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“High sensitivity is not a clinical diagnosis, but a personality trait you can use.”

“High sensitivity is not a clinical diagnosis, but a personality trait you can use.”

Do you often come home exhausted after a day at the office? With the new SPS monitor, you can measure how sensitive you are to different types of stimuli. Psychologist Veronique de Gucht developed the questionnaire: “I want to remove high sensitivity from the mystical atmosphere.”

Those with high sensitivity are above average sensitive to sounds and smells, but can also pick up on the emotions of others well, for example. “A questionnaire to map high sensitivity was developed as early as the 1990s, but the focus was mainly on the negative aspects of sensory stimulation sensitivity, such as quickly becoming overstimulated when faced with too many stimuli at the same time,” says Veronique Dee. Gosht. “I also wanted to investigate the positive aspects, for example how sensitive someone is to the emotional charge of the art or the feelings that the group plays out with.”

Measure your stimulus sensitivity

That’s why she developed a new questionnaire, the SPSQ, which has been published in an international journal. “Not only scientists, but also therapists, were keen to use the questionnaire next. My colleague Dion Fuestenberg and I then developed the questionnaire into a sanitary and phytosanitary monitor. The monitor will be available from this High Allergy Week Anyone can complete it for free.


After completing the survey, you will immediately see a clear visualization of your scores on various scales compared to the average of a large sample of the general population. What can you do with this information? ‘With the screen you can gain self-knowledge. For example, if the questionnaire shows that you have great difficulty coping with the many demands and stimuli from the outside world, this would explain why you feel exhausted after a party and need to withdraw. You can then come up with strategies to deal with this better, for example by planning a quiet day if you know you will be going out in the evening. But the screen also provides insight into the positive aspects of high sensitivity, for example in the workplace. “Those who score high on the social efficacy scale have an easy view of the feelings and intentions of others. This makes you well suited to giving career advice, for example.”

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It is not a self-help tool

De Gucht emphasizes: The display is purely informational and not a self-help tool. “Those who suffer from psychological problems due to their high sensitivity, and may be exposed to psychological burnout, for example Finally, I recommend contacting a therapist. However, fellow psychologists regularly ask De Gucht to send the questionnaire, for example, if they suspect a client of being too sensitive. “The monitor result is a starting point to discuss this further within treatment.”

From the Sufi atmosphere

“We are currently conducting research on the relationship between high sensitivity and work stress in cooperation with the Flemish Association for Highly Sensitive People.” Is there a relationship between scores on the SPSQ and the chance that someone will experience burnout? Based on the data now collected using the SPS Monitor, the questionnaire will be further refined and improved. De Gucht is also working on versions in different languages. “My goal is to create awareness about high sensitivity. Until a few years ago, one of my colleagues dismissed this as a ‘dragonfly concept’. I want to remove the mystical air from this phenomenon. High sensitivity exists, not as a clinical diagnosis, but as a personality trait that people possess to a greater extent.” Or less. If you know in which areas you are most sensitive, you can better set boundaries and use your strengths.