The DOES Model Of Elaine Aron


Dr. Elaine Aron has developed a very useful model that describes the basic characteristics of the highly sensitive person. It is called the DOES model which refers to the following key attributes of sensitives:

  • D: depth of processing
  • O: overstimulation
  • E: emotional reactivity and empathy
  • S: sensing the subtle

These 5 characteristics are the most important for understanding the special nature and gifts of the sensitive person.

Does Model And Flow

The DOES model attributes all work together. There is a flow to the elements of the sensitive nature. HSPs take in information, they feel a lot of the nuances around that information, process it deeply and then seek to connect what they are finding to a big picture perspective that lets them make choices and decisions about what to do with the information they take in. The big picture perspective often has humanistic and spiritual values not only because they matter to sensitive people but also because they let a sensitive person make choices that they can feel good about.

Sensitivity And The Unknown

Sensitive people because of what they take in live in a space that combines both the known and unknown. What is known is what the shared culture generally accepts as knowledge including the entire legacy of human exploration and learning. There are other forms of knowing – ones that sensitive people are very familiar with: including knowing from listening to energy and the inner knowing of the True Self.

Because sensitive people have access to more forms of knowing they do not live in the same place as people who are not sensitive. This does not reflect badly on people who are not sensitive. It is simply a different approach to information.

Highly sensitive people, therefore, have access to common knowledge and uncommon knowledge and therefore in trying to resolve the issues around the information that they are presented with have to go to a place that is outside of current experience to resolve it. This effort causes them to seek the bigger picture so that they can figure out how all the pieces fit together and then they have to come back to reality and discern the “next step” which is the best use of the information they take in.

Sensitivity And Thinking Things Through

Seeking the best use of what they take in causes sensitive people to look at information from many perspectives to find the most ethical, humane and constructive approach to problems and challenges. Sensitive people are natural seekers of constructive solutions which is helpful when confronted with so much information and so many possible courses of action.