and enables them to feel comfortable most times.
Take Care of Your Mental Health!
Empaths are very special, highly sensitive people – but it’s important not to let your sensitivity prevent you from living a normal life. You can learn mental toughness techniques to help you stay grounded and less overwhelmed by the emotions of others around you.
Therapy for highly sensitive people can help you do that, giving you mental training to make sure your mental state is strong enough to handle the emotions of other people around you as you navigate life (see also holistic therapy).
Many mental health professionals understand what empaths and highly sensitive people go through, so finding help shouldn’t be difficult. You can also find online therapy sessions at your convenience – just make sure an empath therapist offers them before contacting them!
And remember, take care of yourself first – otherwise, it’ll be harder to take care of others!