Therapy for Empaths: Their Unique Needs and Benefits

By Jared Levenson  ✔️ Updated ✔️ Reviewed ✔️ Fact-checked on May 25, 2023

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As a growing number of people are identifying as empaths, it’s essential to understand their unique needs and how therapy can provide support to highly sensitive people via evidence-based treatment.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about therapy for empaths because we possess extensive knowledge and experience in the mental health field, combined with a deep understanding of the unique challenges and needs that empaths face in their daily lives, and consider ourselves sensitive as well.

In this informative listicle, we’ll delve into the world of empaths, explore the challenges they face, and discuss the potential benefits of therapy tailored to their needs with the help of talk therapy.

Empaths: A Small but Significant Percentage of the Population

  • It is estimated that around 1-2% of the population are empaths (source: Psychology Today)
  • Empaths have a heightened ability to feel and absorb the emotions and energy of others, making them highly attuned to their surroundings
  • Empaths are individuals who can deeply sense and internalize the emotions of others
  • They differ from highly sensitive people (HSPs) in that HSPs are more sensitive to stimuli in their environment, whereas empaths can feel others’ emotions as their own
  • Empaths may also be introverts, but not all introverts are empaths

What Does it Mean to be an Empath?

  1. Empaths are often very in tune with how someone is feeling at a deep emotional level, and can even take on the physical sensations of another person’s pain or discomfort.
  2. They may also be highly sensitive individuals to the energy and emotions around them, whether it’s coming from individuals, groups, or elements in their environment.
  3. Empaths can experience a wide range of emotions that come from those around them, including joy, sadness, anger, fear, and more.
  4. This heightened sensitivity can be both a blessing and a curse as empaths may struggle to manage their own emotions when they feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others.

How Do I Know If I’m an Empath?

Several signs can help you determine if you’re an empath. Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. You have a strong sense of ‘knowing’
  2. You struggle with crowded places
  3. You’re a good listener
  4. You struggle to watch violent or tragic events on TV
  5. You tend to be thoughtful and attentive, making sure each team member feels heard
  6. You take an interest in others and their behavior, including what they say and their body language
  7. You’re naturally giving, spiritually attuned, and good listeners
  8. You feel overwhelmed by strong emotions from other people
  9. You can easily pick up on subtle energy shifts in your environment
  10. Your intuition is very strong
  11. You have difficulty setting boundaries with others
  12. Your feelings are easily hurt by criticism or negative comments
  13. You often feel drained after spending time with certain people

What are the 11 Traits of an Empath?

Being an empath can be both a blessing and a curse. Many traits make up empathic traits, but the 11 most common ones are:

  1. You are very emotional – Empaths feel emotions deeply and often take on the feelings of those around them.
  2. You are very intuitive – Empaths have a strong sense of intuition and can easily pick up on the feelings of others.
  3. Crowds are overwhelming – Being in large crowds can be overwhelming for empaths, as they absorb the energy of everyone around them.
  4. People & strangers trust you easily and open up to you – People tend to open up to empaths quickly, as they sense their understanding and non-judgmental nature.
  5. You’ve been told you’re moody – Empaths can be prone to mood swings due to their heightened sensitivity to emotions.
  6. You’ve been known as the “peacemaker” among your friends and family – Empaths often act as mediators in conflicts, as they understand both sides of an argument equally well.
  7. You’re sensitive to coffee, alcohol, or other substances – Empaths may find that certain substances affect them more than others due to their heightened sensitivity levels.
  8. You get anxious easily – Anxiety is a common trait among empaths due to their ability to pick up on the feelings of those around them without even realizing it at times.
  9. You find crowded places draining – Crowded places can leave empaths feeling drained due to all the energy they absorb from those around them in such proximity.
  10. They are often labeled as overly sensitive people – Due to their heightened sensitivity levels, empaths may be labeled as being overly sensitive by those who don’t understand them or their abilities fully yet.
  11. Nothing angers them more than when they are being lied to – Lying is something that empaths cannot tolerate, as it goes against everything they stand for in terms of honesty and integrity with themselves and others alike.

What is the Difference Between an Empath and a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

The difference between an empath and a highly sensitive person (HSP) is significant.

