Comprehensive Assessment and Diagnosis


Crisis Management


Assessment and Diagnosis



Comprehensive Assessment and Diagnosis

Collecting Historical Data

We ask the gifted individual or their guardian to provide details of the individuals’ history. The following are the types of information that we will be looking for:

  1.  Adult gifted individuals or parents of gifted children are asked to provide the different parts of their history. This includes:  
    • Developmental
    • Medical
    • Social
    • Education
  2.  History of giftedness
    • A detailed description of the individual’s giftedness is reviewed
    • Dramatic successes and failures are noted.
  3. For gifted children or adolescents, each parent’s personal history is reviewed.
    • The circumstances and history of their marriage are explored.
    • The nature of parent child interactions are examined.
    • Areas of strength and vulnerability are established for each family member.
  4. If applicable, school reports, previous workups, testing results and evaluations are all reviewed.
  5. School teachers, counselors, and psychologists are consulted where appropriate.

Formulating the Program

The formulation identifies each of the internal and external forces in a gifted person’s life that contribute to their problems. The formulation creation can be broken down to 2 components:

1. Hierarchy of Causality

The formulation establishes an order of importance for the different stressors and makes a concise statement of how they individually and in interaction with each other cause the symptoms and maladaptive behavior.

2. The Psychodynamic Component

This aspect of the formulation helps explain how unresolved unconscious and conscious conflicts and anxieties develop into a “Central Dynamic Conflict.” A diagnosis describes what a person has, a formulation describes who a person is and how he/she got to be this way. It helps explain how repetitive maladaptive efforts to resolve emotional conflicts contribute to problems with their work and relationships. Making an accurate diagnosis is never a simple procedure. It requires clinical judgement that comes with experience. A gifted person in crisis can be mistaken for one with a true psychiatric disorder. The most common misdiagnoses are:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Personality Disorders

Special Application of the
Psychodynamic Formulation

Once the formulation is complete, it can act as a guide for psychotherapy as well as for:

  • School Interventions
  • Family Intervention – especially parent guidance
  • Suggestions for learning disability interventions
  • Psychotherapy