The Advocate Magazine 2023 Number 46, Issue 2 | Page 19

How to Create a Comfortable Environment for Sensitives and Neurosensitives

DEEP-DIVE BREAKOUT SESSION Working With ‘ Neurosensitives ’: Recognize Their Superpowers Despite Their Struggles

Those who study autism know that if you ’ ve met one person with autism , you ’ ve met … one person with autism . I ’ m sure the same can be said of all neurosensitives ( who frequently are identified as those on the autism spectrum , those with ADHD or anxiety , those who have had a traumatic brain injury — TBI , and those with PTSD ). Understanding the commonalities of neurosensitives and sensitives helps Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors ( LCMHCs ) better understand these populations , and better influence our therapeutic interventions with our specific neurosensitive and sensitive clients . ( See box below for information on the terms neurosensitives and sensitives .)
A starting place is understanding how their nervous system works . If you have any training in somatic work or polyvagal theory , then you already have a head start .
• Smell : Some neurosensitives may find certain fragrances — like chemicals , cleaning solutions , flowers , etc .— triggering and therefore avoid them .
• Taste : The tastes or textures of some foods can also create avoidance , leading to a very restricted diet .
• Touch : Neurosensitives can find certain fabrics , textures , seams , and types of clothing quite irritating to their bodies and will avoid them in an effort to minimize the reactivity of their nervous systems ( even if they don ’ t know to articulate why ). And some also become dysregulated when others touch them ( or even get too close ).
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How to Create a Comfortable Environment for Sensitives and Neurosensitives

Neurosensitives are highly attuned to one or more of the five senses :
• Vision : They take in their entire environment — items , shadows , lighting , positioning , etc ., visually — without trying to do so . Please don ’ t create a sterile environment , but do be aware that if they enter a new setting , or if something has been changed or moved since their most recent visit , these folks will notice it and might respond accordingly .
• Hearing : Some may hear sounds that others don ’ t , such as the high frequency sound of TVs and other technology , or the ballasts of fluorescent lighting . Others might hear sounds louder than neurotypicals do . They may find sounds distracting or even painful . Difficult situations for these folks include emergency alarms / sirens , loud or chaotic environments , and even specific voice patterns .
The Terms ‘ Sensitives ’ and ‘ Neurosensitives ’
I noted the continuum of sensitives when most folks weren ’ t yet talking about it . Now many are comfortably using the term neurosensitive to describe these folks and are understanding more of the challenges that come with being a sensitive . I hope that we will not forget the many
gifts that accompany these individuals .
Judith ( Judy ) E . Lipson , LPC , delivered one of AMHCA ’ s “ deep-dive ” breakouts at the June 2023 conference
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and former special educator who began her private practice , Spiral Wisdom LLC , in 2002 to work with kids and adults of all ages who are “ sensitives ” ( people who are highly attuned to the five senses , energy , intuition , and empathy ). These individuals are frequently described as ADHD , anxious , and autistic . A writer , speaker , clinician , and educational consultant , Lipson teaches about metaphysics , transformation , and how to engage the gifts of being a neurosensitive , while minimizing the challenges that so many experience . She is a member of various professional organizations including AMHCA , Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association ( MMHCA ), American Counseling Association ( ACA ), and Michigan Counseling Association ( MCA ). More information can be found at www . JudyLipson . com .
The Advocate Magazine 2023 , Issue # 2 American Mental Health Counselors Association ( AMHCA ) www . amhca . org 19