  • An empath is someone who can feel the emotions of others, while an HSP is someone who has sensory processing sensitivity and a heightened sensitivity to their environment.
  • Empaths can pick up on the feelings of those around them, often without being consciously aware of it. They may also be able to sense when something is wrong in a situation, or when someone needs help.
  • On the other hand, HSPs are more likely to be overwhelmed by their environment due to their heightened sensitivity. They may become easily overstimulated by loud noises or bright lights and need time away from crowds and busy environments to recharge.
  • Empaths tend to be introverted, while HSPs can be either introverts or extroverts.
  • Additionally, empaths have a greater capacity for emotional intelligence and empathy than HSPs do; they can deeply connect with people on an emotional level and often take on the emotions of those around them.

It’s important to note that many people may have qualities of both an empath and an HSP – some people may even identify as both!

What Do Psychologists Say About Empaths?

Psychologists have been studying empathy for many years, and while there is still much to learn about this phenomenon, they have identified several key traits that are associated with being an empath.

  • Empaths are highly sensitive people who can pick up on the emotions of others and often feel them deeply.
  • They tend to be very compassionate and understanding, and they often have a strong connection to animals and nature.
  • Empaths also tend to be intuitive, creative, and highly imaginative.

While there is no scientific evidence that empaths exist, according to PsychCentral (https://psychcentral.com/blog/empaths-are-real), psychologists believe that most people are capable of empathy in some form or another.

“To date, research on the concept of empaths is inconclusive at best.

It doesn’t mean empaths aren’t real — or that someone’s experience as an empath isn’t valid. It just means that there’s little to no scientific proof behind the concept, and experts may not yet fully understand this phenomenon empirically.”

However, another more recent study1 states “as a young research field, the core characteristics of SPS are yet debated”, which acknowledges the scientific shortcoming, but also validates SPS as a label.

The Struggles and Challenges Empaths Face

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  • Absorbing others’ emotions: Empaths can easily take on the emotions of those around them, leading to emotional exhaustion
  • Feeling overwhelmed by negative energy: Exposure to negativity can be particularly draining for empaths
  • Difficulty setting boundaries: Empaths often struggle to establish and maintain healthy boundaries, as they prioritize others’ needs over their own
  • Sensitivity to overstimulation: Crowded spaces and intense environments can be overwhelming for empaths, causing anxiety and stress

The Good Benefits of Being an Empath

Being an empath can be both emotionally and mentally exhausting, but there are many benefits to being an empath.

  • Good intuition is one of the most important benefits of being an empath, as it allows them to rely on their gut feelings and intuition when absorbing the emotions of others.
  • Empaths are also natural healers, coaches, therapists, or medical and mental health professionals due to their ability to sense what another person needs.
  • Additionally, they make excellent friends because they are superb listeners and consistently show up for those in need.
  • Finally, empaths benefit from learning to listen to their inner guidance which helps them avoid absorbing others’ pain, stress, and anxiety.

How To Begin to Manage to Live as an Empath?

Living as an empath can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Several coping mechanisms can help you manage your emotions and thrive in life.

  1. To start, try scheduling more alone time into your day-to-day life. This will allow you to process your own emotions without being overwhelmed by other people’s feelings.
  2. Additionally, try to have more meaningful conversations with those around you and spend time in nature regularly. This can help you stay grounded and connected to yourself.
  3. It is also important to set boundaries with others and practice celebrating yourself for who you are.
  4. Finally, if someone is draining your energy, don’t be afraid to limit how much time you spend listening to them.

How Do I Overcome Being an Empath?

Being an empath can be a difficult experience, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. There are two main strategies to cope with being an empath and protect yourself from feeling overwhelmed by other people’s emotions.

  1. Some of the most effective methods include learning how to be mindful, setting boundaries, practicing meditation or yoga, spending time in nature, and focusing on your own body and breathing.
  2. Additionally, developing self-awareness and curiosity can help you better understand your own emotions and those of others.

With these strategies in place, you can learn how to cope with being an empath while still enjoying meaningful relationships with others.

Do Empaths Need Therapy?

Do empaths need therapy? The answer is yes if they are having struggles with normal functioning in day-to-day life.

Empaths are highly sensitive people who can easily tune into the emotions of others, and this can be overwhelming for them. Therapy can help empaths learn to manage their feelings, set boundaries, and cope with emotional overload.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for highly sensitive people as it helps to manage anxiety and stress.

Should Empaths Go to Therapy?

Empaths should consider going to therapy, but there are many other ways to live with flourish (yoga, etc).

