Developing a therapeutic alliance with a gifted individual may be difficult. Feeling relieved once their crisis has been resolved may stimulate them to end therapy prematurely. This almost always ensures a return of symptoms. Gifted individuals may also abbreviate psychotherapy because they believe that therapists do not “get” giftedness. As part of crisis intervention, addressing their inner experience of giftedness can convey that psychotherapy has more to offer than symptom relief.
In this stage of psychotherapy we frequently act as psychologically informed mentors, coaches and advisors. The first task is to help establish more effective strategies for managing the real world. Once this is accomplished we help gifted individuals establish or reconnect with a vision for their giftedness. Addressing embarrassment and guilt about being exceptional helps a unified and coherent vision to emerge. We help validate, clarify and explore this vision. Suggestions are made for finding the appropriate venues for full expression of their gifted potential.
In this stage our patients come to understand what efforts to avoid conflict about being gifted by disavowing it through underachievement and self-destructive behavior are the leading causes of depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms. They will also learn:
- The basic concepts of psychodynamic psychology
- The universal nature of psychological conflict
- Psychological conflict is not a sign of mental weakness or mental illness
- The differences between conscious and unconscious conflict
- The origins and long-term effects of unresolved early normal and gifted developmental conflicts and how they intersect with each other.
- The value of tolerating, examining and exploring conflict and anxiety instead of acting impulsively to avoid or deny them.
- Healthier ways of resolving psychological conflicts
- The ubiquitous nature of transference in all relationships
- The nature of psychological resistance to change.
- The nature of adaptive and maladaptive psychological defense mechanisms
- The working through process
Conflicts within the “inner experience” of giftedness and extra cognitive aspects of gifted endowment are explained and examined. We will be facilitating the synergy of intuition, imagination, clairvoyance, curiosity, aesthetic, and physical sensitivities that will help creative work become more productive. During this time we will show how to handle phases of creativity that are explosive and that it is just as important as learning how to handle phases of creativity that seem stagnant. Psychotherapy will also become a model for collaboration in all relationships.