SENSITIVE, THE DOCUMENTARY, IS IN PRODUCTION

Elaine Aron, Ph.D., is the author of the international best seller, The Highly Sensitive Person, The Highly Sensitive Child, and The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, among others. She is also a scientist, and her research on high sensitivity (a.k.a sensory processing sensitivity) is published in top-tier, peer-reviewed scientific journals such as The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Brain and Behavior, as well as her research having been replicated and extended by other scientists.

Dr. Aron continues her work of sharing the still largely untold story of the innate trait of high sensitivity by agreeing to see this documentary made. Elaine Aron and Emmy-award- winning Globaltouch Group, Inc., are working together to create the first ever full-length film featuring Dr. Aron and a wide range of personalities, including renown scientists also studying the trait, all types of highly sensitive people (HSPs) themselves, plus parents, partners, friends, and employers of HSPs.

Everyone in the film will have their own story to tell about the benefits and difficulties of possessing this trait, which according to Dr. Aron is simply an alternative survival strategy encoded in the genes of one out of five people. The strategy, which is to observe carefully and “process” these observations before acting, is an advantage in some situations, of no advantage or even a disadvantage in others.

This strategy, as an innate trait, has always been present in some humans, and in about the same proportion in over 100 other species. Yet, until Dr. Aron’s research and books, it was confused with shyness and introversion or misnamed as “inhibited,” or being “TOO sensitive.” Now it has its proper name and the time has come for the wider world to know that name and what it means.

The enthusiasm among HSPs and scientists for this new understanding has been building for over twenty years, largely by word of mouth. Dr. Aron’s books have now been published in 17 languages, and the list continues to grow. We are at a tipping point. The goal of this film is to be that force which pushes this discovery into full recognition by the public and professionals alike.

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Elaine, Will, Diana, and others working on the film would love to have you add your comments regarding the project or your feelings about being highly sensitive.

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Showing 41 comments
  • Johanna Lowe
    Reply

    Hi guys, I love this trailor. The footage is beautiful and the interviews are really interesting and capturing. I was a bit put off by the voice over as I thought it came across abit over powering and wondered if a less intense voice would have suited the content better. However I still am very excited about the project as I am HSP myself and think the more people who understand us the better :) Go Elaine! Your amazing! Sending all my positive energy!

    • Ann Bergren
      Reply

      This is unbelievably awesome. I m 48 and I have spent my whole life trying to figure out what is “wrong” with me. Labeled with anxiety disorder and saddled with a whole world of uncaring people who don’t have a clue. Truly, I think they all have the handicap. But it has been excrutiating.

  • nakate margaret
    Reply

    wooow its fabulous.i cant wait to watch it.many hsps will be found.and many will know about us.thanks Aron and collegues.

  • Heather Todd
    Reply

    Well done Elaine for getting the project this far. It is indeed a story that needs to be shared with the world. Best of luck with your fundraising and the production on the film.

  • Steph Williams
    Reply

    I think you guys are doing such a wonderful job getting all this information out in the world! The sizzle looks amazing!! The only thing I didn’t care for was the “I” singled out in the title word “Sensitive”. I feel like it could further isolate HSP’s in general and personally makes me feel like I am alone versus being part of a larger group promoting HSP awareness. Something about it seems selfish or obnoxious maybe? I can’t quite figure out why the “I” bothers me so much but it does…just my opinion. Keep up the great work!

  • Teresa Glover
    Reply

    I thought the trailer was excellent, however I did not care for the narration–so much that I don’t want to share the trailer with friends, family and co-workers. The voice has a very sensational quality. I felt like the tone made it seem that HSPs were some sort of strange alien beings. I found it out of character with the meaning of the film. It was creepy.

    I also found the use of exceptionally striking children, especially the young boy, detracted from the message. Of course there are plenty of HSPs who are beautiful or handsome. However, the message that HSPs are all around us seems to be overshadowed by such a striking child. It is easy to imagine that a child with those penetrating eyes would be “sensitive.” Perhaps it would serve all HSPs better to depict an average looking child–which gets across the message that you can look like everyone else, but have this secret hiding in plain sight.

