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 ARE YOUR SPECIAL CREDENTIALS FOR WORKING WITH GIFTED INDIVIDUALS? DR. GROBMAN has had more than 30 years of experience providing psychiatric assessments, consultation, medication and psychotherapy for adolescents and adults in many different clinical settings. He understands the differences between “normal” and gifted development and can distinguish a person with a true psychiatric disorder from an individual in a gifted adjustment crisis.
MADELON SANN has provided psychotherapy to gifted adults and children for more than 30 years. She is familiar with all aspects of normal as well as gifted development and how to assess problems that may arise in both. She has worked with parents in guidance and consulted with teachers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and educational specialists. She can distinguish between gifted children who may need an educational adjustment, a change in peer relationships, a child caught in family conflicts or a child who has internal conflicts with his/her giftedness.
Her experience with PDD and spectrum disorders allows her to distinguish gifted children with developmental delays, developmental fixations or emotional conflicts from children with Asperger’s Disorder.
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 ASSESSMENT 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, A GIFTED CHILD WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY? 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-TERM 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.