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Counseling the Gifted

"Counseling gifted students and their families is one of the most challenging and rewarding functions for a counselor. Gifted students have tremendous variability not only in their cognitive capacity, but in their affective development. While there are clearly common themes to the social-emotional issues confronting gifted students, there are profound individual differences among gifted students..." Nicholas Colangelo, Counseling Gifted and Talented Students

Also visit Social / Emotional, Sensitivities, Spirituality, Depression and Suicide and Dabrowski's Theory
  ...and Social Stuff in Hot Topics! for Social/Emotional books for our kids...

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents Recommended by Roberta M. Milgram
Gives counselors, classroom teachers, gifted education specialists, and parents an understanding of the academic and social-personal needs of gifted and talented students, awareness of ways that they themselves may help these children, and an introduction to the available guidance strategies and materials... Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
Counseling the Gifted and Talented Recommended by Linda Kreger Silverman
A great resource for understanding the many and complex needs of gifted children... Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
Educational Therapy for the Gifted: The Chicago Approach Recommended by Leland Baska
While all mental health professionals who work for schools would like to provide unconditional assistance in meeting their client's needs, the job description for such individuals in public schools often interferes with a strict adherence to this practice. Case loads are heavy, and the roles to be performed many. What kind of counseling, then, can be delivered in a public school context?
The "me" behind the mask: Intellectually gifted students and the search for identity Recommended by Miraca Gross
To be valued within a peer culture which values conformity, gifted young people may mask their giftedness and develop alternative identities which are perceived as more socially acceptable. The weaving of this protective mask requires the gifted child to conceal her love of learning, her interests which differ from those of age-peers, and her advanced moral development. If this assumed identity does indeed bring her the social acceptance she seeks, the gifted child may become afraid to take off her mask...
Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults Recommended by Sal Mendaglio & Jean Sunde Peterson (or from Amazon)
Designed to help interested professionals conduct effective counseling with highly able clients, with literature review, tecniques, and case studies for each technique...
The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? Recommended by Maureen Neihart, Sally M. Reis, Nancy M. Robinson, Sidney M. Moon
What does the research (slim as it is) tell us?  Essential reading for those who wish to enable gifted students to develop their strengths and to position them to make the contributions of which they are capable.  Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
A Call to Action 
Here’s your [second] chance to make a difference in the future of counseling services provided to gifted children in schools, community agencies, and private counseling-related services. This request comes from Andrew Mahoney, Past-Chair of the Counseling and Guidance Division of NAGC and the Counseling and Guidance Division of NAGC...
Arousing the Sleeping Giant: Giftedness in Adult Psychotherapy by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
A method of inquiry for psychotherapists who suspect that giftedness may be an unidentified issue in a client's well being. Components of the process of gifted-self discovery; Attendant affective and behavioral responses of client and therapist; Suggestions for assisting the client's post-therapy stability and growth...
The "Achievement by Proxy" spectrum: recognition and clinical response to pressured and high-achieving children and adolescents by Ian R. Tofler (available from Highbeam.com, by subscription, or free trial)
Supportive behavior refers to adult pride and satisfaction experienced in supporting a child's development while also nurturing that child's abilities, special talents, and performances. It is natural for parents to have ambitions for their children and to sacrifice for them.  The adult is at risk for crossing the line [when] social advancement and financial benefits of the child's achievements have now become important, concurrent, or even primary goals for the adult, not a simple dividend of success...
Adolescence and gifted: Addressing existential dread by J'Anne Ellsworth
Gifted youth may be especially susceptible to experiencing Existential Dread. If teachers, parents and students work together, the following solutions are suggested for consideration: a) nourish students socially, (b) work toward acceptance of giftedness and teach methods for enhancing emotional development, (c) provide philosophical nurturance...
An argument for proactive attention to affective concerns of gifted adolescents by Jean Peterson, Purdue University
To meet affective needs of gifted adolescents, teachers in gifted education can avail themselves of the expertise and resources of school counselors who, especially in recent decades, have been trained to create and implement prevention-oriented, developmental guidance programs. This article provides information about what counselors can offer to gifted adolescents and their teachers...
Assessing and Advocating for Gifted Students: Perspectives for School and Clinical Psychologists by Nancy M. Robinson
Gifted children are an ill-served group of special-needs students. Few psychologists have had training in addressing their needs. As a result, gifted children are often subjected to a critical mismatch with their educational environments, with multiple consequences for their learning and attainment, their motivation, and their personal adjustment...
Attention deficit disorders and gifted students: What do we really know? by Felice Kaufmann, M. Layne Kalbfleisch. and F. Xavier Castellanos
In recent years, several have expressed concern that giftedness is often misconstrued as ADHD and that the diagnosis of ADHD among the gifted population has run amok. We acknowledge that there are cases of mistaken diagnosis, although as of this writing, we have found no empirical data in the medical, educational, or psychological literature to substantiate the extent of this concern...
Blending promise with passion: Best practices for counseling intellectually talented youth by John A. Achter & David Lubinski, in Career Development and Counseling: Putting Theory and Research to Work
The intellectually talented tend to begin at an earlier age to think about career possibilities.  However, structured career search programs in schools are not implemented until the senior high years, when they may be developmentally mistimed for gifted students... (requires Adobe Reader)
