Take a look at our additional resources, references, and publications.

Part 1

Part 2

For Parents


Why Do Gifted Individuals Request Psychotherapy?

Many gifted individuals have trouble adjusting to their environment. Often they feel they just can’t find a way to fit in socially and find the right
school or job. Less well known sources of difficulty are the problems that gifted individuals have with their “internal experience” of giftedness

Exceptional endowments may feel like liabilities instead of assets. Their “asynchronous development” — emotional maturity that lags behind precocious intellect may prevent them from embracing their unusual accomplishments Exceptionally or “profoundly” gifted individuals may be seen by others as powerful and charismatic. Being revered and admired rather than isolated and rejected can also cause emotional conflicts.”

What is special about your assessment protocol?

We take a complete personal and family history as well as evaluate all previous assessments, workups, and past therapies. This procedure allows us to examine all aspects of a gifted individual’s experience. By integrating subjective and objective data we arrive at a dynamic formulation which then is used as a guide for establishing a comprehensive treatment plan.

What can I do if my child won’t come for asessment or treatment?

Gifted children and adolescents may sometimes resist coming to a therapist. Parent guidance sessions alone may provide helpful insights into the child’s problem as well as strategies for managing their difficult behavior.

What is your experience with the “twice exceptional” child or treatment?

Careful knowledgeable assessment is the key. A distinction must be drawn between a true neurologically based learning disability and a learning disability caused by unresolved emotional conflicts. Many children have “pseudo learning disabilities”. These are self imposed deficits that have occurred because of difficult family dynamics, an inappropriate school environment, problems with peers, or unresolved conflicts that come from their inner experience of giftedness.”

Is your type of therapy short or long term?

Time spent in therapy is an individual matter. For some gifted individuals and their families, our consultation process alone is sufficient. Assessment of gifted growth and development can clarify issues and separate problem areas. Often in a short period of time, we can make recommendations that can get gifted growth back on track.

Other gifted individuals choose to go beyond symptom relief in order to explore the deeper psychological aspects of their giftedness. They often want help making decisions about how best to use their giftedness and in how to improve their relationships. Therapeutic work in these areas is usually a longer term process.

What is your experience using psychiatric medications?

Many gifted individuals and their families come to us in crisis. It is often necessary to use psychotropic medications to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and fears of going crazy. Used judiciously, medications can often be eliminated once a solid, therapeutic alliance has been established.


Our References + Further Reading

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  2. Colangelo, N., & Assouline, S. G. (2000). Counseling gifted students. In K. A. Heller, F. J. Mönks, R. J. Sternberg, & R. F. Subotnik (Eds.), International handbook of giftedness and talent (2nd ed., pp. 595–607). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  3. Colarusso, C. A. (1980). Psychoanalysis of a severe neurotic learning disturbance in a gifted adolescent boy. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 44, 585–602.
  4. Dahlberg, W. (1992). Brilliance: The childhood dilemma of unusual intellect. Roeper Review, 15, 7–10.
  5. Grobman, J. (2006). Underachievement in exceptionally gifted adolescents and younger adults: A psychiatrist’s view. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17, 199–210.
  6. Haggard, H. R. (1938). King Solomon’s mines. New York: Longman’s Green.
  7. Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: His life and universe. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  8. Jacobsen, M. (1999). Arousing the sleeping giant: Giftedness in psychotherapy. Roeper Review, 22, 36–42.
  9. Kelly, K. (1970). A precocious child in analysis. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25, 122–145.
  10. Kerr, B. (2007). Science, spirit, and talent development. In S. Mendaglio & J. S. Peterson (Eds.), Models of counseling gifted children, adolescents, and young adults (pp. 231–252). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
  11. Lovecky, D. (1990). Warts and rainbows: Issues in psychotherapy of the gifted. Advanced Development Journal, 2, 107–125.
  12. Marton, F., Fensham, P., & Chaiklin, S. (1994). A Nobel’s eye view of scientific intuition: Discussion with the Nobel prize-winners in physics, chemistry and medicine (1970–1986). International Journal of Science Education, 16, 457–473.
  13. Mendaglio, S., & Peterson, J. S. (Eds.). (2007). Models of counseling gifted children, adolescents, and young adults. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
  14. Miller, A. (1992). Scientific creativity: A comparative study of Henri Poincare and Albert Einstein. Creativity Research Journal, 5, 385–418.
  15. Oremland, J. D. (1975). An unexpected result of the analysis of a talented musician. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30, 375–404
  16. Perry, S., Cooper, A. M., & Michels, R. (1987). The psychodynamic formulation: Its purpose, structure and clinical application. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 543–550.
  17. Rocamora, M. (1992). Counseling issues with recognized and unrecognized gifted adults, with six case studies. Advanced Development, 4, 147–161.
  18. Sendak, N. (1984). Where the wild things are. New York: Harper Collins.
  19. Shavinina, L., & Seeratan, K. (2004) . Extracognitive phenomena in the intellectual functioning of gifted, creative and talented individuals. In L. Shavinina & N. Ferrari (Eds.), Beyond knowledge: Extracognitive aspects of developing high ability (pp. 73–101). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  20. Silverman, L. K. (Ed.). (2000). Counseling the gifted and talented. Denver, CO: Love.
  21. Vaillant, G. E. (1971). Theoretical hierarchy of adaptive ego mechanisms. Archives of General Psychiatry, 24, 107–118.
  22. Vaillant, G. E. (2000) Adaptive mental mechanisms: Their role in a positive psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 89–98.
  23. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. Vol. 33, No. 1, 2009, pp. 106–125. Copyright ©2009 Prufrock Press Inc.,