    I would love for the message of the film to reach a wide audience. I am discriminated against at work because I am “too emotional,” and I wish more people understood that I am not being emotional out of choice or because I want to be dramatic or want attention.

    I hope you will accept these comments in the spirit in which I am sharing them–to give alternative views about the film’s trailer–not to be critical. Thanks for allowing viewers to share thoughts.

    Plus–I LOVED all the horses!!!

  • yvonne
    Reply

    Yes I think the same about the voice over, but absolutely brilliant work and so glad it’s getting out there now and this trait is being acknowledged.

  • Kaye
    Reply

    As an HSP, I really appreciate the effort to make a documentary which could help people understand HSPs. I will watch the trailer when I’m not at work, but look forward to seeing it and the movie when it is completed.

  • Terry Howard
    Reply

    Congratulations!!!

    Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. -Andy Warhol

  • Aude
    Reply

    I really appreciate you making a documentary about HSPs, i’m looking forward to seeing it as i think it would do a lot of good in the world. Do you plan on making subtitles ? I would love to share it with my family (i’m french and not all my family members master english). I think it would give them some understanding of why i’m acting “weird” sometimes, and finally convince them that it’s not just all in my head or that i’m not doing it on purpose, which i think is a situation many HSPs have encountered before, and that could maybe be avoided if people were more educated about high sensitivity. I agree with the previous comments about the voice over. Thank you !

    • Aurélie
      Reply

      I have the same question – it would be really important for me to be able to show the film to friends and family, and many of them do not understand English very well. I know they won’t be able to understand much unless there are subtitles ; what are your projects about that ? Thank you for this beautiful work, from all over the world !

  • Todd
    Reply

    I will look through it again but I did not see a release date and how I could watch it . Thank you

  • Liz Lawley
    Reply

    Voiceover : someone with a warm, friendly, matter-of-fact voice. And a mix of types represented, not just the beauties, absolutely. Other than that, yes, to have something out there which might enable others to understand us.. A dream come true! Wish my parents could have known about this. Can’t wait to see the result. More power to you.

  • Jasmin Thorne
    Reply

    I have thoroughly appreciate all that you have shared and the wonderful information on HSPs….it has certainly given me such validation and insight and I felt so relieved with tears of joy! I am looking forward to the release of the movie as it is so so needed to so many people like me that have suffered ‘in silence and confusion’ as to the high level of sensitivity. Needing to process and ‘catch up with myself’ in spaces of quiet and reflection to come to some balance in life and lifestyle.
    My love of Nature in all its wonderful forms with art and writing has been my saving grace….along with meeting other HSPs connecting on heart and understanding.
    I have been wanting to write a book for so long to understand my own journey of life experiences and helping to share the belief of the ‘gifts of sensitivity’. Now reading of your research and video trailers has given me new hope and encouragement to continue.
    I will be sharing your website and information with many of my family and friends and people I will meet as I feel it is so needed to be understood…thank you so much!!!

  • Caro
    Reply

    I would really like to share this with my friends and family but I too feel put-off by the I and the narration. If there is anything I can do to help since the kickstarter ended let me know, I am an HSP and would love to help in any way I can.

    • Shari
      Reply

      Hi Caro, I’m on the production team. I can speak to the narration voice in the trailer. That was what is called a ‘scratch’ voice over. It is not the one that is going to be used in the documentary itself. Not to worry. :-)

  • Cacadita
    Reply

    Hi Elaine,

    What a wonderful project. I am interested in what you mean by ‘innate’ is this something an HSP is born with, genetically encoded, is there evidence for this in the research? Or could this phenomena be related to in utero experiences and the external world in early life.

    I would love to hear more!

    Thanks

    • Shari
      Reply

      Cacadita, you can learn more about HSPs on Elaine Aron’s website: http://www.hsperson.com. Yes, being an HSP is a genetic trait, like blue or brown eyes. Yes, there is plenty of evidence for this in the research. The documentary will cover this aspect and many others about being an HSP.

