Autopsychotherapy for HSPs?

Are we capable of autopsychotherapy? Of course we are; who knows us better than ourselves? Kazimierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychologist/psychiatrist created his theory of Positive Distintegration as a way of explaining human growth and development through inner processes that often resemble disintegrative processes, but which are actually quite necessary to bring about the dissolution of lower levels of development in favor of higher levels of personality development.

We know that highly sensitive people are often intense people who experience strong, quick emotions and spend much time in reflection and contemplation. Dabrowski believed that some people have higher levels of developmental potential than others and, thus, are geared for what may be accelerated personality development. This concept has been used extensively by the gifted community, who have long noted that most gifted people tend to be highly sensitive and exhibit many of what Dabrowski termed “Overexcitabilities” or OEs.

OEs should be quite familiar to HSPs as overstimulation to certain, highly individualized stimuli, ie., sensory stimulation, intellectual stimulation, creative stimulation, emotional stimulation, and physical stimulation. Note that not all HSPs are gifted, far from it. Many HSPs are quite intelligent, creative, multitalented in many ways but giftedness is a bit different. The important point to consider is that Dabrowski’s theory of Positive Disintegration is for everyone and can help us to better understand what we might do with our inner milieu of anxieties, depression, and neuroses. To Dabrowski, these were not necessarily a sign of mental illness; rather, they were a sign that a person may be undergoing disintegrative processes that might result in higher levels of personality development over time. He was very careful to articulate that there are, indeed, instances of true mental illness that are organic in nature but most of what we think of as mental “health” is actually culturally-derived and does not reflect true human nature, which to him is more turbulent and disintegrative as a natural state of being.

Can you perform therapy on yourself? Sure, and do so with the aim of creating yourself rather than eliminating a problem.

For more on Dabrowski, feel free to browse a website maintained for his theory:

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person (ch. 7 of this book is entirely about positive disintegration as it applies to HSS/HSPs)


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