How to spot a hypersensitive client

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How to spot a hypersensitive client 

A hypersensitive person is normally somebody who has a strong sensory sensitivity process. So they have a an innate sensitivity and would be more sensitive (when compared to other people) when faced with a particular situation.

It is suggested that approximately 20% of the population could be classified as hypersensitive or have a natural ability to feel more deeply. But depending on the culture, sensitivity can be seen as a real asset or a major flaw. For example, across Asia, we normally see many people with a naturally sensitive disposition. This is not classified as being hypersensitive, but more gentle and in touch with their feelings and the feelings of others.

In contrast to this, across North America and Europe, you often hear phrases like ‘big boys don’t cry’ or simply get told to ‘grow up’. Even within the corporate world, many of us are still expected to be serious and in complete control of our feelings. Therefore showing emotions in the workplace is still considered a sign of weakness and so many of us are taught to repress our emotions and stay strong under pressure or stress.

We have identified 15 things to look out for when working with a client who may be hypersensitive:

  • They are respectful, empathetic and caring, and like people to feel good in their company
  • Intuition is a natural talent or skill and they could be seen as having a sixth sense
  • They absorb the emotions of others and feel sad if the people around them feel sad
  • They will want things to be perfect and will feel stressed if something does not go to plan
  • They will normally pay attention to even the smallest detail and be meticulous or fussy at times
  • They avoid situations where they could experience loud noises
  • Being alone or solitude is the best way to re-focus and become calm
  • Sitting still could be an issue and they may have a lively or irritable nature
  • They may lash out or react without thinking through the consequences
  • Or become paralized by all the different options and find it hard to make a decision
  • Criticism, conflict and blame cause pain or significant upset
  • Tears come easily and they do not find it difficult to cry
  • The arts (literature, cinema, music, visual arts, etc.) generate deep emotion
  • They can easily be hurt and have difficulty moving on or dealing with any unpleasant emotions
  • Tiredness can be a recurring issue due to emotional exhaustion, both mentally and physically

Our natural response to specific situations is woven like a barrier into our self-protection system and can result in somebody being more timid, more anxious and generally with more social phobias. We also see hypersensitive people suffering from low self-esteem, so it can be helpful to talk through this list with any clients who present as being naturally sensitive. By helping them spot the situations that could trigger their emotions, you will provide them with an opportunity to better understand why they react in the way they do. 


Further reading:

This can be the start of a journey to help your clients master their emotions and learn how to adapt their approach in future. Helping them find a balance in life can also support any work you are doing with them to build confidence or self-esteem and deliver deeper feelings of happiness.

To support you as a professional coach, we explore this topic in our exclusive ebook that also includes a coaching tool to help measure different emotions. Check it out in the online shop:

Coaching Emotional Intelligence – This practical guide covers emotions, emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence in the workplace. We look at coaching emotional intelligence and share examples of how it can be tested.


We have also published a range of ebooks and kits to help you within your coaching sessions:


We constantly add content to the site, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.


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