But, therapy can provide a safe space for empaths to explore their emotions and learn how to better manage them. It can also help empaths understand why they are feeling the way they do and how to differentiate between their feelings and those of others.

Additionally, therapy can help empaths develop strategies for managing stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that often come with being an empath. With the right therapist, empaths can find the support they need to lead healthier and happier lives.

The Benefits of Therapy for Empaths

  • Improved emotional regulation: Therapy can help empaths learn to manage their emotional responses and avoid becoming overwhelmed by others’ emotions
  • Effective boundary-setting: Therapists can teach empaths how to establish healthy boundaries, protecting their own mental and emotional well-being
  • Stress reduction: By understanding their unique needs and developing coping strategies, empaths can reduce the stress and anxiety that often accompany their heightened sensitivity
  • Building resilience: Therapy can help empaths develop the skills needed to navigate difficult situations without becoming emotionally drained

Why Some Empaths Miss Out on the Benefits of Therapy

  • Fear of being misunderstood: Empaths may worry that therapists won’t understand their unique experiences and challenges
  • Difficulty finding empath-specific therapy: Not all therapists specialize in working with empaths or have a deep understanding of their needs

List of Strategies to live stress-free as an Empath?

Being an empath can be a difficult experience, as it means that you are constantly absorbing the emotions of those around you. To live stress-free as an empath, several strategies can help.

  1. Firstly, it is important to practice self-care and take time for yourself to relax and unwind.
  2. Additionally, setting healthy boundaries with others is essential to protect your energy from being drained by intense emotions from those around you.
  3. Visualizing a glass wall between yourself and others can also help to prevent negative energies from entering your space.
  4. Lastly, engaging in activities such as meditation and immersing yourself in nature can help clear any negative energy and restore balance.

How Does Online Therapy for Empaths Differ from Traditional Methods?

Online therapy for empaths differs from traditional methods in a few key ways.

  1. For starters, online therapy allows empaths to connect with their therapist from the comfort of their own home, eliminating the need to travel to an office and potentially be overwhelmed by other people in the vicinity.
  2. Additionally, online therapy offers more flexibility when it comes to scheduling appointments, as well as access to a larger pool of online therapists, who specialize in helping empaths.
  3. Finally, online therapy can provide more privacy than traditional methods since conversations are not held in person. All of these factors make online therapy an attractive option for many empaths looking for help.

Transform Your Life with Professional Empath Therapy

Empath therapy is a form of counseling specifically designed for highly sensitive people (HSPs) and empaths.

  • It helps individuals to manage overwhelm, gain control of their emotions, and learn how to better handle difficult situations.
  • Professional empath therapists are specially trained to understand the unique needs of HSPs and empaths and can provide an individualized approach to help them reach their goals.
  • Empath therapy can help HSPs and empaths identify their triggers, develop coping strategies, and build resilience to live a more balanced life. It can also help them improve communication skills, set boundaries, and create healthy relationships with others.

With the right support from a professional therapist, those who identify as HSPs or empaths can find the tools they need to lead a happier and healthier life.

How Does Online Therapy for Empaths Work?

Online therapy for empaths is a great way to receive the support and guidance needed to manage the unique challenges of being an empath. It provides a safe, non-judgmental space in which to explore and process emotions, thoughts, and experiences.

Online therapy can be done from the comfort of your own home, at any time that works best for you. Through online therapy, empaths can work with their therapist on developing strategies to better manage their sensitivities and learn how to cope with difficult emotions.

Additionally, online therapy can provide a sense of connection and understanding that may not be available in traditional in-person settings.

Why not ‘Normal’ Therapy Methods for Empaths?

Empaths have unique needs that require specialized therapy methods.

Traditional therapy methods may not be as effective for empaths because they are more sensitive to the emotions and energy of those around them. For example, some therapists in hospitals have a lot of patients and commotion in the environment.

Empaths need a therapist who understands their condition and can provide tailored treatment plans that address their specific needs.

How do I Locate an Empath Therapist Near Me or Online?

If you are looking for an empath therapist, there are a few options available to you.

  1. You can look for one in your local area by searching online or asking around for referrals from friends and family.
  2. Additionally, many online platforms such as Talkspace.com offer access to empath therapists who can provide counseling and support remotely.

