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Article by Dr. Gary Stollman
Psychotherapy Practice serving Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles

A Simple Sensitivity Test

When you walk into a room, do you immediately feel the “vibe” of the room, or the people there? When you pass by someone, can you read their emotional state quickly and easily? Do certain environments affect you easily, and often deeply, sometimes to the point where you have to leave? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may indeed be a sensitive person.

Note that this is neither good nor bad, just a description of one facet of your personality. Here at my Beverly Hills psychotherapy and marriage counseling practice, we cater to many types of people and personalities. Like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike. The first step is always to evaluate where each patient is coming from, in order to best serve their needs and tailor a program just for them.

Sensitivity vs. Empathy
Sensitivity and empathy often go together. Many people can and do exhibit both qualities. And it seems intuitive to assume that you probably have to be sensitive in order to be empathetic.

However, a person could theoretically be sensitive yet not empathetic. One might be able to sense something wrong in a room, for example -- perhaps sensing that someone else nearby is not happy -- yet not identify with what that other person is feeling.

In other words, Person A may be able to feel or sense something bothering Person B or causing stress in B, but it is not automatic that A will have any desire to figure out why B is upset, or help B get better, or help rectify a troublesome situation involving B.

Sensitivity and ESP

Here is something else to ponder: perhaps what we call ESP (Extrasensory Perception) is actually an extreme version of being empathetic or sensitive -- to the point where one can sense something before it even happens, or from a remote distance, or both.

In short, ESP might simply be super-sensitivity. While intriguing, this is probably a matter best left for another newsletter.

Till next time…        Dr. Gary


Dr. Gary Stollman, Ph.D. --- Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Santa Monica Marriage Counseling & Psychotherapy


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The Center for Personal Development and Psychotherapy specializes in telephone and face-to-face counseling, treating individuals and couples seeking to improve their relationships. Counseling with Dr. Stollman is designed to help patients in dealing with a wide range of psychological issues. Whether you're looking for Los Angeles marriage counseling or someone to talk to about your depression, Dr. Stollman can help.


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Sessions can be scheduled for either one or two hours in length. Two hour sessions provide adequate time to explore issues without interruption.

Dr. Gary also does telephone coaching for those who prefer to participate from the privacy of their own home and he offers a free 15-minute phone consultation to all first-time callers.

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