The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P.

Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person

$34.95 $17.48

More than five million Americans are “Anomalously Sensitive Persons (ASPs).”  An Anomalously Sensitive Person exhibits uncommonly high levels of sensitivity, not only in the emotional realm, but also in the physiological, cognitive, altered states of consciousness, and transpersonal (“metaphysical,”) realms as well.

The sensitivities of an ASP can manifest in many different ways: in the physiological realm as immune/auto-immune disorders or heightened sensory awareness; in the cognitive realm as learning disorders or genius; in the emotional realm as emotional disorders or heightened intrapersonal and interpersonal attunement; in the altered states of consciousness realm as dissociative disorders or creativity; and in the transpersonal realm as extra-sensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK), out-of-body experiences (OOBE), trance channeling, or Kundalini arousal. The traits of the ASP, which originate in the structure and chemistry of the brain, have important psychological, medical, educational, and social implications.  While persons who are unusually sensitive may have a variety of psychological and physiological problems, including decreased life expectancy, simplistic attempts to “correct” this condition may be at the expense of undermining potential extraordinary abilities.

Drawing on vivid case histories and concrete data generated by testing hundreds of people with an innovative questionnaire, David Ritchey investigates the links between a person's sensitivities and a host of other factors related to biology (“nature”), history (“nurture”) and temperament (“personality”).

This persuasive work, on the leading edge in the field of transpersonal psychology, carries the reader to the frontiers of higher consciousness and human potential.  It is a thought-provoking, life-changing book that has profound significance for the ultimate comprehension of the nature of the human spirit.


David Ritchey






8.5 x 11



4 reviews for The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P.

  1. nachomama (Amazon Review)

    Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2015

    I am loving this book. Got it on a whim because I’m left handed and I do CRV…wasnt expecting to be blown away by the many aspects of my life, abilities, challenges and quirks that I never thought of as related. I’m learning a lot and recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the topic. It explains a great deal about the brain, the mind and societal pressure to conform to the medical model we currently hold up as infalible. There is nothing wrong with me. i have certain low-grade learning disabilities, speech impairment, spacial relationship challenges, timeline glitches,left handedness and all that is consistent with transpersonal experience or ESP. believe it or beat it. Its a validating romp through claiming your gifts if you have them or extracting yourself from limited thinking if you don’t.

  2. Toffee (Amazon Review)

    5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Book!
    Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2011

    This brilliant book is one of the best books about sensitive people available today, and in my opinion, a must read for all highly sensitive people.

    In 2003, David Ritchey, an independent psychological researcher, published his groundbreaking work: The HISS of the ASP. The title refers to a scientifically based questionnaire he created to discover more about highly sensitive people, referred to by him as anomalously sensitive people, hence the word ASP.

    Most of the literature about highly sensitive people (HSP’s), focus on social and emotional issues. Ritchey has taken a different approach. He identifies the spectrum of qualities that are part of the condition called anomalously sensitive or highly sensitive, provides a scientific basis for its causes, and describes the range of illnesses, experiences and abilities of this important group of people. The result is a work that provides a comprehensive view of the anomalously sensitive person.

    David Ritchey’s work challenges myths about the sensitive person, and invites a compassionate and more welcoming attitude to people who are different. This book is vital for anyone who wants to understand more about the human race. I consider his book one of the most important I have ever read.

  3. Elle (Amazon Review)

    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Research Tool
    Reviewed in the United States on July 7, 2015

    An excellent research book!

  4. The Lord of the Rings (Amazon Review)

    5.0 out of 5 stars This book provides a knowledge structure to help humanize anomalous experience.
    Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2016

    We have all, even the most mundane of us, experienced odd things from time to time in our lives. Most of us are limited in our anomalous experiences so that most of our lives are entirely average in most areas. That is what average is, the common experience of most of us. Those of us for instance who are lucid dreamers, find we are reassured with a simple explanation such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, plug in our CPAP machines and go on with our lives, relieved of any burden of belief in the paranormal. But what of the person who is so sensitive they are not average in a good part of or even most of their life? How do they find a place where they can accept themselves? How do they find a way of achieving the life milestones (family, vocation, avocation, spiritual center for instance) we average folk take for granted? How can their helping professionals find a knowledge structure to help them understand then accept themselves?

