Top critical review
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Adds very little to the topic of HSP
on January 14, 2006
Ted Zeff wrote this book as a way of offering new practical & coping strategies for HSP. Being a HSP himself, Zeff attempts to offer insights into the daily struggles HSP experience in their lives. Zeff's basic assumption is HSP are extremely sensitive, and if they don't learn skills to cope with the sensitivity, and over stimulation they experience, they will continue to be at-risk for psychological, physical and problems.
The book has strengths in that it is easy to read and short in length. The author offers a bibliography and web sites for HSPs to check out, and he attempts to address coping strategies as the book title suggest.
However, I had problems with the lack of creditable research with the book. He continues to say "based on my research" and the only evidence of research he offers is citing Elaine Aron's work (he did not conduct his own personal interviews with HSPs). In fact, he utilizes her (Aron's) quizzes, and her language/definition of highly sensitive. Moreover, in Chapter 9 entitled: Answering Common Questions from HSPs, Zeff makes the chapter appear as if he conducted interviews with many HSPs, yet he only offers a hand-full of case examples from HSPs. In chapter 9, he presents questions posed by HSPs, but fells to establish when and where these so-called questions and interviews took place which leads me to believe he made the questions up.
Furthermore, I had difficulties with the way Zeff protrays HSPs as very weak persons that are easily overwhelmed by any differences that goes against the nature of being HSPs For example, he talks about limiting TV viewing because of the stress it causes on HSPs. He says HSP should limit tv viewing to only uplifting shows, and when commercials come on, HSPs need to mute the sound. Why? Because "commercials can wreak havoc on HSP finely tuned nervous systems." (Keep in mind the only evidence he offers on this TV theory is based on his being a TV addict and what it did to his nervous system.) In addition, he says HSP need to be careful of video stores and picking movies because, "selecting a nonviolent video in the often-hectic environment of most video stores is quite challenging for HSPs." Again who told him that? Where is the evidence that video stores are challenging for HSP? Lastly, Zeff suggests that the telephone is problematic for HSPs because of our ability to "scare easily." In fact, he is so convinced that HSPs experience "problems" with the telephone rang tone, and people talking on cell phones, he suggests we need a game plan to address these problems. What's the game plan? Let the phone rang several times before answering it and in the meanwhile, the HSPs should take slow deep breaths, mentally repeat a mantra of "clam" before picking it up. He also says to change the rang tone to a more relaxing sound. And regarding cell phones, "based on his research" his suggests that HSPs wear ear plugs in stores/airports, and if need be, consult with an audiologist so that they can custom make a set of earplugs to escape from the "stimuli-saturated world."
Finally, I am surprised Elaine Aron chose to write the foreword to this book. I don't see where this book adds to her work or says anything different from it. I think Aron has written all there is to say about HSP in her two books, and books like Zeff have nothing much to add. My concern is that if non-HSP read this book, they might form the opinion that HSPs are whiney babies who are sensitive traits to get what we want. The only useful information I found in the book was the HSP web sites.
To save you time and money of reading/buying the book, the HSP web sties are:
If you want to visit Zeff's web site it's [...]