Psychotherapy For The Gifted
Jerald Grobman M.D.
Madelon Sann L.C.S.W.

Existential Depression: How can it develop from Both Unsupportive & Supportive Environments

Difficult Circumstances: An Unsupportive Environment

It comes as no surprise that failing to find the right venue and the right relationships in which to express, develop, and share one’s giftedness can make a gifted individual feel depressed. Without support, a gifted individual can feel that giftedness is more of a liability or disability than a remarkable asset. Is being gifted really worth the hassle?

A Positive Supportive Environment: How Can Support for Giftedness Backfire?

What does come as a surprise is that gifted individuals can develop existential depression in almost ideal circumstances and within relationships with people who “get giftedness” and are eager to provide the special resources necessary for its development.

At first, all kinds of support are welcomed. After a while, however, enthusiastic encouragement can exaggerate a gifted individual’s confusion and self-doubt about what it means to be gifted. It can make a gifted individual feel obligated to fully embrace their giftedness well before they are ready to integrate it into the other parts of their personality.

Praise often feels unwarranted. Others believe amazing accomplishments must be the endpoint of an arduous, multi-layered, complex intellectual process. However, when they can be coaxed into doing so, many gifted individuals describe their process of discovery and invention as a rather effortless, straightforward one – more automatic than hard and tortured. Some gifted individuals have described the process as a strange “visitation” – a “not me experience” that came from an external brain or simply tumbled out of their imagination. They feel the same about uncanny physical abilities: they don’t know where they came from, they are just there, requiring little effort.

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Jerald Grobman M.D.

Madelon Sann L.C.S.W.​