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How to Distinguish Between the Highly Sensitive Person, Empath and Clairsentient?

What’s the Difference? The Highly Sensitive Person, Empath and Clairsentient

It’s easier than you think!

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Think of them in layers and one being slightly more enhanced than the next yet equally special in their own way.

They are indeed similar, and you may be exclusively more one than the other. You may also have a bit of them all!

Remember that regardless of your lean or ability, these are true gifts! Honor them, care for them and use them for the highest of good, love and light. Set the intention to use your gifts to guide, support and help those in need, spreading your own light throughout the world.

Let’s get started!

Highly Sensitive Person

“What exactly is a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?” you ask. This term began to receive notoriety by the well-known psychologist, Dr. Elain Aron who discovered through research and studies that as much as 20 percent of the population are bestowed with a unique and heightened sensitivity to the world around them. These people get things quick, are a step ahead of the game and easily notice more than the average person. They are very in tune to the external stimuli around them.

How to Know If You’re an HSP

Highly sensitive people are especially sensitive to smell, taste, sound and feelings or emotions. In addition, certain foods and flavors and things like caffeine or even the smallest doses of medicine affect them in drastic ways. They also have a few other unique characteristics:

  • Bright lights, especially fluorescent lights, overwhelm you. You might even hear the humming of the lights and become agitated by it.
  • Must have quite time having been in sensory rich, loud, busy settings.
  • Especially sensitive to works of art and it may even bring you to tears or emotion of some kind.
  • Very uneasy when you have little time to complete a long list of to-dos.
  • Odoriferous settings leave you overwhelmed and in need of fresh air.

In sum, the HSP is very emotionally in tune to their environment and in many cases they don’t know why. They subconsciously receive the often very subtle clues in body language, tone of voice, and/or facial expressions of those they are interacting with at any given time.

What is an Empath

In turn, the empath can feel the emotions of all those around them including animals. They are highly sensitive to the energy field of human or animals, also called the aura. The difference here, as we add on a layer, is that the empath will absorb the emotional energy of those around them taking the emotions on as if they were their own. Yes, they literally experience the exact same emotional effects in their own bodies of those near.

RELATED: How to Use Your Empathic Ability

A Classic Empath vs. HSP Experience

Scenario: A heated conversation occurs in a room or setting of some kind between two people.

The HSP, unaware of the tense conversation, knocks and enters the room and the couple does a splendid job of acting as though nothing is happening. The HSP, upon entering the room would sense the tone of the room immediately because they can perceive the ever so subtle cues of body language, voice intonation and facial mannerism regardless that these cues may be hidden quite well.

However, the empath could enter the same room hours after the arguing two left the room and still feel and even absorb the emotional residual energy from the argument without any obvious physical evidence that it took place.

There is no hard and fast rule, but you might think of it like this: Most empaths are HSP but not all HSP are empaths.

A Few Empathic Traits

  • Must turn off the television when you see violence or tragedy.
  • Literally feel the emotion of others when you are near them.
  • Often root for the losing team or the underdog in a situation.
  • Empaths are highly creative and have extremely rich imaginations, hence vivid dreams.
  • They know when someone is being dishonest.
  • Many empaths are natural healers involved in healing, medicinal or therapeutic arts.

MORE PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT: Psychic Medium Gives 5 Powerful Coping Tips for Empaths

We Arrive at the Clairsentient

Now then, adding on yet another layer, we explore the Clairsentient. Clairsentients are quite often highly sensitive people as well as empaths.

Clairsentients, just like empaths can sense the emotional energy around them and take it on as their own.  The clear feeling ability of the clairsentient expands a bit further allowing them to make absolute sense of the information regarding that energy around them. Here’s what I mean by that: Clairsentients have a sixth sense or heightened sensory ability that takes them beyond mere physical or emotional. They add in a component now of knowing much like the clairvoyant receives knowing through visions or images. So, the Clairsentient may have a physical sensation response to a person around them such as a tingling in their hands and know with absolute certainty this person needs physical healing. They may feel a throbbing in their throat (throat chakra) and receiving a direct knowing of this feeling, such as this person is sick with a cough, healed from cancer or more symbolically is needing to express more in life.

Along with their heightened sensory awareness and ability to absorb the emotional energy of those around them, clairsentients also gain great knowing (symbolic, factual or physical) from extrasensory perception that they can then use to guide someone.

Using our scenario above regarding the two people in the room involved in the heated argument, the Clairsentient would enter the room hours later and not only tune into the energy of the room but they would also be able to perceive clear and specific knowing regarding details about the two in the argument such as a sense about why they were arguing about. They may also feel in their body the sensations one or the other was feeling during the tense interaction – such as heart racing, sweaty palms or grief. They may also get a sense through feelings of what’s impending such as a break up or divorce.