  • Carole Michael
    Reply

    oh, I feel wonderful to read about other people like me. Yes, my very sensitive, intuitive nature and my incredible love of all of nature and my sense of feeling totally “at home” in nature. Nature is my cathedral and every living creature , I feel, is straight from God, and in direct contact with God. I am closer to my inner self when I am alone in nature with all animals. I hope I can connect with your group somehow. I have felt so alone and “odd” in this self centered , loud society we live in. I would give anything to find ” my place”. Thank you for sharing your stories

  • M. Hoeflein
    Reply

    A movie is a wonderful idea! As someone who had the complete opposite of a supportive childhood, I’m thrilled to see more education around the subject of sensitivity. I hope it helps a lot of people raise their HSP kids with compassion and understanding. Good luck to you in this endeavor.

  • Katie
    Reply

    A dear friend just told me about this. It explains so much in my life.Sobbing quite hard at the moment. I could have had a very different childhood if I had not been so invisible. This FEELS like a huge opportunity for letting go with forward motion. Thank you so much for making the film. I am eager to see it. I have shared this on my Facebook page and have asked everyone to share with those they love. Bless you from the depths of my soul.

    • Chasity
      Reply

      Me too Katie! Watching the trailer made me cry. In a good way. Thank you for this! Is is so good to know that there are others out there and that I am not alone :)

  • Kimberly
    Reply

    Excited for this film to release! Is there a date set? Thank you for sharing the HSP stories.

  • Kimberly
    Reply

    Excited for this film to release! Is there a date set? Thank you for sharing the HSP stories. :)

  • Lucille Michaels
    Reply

    I hope your documentary will cover some of the ways that HSP can reduce the unwanted side effects of being a HSP without shutting down the beautiful gifts that being sensitive brings.

    Being highly sensitive was a big problem for me when I was young. I was depressed, anxious and co-dependant. It was very difficult to have relationships because I was so intensely effected by my partners moods that I could not find any emotional stability. His feelings would define my whole world. I was also plagued by physical sensitively that made it hard to wear most shoes and many clothing items.

    Over all, I felt like my sensitively was destroying everything I wanted in life. But, when I learned how to meditate and practiced it religiously, everything started to change. I learned to notice my feelings rather than be controlled by them. I learned how to create energetic boundaries that allowed me to use my empathic skills without becoming consumed by someone else’s pain. I learned how to calm my nervous system and sort out reactions from intuitions.

    My life is really rewarding now. I love that I can feel deeply and offer deep compassion for my therapy clients. I love that I am so aware of subtle changes in mood and energy.

    There are still challenges to being highly sensative but I can engage them with self-compassion. I’m so grateful for the meditation and healing work I have done and I hope you will point others in this direction through your movie. I’m excited to see it.

  • Pat
    Reply

    I am really happy to see this! Thank God… Leave the children in the film. I’m not offended by a beautiful child. I’m not offended by the narrator’s voice. Let’s not get carried away. The trailer looks great and I’m excited to see the film. I grew up being told I was “high strung”, “too sensitive”, “just an introvert”. This impacted me tremendously. Oh! And I hate going to parties and overhead lights… HA!
    You guys are tops in my book.

  • Gloria Ives
    Reply

    i can’t wait to see this movie. The book has come into my awareness a few times, but not until I came upon this trailer do I get a great sense of relief. Diagnosed and given the label hyperactive, as a child, today’s ADD, I know what I really was, and Am, is highly sensitive. Knowing this gives you permission to do what you have to do to attend to your own well being. I’ve often thought that many if not all diagnosed with ADD, are truly just empaths- I think there’s a difference between being an empath and practicing empathy… I have what I realize now, are three highly sensitive children. How we attend to our need for protection, and how we can do what we have to do, in environments that assault our sensitive nature. What important work this is and what tools might become available to us when this gets out there. Thank you for making this movie, and I plan on ordering the books right now. What a great gift they’d be to a teacher of any kind.