    Obviously such a knowledge structure should provide an accurate description of the client’s not-average experiences, provide a common language for them and their clinician to use to describe their experiences, provide a common language to teach self acceptance and to teach more happy ways of dealing with bothersome thoughts, feelings, behaviors.

    The writer, a hypnotherapist, mentions initially that he is not using the psychiatric terminology as way of defining such experiences. Later in the book it becomes obvious that he has found a working transpersonal model which borrows from but does not necessarily depend on the biomedical model, behaviorism, religion, philosophy, psychodynamics nor other classic models to work. Using it he would appear to approach the care of his clients with a more experiential and phenomenological stance which affirms the individual while defining their problems in an equally approachable manner.

    He then goes on to lay out the diagnostic tools and logic used for the therapist to achieve an understanding of sufficient transpersonal psychology to counsel the individual who has anomalous sensitivity and help them find a path to relief of their distress. This book is not going to take the place of a Jungian analysis diploma, but would appear to be more affordable and achievable for the vast majority of us, the average therapists of the world.

    This book has achieved popularity, but it is actually technical, more directed toward mental healthcare professionals than laymen. The vocabulary and concepts are transparent to the thirty year veteran therapist who will say, “that is so obvious, why didn’t I think of it”, but the layman will struggle. I would suppose all the rest of us will be able to understand more or less, somewhere in the middle. I would suppose it will never achieve the wild success of Temple Grandin’s classic “Thinking in Pictures” but hopefully its ideas will filter down through the helping community to better humanize our treatment of the “difficult cases”. If they do, it may become as important to the popular understanding of neurodiversity as Grandin’s more lay oriented writing. The writer seeks to humanize the experience of anomalous perception in a manner which is both sympathetic and evenhanded.

    In addition to the text, Ritchey provides a copy of a shorter version of his H.I.S.S. test, the Holistic Inventory of Stimulus Sensitivities. For Fifteen dollars the reader can get their answers examined and learn their own sensitivities. But this is actually much more important than just a gee whiz test for readers. The H.I.S.S. is a screening tool for, among other things, the Kundalini experience, which just happens to be congruent with the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy. So in a decade where there are mandates that health insurance plans provide free intergenerational genocide services on demand but make it impossibly expensive for the common citizen to obtain high resolution MRI scans of the mesial temporal lobes, EEG brain mapping and other clinical specialty services this is a good thing to know.

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About the Author

After being educated in economics at Yale University, David Ritchey served five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, including a year in Vietnam. Back in civilian life, he initially became a businessman as he had been trained but, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he dropped out, got a divorce, moved to a remote old stone farmhouse and took up fine art photography as his vocation, winning over 60 awards during the next fifteen years.

During that period, he became fascinated with the psychology and neurology of both creativity and metaphysics and returned to school to train as a psychotherapist. During his fifteen years of clinical practice specializing in hypnotherapy, he undertook a twelve-year project to research and write about such subjects and his first book, The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P., was published in 2003. Writing proved to be every bit as rewarding as photography and became his primary vocation. Being an inveterate learner, he focused on non-fiction subjects, enjoying the research as much as the writing. His more than forty published works have won over 25 literary awards. His books can be found at and online book stores.

See Books by David Ritchey Here

His avocations have included scuba diving, sailing, skiing, tennis, golf, gardening, woodworking, dogs, magic, bridge, and Scrabble. He has two adult children, Harper and Mac, and one almost-adult grandchild, Brendan. He lives in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and spends most of his time either writing or engaging in stimulating conversations over restaurant meals with close friends.