List of Therapy Resources for Empaths and HSP

  1. Self-Help Methods:
    • Mindfulness Meditation: A practice that helps individuals develop awareness, acceptance, and compassion towards their thoughts and feelings. Access here
    • Journaling: A powerful tool that allows empaths and HSPs to process their emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a healthy and constructive way. Access here
  2. Books to Read:
    • “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.: A groundbreaking book that explores the unique traits, challenges, and strengths of highly sensitive individuals. Access here on Amazon
    • “The Empath’s Survival Guide” by Judith Orloff, M.D.: A practical guide offering essential tools and strategies for empaths to protect their energy, set boundaries, and thrive in life. Access here on Amazon
  3. Online Courses:
    • Life Navigation for Empaths & Highly Sensitive People: An online course designed to help HSPs build resilience, manage stress, and develop self-care practices. 4.7 out of 5 4.7 (23 ratings) 186 students. Access here
  4. Therapy Services:
    • Talkspace: An online therapy platform with extensive insurance coverage that connects you with licensed therapists specializing in helping empaths and HSPs. Save $50 here
    • Psychology Today Therapist Directory: A comprehensive directory of therapists, many of whom specialize in working with empaths and HSPs. Simply search for a therapist in your area and filter by specialty. Access here

What is the Treatment for an Empath?

Being an empath can be a difficult experience, but there are treatments and therapies available to help.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular treatments for empaths, as it focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – with measurable evidence for reductions in anxiety and depression.

This type of therapy can help you reframe negative thoughts and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Other treatments for empaths include journaling about early traumas, retrieving your inner child, emotional release, setting clear boundaries, conscious communication, and learning to handle difficult emotions with the right tools.

What is the Best Career for an Empath?

If you’re an empath looking for the best career, there are a variety of options according to Indeed.com that can make use of your unique gifts.

  • Some of the best jobs for empaths include registered nurse (RN), social worker, career coach, psychologist, web developer, writer or other creative professions, artist, guidance counselor, landscape designer, gardener, forest ranger work, or other employment that puts you in nature.
  • Additionally, many empaths find success in nursing, teaching, and veterinary work.
  • On the other hand, it’s important to note that some jobs may not be ideal for empaths due to their sensitive nature. These include highly competitive fields such as sales or finance and jobs with high-stress levels such as emergency room doctor or police officer.

These jobs allow empaths to use their heightened sense of empathy to help others and make a difference.

How do I Heal Myself as An Empath?

As an empath, it is important to take care of yourself and your emotional well-being.

Healing yourself as an empath can be done in several ways, such as:

Visualization and forgiveness, setting strong boundaries, regular grounding, making a mindset shift, taking responsibility for your wellbeing, healing core wounds, clearing and protecting your energy field, earthing (connecting with the Earth’s energy), and mourning any losses you experience.

Additionally, self-care practices such as meditation and decompressing can help prevent burnout.

It is also important to remember that being an empath is not a mental illness; however, if you are struggling with anxiety or depression it may be helpful to seek professional help. With patience and love for yourself, you can heal from trauma and PTSD.

Conclusion: Embracing Therapy for Empaths

In conclusion, therapy for empaths can be a transformative and supportive experience that addresses their unique challenges and needs. By working with a therapist who understands and specializes in empath-related issues, empaths can develop effective coping strategies, improve emotional regulation, and establish healthy boundaries.

This ultimately leads to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Empaths need to recognize the value of therapy and seek out professionals who can provide the tailored support they require.

Together, empaths and their therapists can embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal development, growth, and resilience – ensuring that their innate gifts are nurtured and protected.

We invite you to leave a comment below with any questions you may have about therapy for empaths or share your suggestions on which another empath-therapist online mental health service, app, or course you’d like the Online Mental Health Reviews team to explore and review next. We value your input and look forward to hearing from you!

Sources

  1. Bas, S., Kaandorp, M., de Kleijn, Z. P. M., Braaksma, W. J. E., Bakx, A. W. E. A., & Greven, C. U. (2021, October 24). Experiences of Adults High in the Personality Trait Sensory Processing Sensitivity: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10(21), 4912. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10214912

If You Are In Crisis

In Case of Emergency, If you’re experiencing a crisis and cannot wait for an online therapy session, it’s crucial to seek immediate help. In life-threatening situations or if there’s a risk of harm to yourself or others, call 911 without delay.

If you’re contemplating self-harm, reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, where assistance is available 24/7. Additionally, you can contact the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357). This free, confidential helpline offers round-the-clock support, providing information and treatment options for those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

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