  • Sal
    Reply

    would like to learn more. Answered true to 17 of questions on test. And can relate very strongly to many of the posted comments.

  • mark johnson
    Reply

    I wonder if any correlation has been indicated between HSP and addiction/alcoholism. As a recovered alcoholic, I have attended several 12-step meetings a week for decades now. Reading about HSP in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, then viewing the trailer and reading the blog, I’m reminded of the deep sense of relief I felt at my first meeting when I realized I wasn’t the only one.

    I was told by my parents that I was too shy, too sensitive, too weepy. (Mostly I was told that by my father; I now believe/realize that my mother was probably highly sensitive herself; she provided much comfort to me, but advised me to try to be more like my dad. My inability to do so made me question my very manhood.)

    I saw a psychiatrist for a couple years during college, at the same time that my alcoholism came into full bloom. The good doctor diagnosed me as Borderline Personality Disorder, and suggested that my unrelenting sense of not fitting in sprang from identity issues originating from my circumstances of birth (I was adopted as an infant, and didn’t share many traits of my adoptive parents, especially those of my father, which was the source of much deep and painful conflict for him and me both.) The doctor suggested I track down my biological parents, which after many years I did, which was in some ways helpful and in some ways disastrous. I don’t regret it, but the point is, it didn’t give me any peace or understanding, nor did it arrest my difficulties with life, people, fear, self-doubt, etc.

    But I knew then (although I couldn’t articulate it) that alcohol gave me a nearly instant, reliable sense of ease & comfort around “normal” people, and used “liquid courage” to numb and mask my sensitivity…until, of course, it didn’t. It produced precisely the opposite: DISease, DIScomfort. So I joined a 12-step fellowship and sobered up.

    But still, I found my feelings and reactions to be different even from many alcoholics and addicts: being an “easy weeper” at the drop of a hat, surprising and baffling me as much as those around me. It could be a hymn in church, a sappy Hallmark commercial on TV, a lost puppy, a lonesome old lady…or I could be gripped with fears, dread, a sense of impending doom, futility, hopelessness…
    I decided to just bulldoze through this crap, and deliberately chose work that took me out of my comfort zone, thinking I could conquer it through sheer force of will. I spent most of my career as an executive director & fundraiser for nonprofit human services (United Way)and had to solicit contributions from fabulously wealthy, successful, confident people who intimidated the crap out of me. I did okay at it, but became frustrated, strident, even scolding when I saw the unrelenting, poignant, tragic human needs, everywhere, growing, and would get what I deemed a paltry, unfeeling, token contribution. I was burning out.

    So at age 50 I changed careers, deciding that I needed to do something less abstract and political than raising money for good causes, something more tangible and real. I became a cop.

    Not a common career choice for a highly sensitive, recovered alcoholic, former philanthropy executive–at least judging by my colleagues in law enforcement. I was told by the PD shrink/screener that I probably would not like police work, and in fact had a greater likelihood of being injured or killed in the line of duty, because those who come to the profession motived by service are at three times greater risk than those motivated by enforcement.

    Nevertheless, I survived 12 years a cop. I had to learn to control my visible signs of terror: shaking hands, buckling knees, hyperventilation, etc as a matter of actual survival, as well as to avoid looking like a weakling or coward in front of my fellow officers. At the frequent scenes of unbelievable grief and loss and carnage and cruelty that I witnessed on the job, I learned to blame my tears on allergies or smoke in my eyes, and when dealing with the perpetrators of such horrors I had to use “tactical breathing” techniques they taught us, and prayers I learned in my 12 step meetings, to keep from dispensing my own sense of justice on the monsters…

    I have written a memoir, “Apprehensions & Convictions” about my journey, to be published later this year by Quill Driver Press. I realize now it’s essentially a lifetime case history of an HSP. I would like to send you a copy. Please advise where to have it shipped.

    And thank you for your work. I think it’s truly groundbreaking.

