What’s the Difference Between a Highly Sensitive Person, an Empath, a Healer, and an Intuitive?

"A Highly Sensitive person, an Empath, a Healer, and an Intuitive walk into a bar.”

This isn’t a really bad psychic joke. It’s an actual dilemma that many ponder. What’s the difference between them?

First, my disclaimer: despite my personal opinion that classifications make things more complicated than they have to be—and naming conventions will not help anyone understand anything any deeper—I do think that definitions can sometimes help dispel fear. And anything that helps to dispel even a little bit of fear in a world so fraught with it, I am for it.

With that said, I personally put all of them (The Empath, The Highly Sensitive Person, The Intuitive, The Healer) under one umbrella and call it the Highly Sensory Person. In my world, they are all the same thing.

I can already hear grumbling, “HSPs and Empaths are NOT the same. There are subtle differences that serve to distinguish between them.”

If you want to get caught up in the mainstream, scientific naming conventions of this understudied population, you will see subtle and sometimes major differences between these types of individuals.

But in my world, it doesn’t matter. We’re all the same because we all have a similar purpose in life. It doesn’t matter what HSP vehicle your body is driving in. You are here to elevate the conscious, the energy, and vibration of this world.

Some may ask, “Well, isn’t that everyone’s job?”

Nope, it’s not. Engineers are engineers and architects are architects, all with specific and important work to do, but the HSP is explicitly designed to walk into places and heal. Most of the time, they are not even aware they are doing it. They do not know that their very presence can change the people, situations, and environments they come in contact with. Their purpose involves bringing light to others and to themselves.

You may do that as an empath or healer or intuitive, but to do any of that, you must first be a Highly Sensitive Person:

  • You have a vehicle that picks up on the subtle, that feels everything

  • You over-process information and can often become overstimulated because of it

  • You have a heightened sensory ability (even of the sixth kind)

  • You sop up the emotions of others like a mop

  • You react a little too sensitively to chemicals, especially caffeine and alcohol

  • You are a daydreamer and thinker of all things

  • You have volatile blood sugar

  • You can sometimes seem shy and don’t like being watched or observed

All of it, with its blessings and curses, makes you Highly Sensitive, placed here on this planet with a specific job to do.

As David Viscott says:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”

If you’re Highly Sensitive, this is your life mantra.

In my coaching, I get to meet all kinds of HSPs. They come to me to work on their life path and we work together to further develop it. I help HSPs explore and discover what makes them unique. I help with what Mr. Viscott gives as step number two: we further develop the HSP gift.

Some people doing scientific-based HSP work also say that not every HSP is an empath or has empathic abilities.

I can’t agree with that.

I think the truth here is that their abilities are hidden under fear. I do believe every HSP is an empath. Some will go on to choose whether they want to follow that path or not based on their current life circumstance and their comfort level with magical or esoteric things.

Most will fear it and will decide not to develop it. But I do believe that being an empath or intuitive lies in all HSPs. It is just that in some, it may lie dormant their whole lives while in others, it will be very active.

I believe it is more of a life choice than anything for some and a deep-rooted fear to overcome in others. Because let’s face it: being intuitive comes with all sorts of vulnerabilities.  You can feel very exposed, and bringing down the defenses to let mystical things in can be scary, so I understand.

HSPs may not always be empaths or intuitives, but I do not think it has anything to do with lack of ability—it’s a choice.

So, let’s say the Highly Sensitive Person, the Empath, the Healer and the Intuitive do all walk into a bar…

The bartender would think they were all very different because they all had their own unique characteristics. But deep down, they really aren’t. They all want the same things out of life and were given an extraordinary gift to do that.

Are they really so different?