Clairsentient Abilities & Traits

  • You give more attention to feelings of experiences in their daily life.
  • Your language includes words like feel, touch and sense vs. hear, see or smell. For example, you say, “As I consider this project, I feel …” as opposed to “As I consider this project, I’m hearing you say or I’m envisioning …”
  • A classic clairsentient response is the chills in your body. When this happens, pay attention to what’s happening around you and become aware of higher consciousness signs, symbols and messages presenting for you in the moments surrounding this.
  • You’ve experienced a sensation of a slight touch somewhere on your body – perhaps your shoulder or head to find no one there.
  • Your feel the emotions of others, this emotion often manifests physically in your body (inside your body or outside your body) and you have a sense of knowing, through a heightened sensory ability, what this is related to and/or how you can help.

RELATED: Psychic Development: Quick and Easy Access to Your Psychic Gift of Clairsentience

Learn More with Psychic Development Training

There you have it! There are many similarities between these three terms however there is a stark difference between each that accounts for the main difference. Remember, you might be one, all three or a combination of each. Over time, learning and development you’ll better discern this knowing. May this new level of understanding these ‘emotional abilities’ point you in a new and valuable direction!

If you’d like to learn more about; psychic medium and how to connect with your spirit guides and other courses for psychic development training, check out my tele-courses and development programs!

What’s Next?

I hope you enjoyed this article on the very popular topic of HSP, Empaths and Clairsentients. If you’re looking for more spiritual development information, check out The Intuitive Hour: Awaken Your Inner Voice podcast, along with my over 183 episodes covering a wide variety of intuitive development topics.

This article is based on an episode at the Intuitive Hour: Awaken Your Inner Voice, one of the Top 8 Podcasts of 2022 To Improve Your Interpersonal Skills right alongside some of the podcast greats: Anthony Robbins, Jay Shetty, Brendon Burchard and featured as 45 Best Psychic Podcasts.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast AddictPocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music, or your favorite podcast platform.

Photo credit: iStock


  • Jay says:

    Never realized it before but by reading your blog, I just might be clairsentient. I can relate to the abilities or traits I experience which brings me to the conclusion to be clairsentient. I can ‘ read’ a person within seconds, I seem to use the word ‘ feel’ frequently, I have felt a hand gently on my shoulder when I meditate and I’ve been aware of chills that happen when I’m not cold physically, this just happened yesterday and has happened more times before. Maybe these are the beginning stages I’m experiencing . Thank you Michelle for sharing this article! -Jay

  • Davi says:

    What a wonderful explanation of these lovely gifts 🙂
    I remember when I was younger my mom liked to watch Entertainment Tonight. There would be a couple on being interviewed and I would say, “I don’t think that they’re going to be together for too much longer” and they would break up not too long after. Years later until my mom brought it up is when I felt like hey, maybe I do have a gift here!

    Thank you, Michelle!

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve had abilities my whole life but recently an intense reawakening. I’m able to understand more now that I’m a Clairsentient and not an empath. I just need to figure out how to control my emotions when they flow in from others. Thank you so much for your descriptions.

  • Tina Richard says:

    This is what I’ve been trying to explain to people for years……I can be thinking about someone and they contact me a few minutes later or at that exact moment. I do have to be very emotionally close to you for this to happen. Although, I have seen spirits, and can feel them as well. As young as age 5. But unfortunately, I cannot get a more defined sense of who they are or what they want.
    I also have premonitions but only in my dreams. That started at age 16, dreamt my grandfathers death before it happened. Oddly enough the grandparent I wasn’t even close to. I’m kind of in the middle of the spectrum, I think. It’s weird.
    Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by an unrest, uneasy, angry “feeling” the fight or flight kicks in and gives me anxiety attacks and I have to leave the room! Funerals are especially hard….but sometimes I can be a perfectly relaxed happy setting and this just kicks in.
    Proven by a phone call or text from a loved one or in person someone becomes distressed. It is so frustrating. I feel like people think I’m weird or a drama queen.

  • Lenore Florio says:

    As I read this article, I can see myself in all of the examples, can this be true?
    I’ve known I’m an empath but reading this, I see sensitive and clairsentient parts as well, ….

  • Have been a Sensitive/empath all my life, I tend to know other sensitives when they are close by. I can Literally feel the emotion of others when near them, this can be quite scary. This state of mind includes many traits. e.g. My 2nd wife wasnt very ill but was not right, 17th Feb 2000 I had a vision (my mother) and was told she was seriously ill, I told her and her parents and others, most said dont be silly or some such, even quite nasty things to me! Fifteen weeks later she died. I often come across like minded people and usually we know each other yet are complete strangers! If you have it, value it, use it for the good of yourself and others. dont mock those who profess it!

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