    Best Regards,
    Mark Johnson

  • Catherine
    Reply

    I have to say that I feel a bit betrayed or left out. Do I have to catch up to the newest psychological terms for what I knew my whole life that I was highly sensitive? I felt things deeply, more than others do. I remembered my dreams, my childhood, my childhood dreams…and I remember when I was just 1 year old…clearly. Not to mention my past life…lives. Scents affected me deeply. I couldn’t eat certain foods especially animals who have the right to live. I could read people’s minds but I couldn’t tell them what I saw, felt, knew. I saw numbers and letters in colors. When someone got hurt, I felt their pain. I cried for them in pain. BUT my mother called me crazy. Children called me crazy. Teachers ridiculed me. I felt like I must be crazy and became so shy as a child. I was traumatized. I went to school for art. I drew from feelings. I later worked as a psychic. Being a psychic really means that I am so aware that my mind filed millions of data in order to analyze something fast. I feel things. I always did and no one else around me did. Okay, so now it’s okay to be Highly Sensitive? Now there is a term for it. Now there is a movie and all is cool? Better late than never? Now HSP goes epic? What about all those years of trauma being called too sensitive? I feel betrayed in a way. All those people judging me. How do all the HSP who were not understood but knew who they were, now deal with this new acceptance by society…after all these years of dealing with it by themselves, in private, in quiet? It almost seems like this is now a new trend. Meanwhile it was painful. “Can a HSP have PTSD?” Is that cool too?

  • Andree
    Reply

    Hi! I am very excited about this documentary and I was wondering if we will be able to see it this month as mentioned in the last update?
    Can’t wait for it to come out!

  • Mary
    Reply

    I can’t wait to see this film, it really speaks to me and the trailer brought tears to my eyes, this is me and I can’t wait to see/know the rest of the information.

  • Elizabeth R.P.
    Reply

    My sister and I are highly anticipating the release of these videos. Our entire family is HSP but worse, it has made my mother and brother schizophrenic. I was born to this schizophrenic mother as the youngest child at the point where she began her greatest decline and was blamed for it as a child and then worse, never respected for the deepest and profound of insights as a child in that situation about the causes and written off as “crazy” as well. No one on this side of the family has or will have any children at this point so that entire part of the family tree will die when I die. It has been the nightmare I can’t wake up from. Two divorces, multitudes of failed relationships, years of self-medication. I have struggled with the full spectrum of anxiety and detachment disorders my entire life but fortunately have managed to be fairly high functioning regardless. I am valued for it by some. My brother has not been so lucky. It still destroys our family every day and I’m so thankful to finally see this body of work brought to life in video. Please update us as soon as you can. Let me know if contributions continue to be needed and if I can help any way to spread the word. The additional video for partners, family, friends of HSP would also be extremely helpful as the world around me knows that I see and feel much deeper than the average person, but they don’t know why or why I get so sick and I’m tired of being written off. I always felt lost and unable to find “my tribe”.

  • Elizabeth R.P.
    Reply

    My sister and I are highly anticipating the release of these videos. Our entire family is HSP but worse, it has made my mother and brother schizophrenic. I was born to this schizophrenic mother as the youngest child at the point where she began her greatest decline and was blamed for it as a child and then worse, never respected for the deepest and profound of insights as a child in that situation about the causes and written off as “crazy” as well. No one on this side of my family of 9 children has or will have any children at this point so that entire part of the family tree of will die when I die because after two failed marriages myself, I am now struggling to even have a relationship at all. I have now learned that my mother’s “mental health” problems began when her older brother committed suicide on Easter morning and she found him as he lay dying. It has all been the nightmare I can’t wake up from and I swing wide from bitterness to sadness and depression. Two divorces, multitudes of failed relationships, years of self-medication and 25 years of therapy and countless self-help materials. I have struggled with the full spectrum of anxiety and detachment disorders my entire life, but fortunately have managed to be somewhat high functioning regardless. It has still destroyed and shaped the levels of success that I have worked to achieve in the past and I now pay the consequences dearly in a fashion that is highly detrimental to an HSP. I am valued for my uniqueness by some so it’s not a complete loss. My brother has not been so lucky. It still destroys our family and our lives every day and I’m so thankful to finally see this body of work brought to life in video. Please update us as soon as you can. Let me know if contributions continue to be needed and if I can help in any way to spread the word. The additional video for partners, family, friends of HSP would also be extremely helpful as the world around me knows that I see and feel much deeper than the average person, but they don’t know why or why I get so distressed and sick and I’m tired of being written off. I always felt lost and unable to find “my tribe”.

  • Kim Ruble
    Reply

    I just found out about this and wish I could have discovered it sooner. I am 44 years old and thought about suicide due to being so traumatized from what I have went through. I not only have bipolar but I am SO sensitive to things such as music that I refuse to even listen to the radio any longer. I live in hell, pure misery. It is awful. But I have to say I am glad you are doing this. Thank you.

  • Charlie
    Reply

    Coming across this research has been a revelation to me. Finally, a vocabulary to express that which was always inexpressible. Answers to the questions: “everyone hurts, why is it so particular with you?”, “why do you not want to play like the other kids?”, “why can’t you just let it go?”.

    Elaine Aron’s work helps embolden my now adult responses “I feel it differently than you”, “I need quiet space in order not to become overwhelmed”, “I can but it’s going to take me a lot longer than you think it should to process the hurt”. It’s helped me remain more open to the world of my equally sensitive son who needs my help to set up healthy boundaries for himself as he navigates the world with his own sensitive instrument.

  • Sandi Howell
    Reply

    The trailer is sooooo beautiful….I am captivated by it. I could not imagine what it would be like but of course it would have to be artful and beautiful and enchanting! The music is soft and beckoning. When I learned of HSP 11 years ago, it changed my life as well as many I have shared this with subsequently. I am so grateful for your sharing all of this with us. As many have expressed, it is such a relief to know “what it is”.

  • Ann
    Reply

    I just began reading Dr. Aron’s book, The Undervalued Self, and decided to check out the website mentioned in said book. I also have read her book on Highly Sensitive Persons and am one myself. I clicked on the link from the ‘Undervalued Self’ site which talked about HSP individuals being more likely to undervalue themselves and discovered the information about the documentary. I look forward to viewing it in it’s entirety, however, from the trailer, I must agree with other comments above regarding the ‘sensational’ sounding tone of the voice over narration. Perhaps it is because I am a highly sensitive person, but I found the style of the whole introductory segment (i.e., the above trailer) to have a feeling of over-dramatization. Which as was pointed out in a previous comment, may have the contradictory result of only further alienating the people it is meant to be helping or bringing into a more positive view by others. I am glad I found this information about the documentary and do look forward to watching it, hoping the complete piece is more ‘down to earth’ in its’ production/presentation.

  • Dr. Ashley
    Reply

    This is so exciting! I am a therapist and specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. Over the years, I have found that the majority of my clients are HSPs (including myself!), and so often they are misunderstood as crazy, too needy, too much, or dramatic. All of these labels lead to so much internalized shame and self-loathing, leaving them to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” For my clients, their relationship with food becomes an avenue to try to control/manage their deep emotions, such that they numb out these so-called “bad” emotions and try to be “normal.” Helping my clients understand, embrace, and effectively manage their high sensitivity has been an amazing turning point in many of their therapeutic journeys, and I am so grateful for this resource. I recommend the books all the time, and have already begun to spread the word about the movie. Thank you so much for making this and helping the world understand this beautiful gift we have!

  • Melanie Hofmann
    Reply

    Curious if other HSP’s also have experienced kundalini awakenings? Mine first awakened 44 years ago when I practiced yoga as a teenager. These days my body and voice react to movements across the room like when someone is talking with their hands. Looking forward to the movie.

  • Susie
    Reply

    I am so excited to watch this film. As an HSP myself, I find it so validating that the movie does not consider the condition to be a “disorder”! Please advise as to how one can access a viewing of the movie? Many thanks.

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