Career Advice for Geniuses by Marty Nemko
Not so. Being highly intelligent comes with surprising workplace burdens, as I've learned during 20 years as a career coach specializing in intellectually gifted adults. Here are suggestions I've made that clients have found most helpful...
Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different by Donald Asher
Thinking about college? Looking for the 'right' college for yourself, or your child? This book is for you! Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and 2008 Standards Revision Process
This is a campaign to address the special needs of counseling gifted children in the standards for graduate counseling programs beginning in the year 2008.  We need your support, both as an individual, and as a member or head of any organization related to gifted children...
Counseling Gifted Adults – A Case Study by Paula Prober
Gifted children are often identified by their insatiable curiosity, advanced mental ability, intensity, and thought-provoking questions. But what happens when these children become adults? What are they like and do they have any particular mental health needs? A case study of one particular gifted adult explains the typical issues these clients bring into counseling...
Counseling Gifted and Talented Students by Nicholas Colangelo
Gifted students, if nothing else, are complex. However, it does no good to pretend there are certain things we do not know when we do. Currently, we know considerably more about the social-emotional issues confronting gifted students based on research and clinical observation...
Depressive disorder in highly gifted adolescents by Susan Jackson and Jean Peterson
Examines the nature and extent of depressive disorders in highly gifted adolescents based on current literature and data gathered from a phenomenological study, focus groups, and clinical records. Two case studies and clinical examples document the capacity of some highly gifted adolescents to mask even severe symptoms... (requires Adobe Reader)
Does Your Gifted Child Need Professional Help? by Steven Curtis
It is clear that gifted children are frequently misdiagnosed as having a particular disorder when they actually are quite normal for who they are. In order to investigate normality, each child must be looked at holistically.  Curtis gives five preliminary steps for parents to answer first, to determine if additional professional intervention should be sought...
Exceptional Children Require An Exceptional Approach by Andrew Mahoney
While there are many methods of counseling, there are few specific modalities designed for counseling gifted children. Because of the exceptional nature attributed to giftedness, it would be naive to assume that conventional approaches to counseling would suffice when working with this population. [Here are] just a few of the many nuances related to assessment, the counselor's role, and the counseling process itself...
Gender and Giftedness by Barbara A. Kerr and Megan Foley Nicpon
Both gifted girls and gifted boys experience conflicts between gender identity and achievement motivation. These conflicts can prevent gifted young people from attaining the education they need, from following through on career goals, and from forming satisfying and healthy relationships. Social pressure to attain ideals of masculinity and femininity often works against the development of talent in young people. An understanding of gender and giftedness can help counselors to guide young people through the critical “milestones and danger zones” in which the fulfillment of talent is threatened by gender socialization... (RTF file)
Gifted and Talented Children: Issues for Pediatricians by Nancy M. Robinson and Paula M. Olszewski-Kubilius
Definitions and prevalence, characteristics, educational options, and more, in a brief pamphlet written specifically for pediatricians ... (requires Adobe Reader)
The Gifted Identity Formation Model by Andrew Mahoney
The Gifted Identity Formation Model is a guide for understanding the complexity and nuances of gifted people. It provides a counseling framework that helps gifted individuals to be aware of and to understand the effect their giftedness has on their life development, and the importance giftedness has on their identity formation..."
Gifted Students with Attention Deficits: Fact and/or Fiction? Or, Can We See the Forest for the Trees? by Susan M. Baum, F. Richard Olenchak and Steven V. Owen
It is said that far too many high ability students are referred for problems with impulsivity, hyperactivity, and sustaining attention. Several important issues, rarely discussed in the literature on attention deficits, offer alternative hypotheses for the increasing incidence of hyperactivity and attention problems of gifted youngsters...
Gifted students with learning disabilities: implications and strategies for school counselors by Adriana G. McEachern and Javier Bornot
These students have special needs that require appropriate educational programs and curricula. They must be identified early and placed in specialized programs to enhance their giftedness, while remedying or compensating for their learning deficiencies. School counselors can be facilitators and collaborators to ensure that these students then have positive, successful academic, personal, and social experiences...
Heightened multifaceted sensitivity of gifted students: implications for counseling by Sal Mendaglio
Effective psychological counseling of gifted students is enhanced when mental health professionals have knowledge of gifted people's differentiating characteristics. This article focuses on heightened multifaceted sensitivity... (requires Adobe Reader)
In Search of The Gifted Identity: From abstract concept to workable counseling constructs by Andrew Mahoney
Knowing one’s giftedness and having a well-developed sense of identity as a gifted person are crucial for the development of the self. Many gifted people struggle with their giftedness, what it means to be gifted and how to develop that potential because there are few models available to assist in the identity development and counseling of gifted people...
If You're So Smart, Why Do You Need Counseling? by Deborah L. Ruf
Examples of the confusing feedback that many gifted adults received during their childhoods, feedback that was often so harmful or confusing as to jeopardize the subjects' sense of both purpose and value...
The intellectual and psychosocial nature of extreme giftedness by Philip Powell and Tony Haden
Comparing the differences of average, moderately gifted and extremely gifted individuals has implications for educators, parents, and psychologists...
Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted by Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig
Introversion is simply a personality trait found in a small percentage of the total population. Introverts are different from extraverts and this difference is very difficult for the extravert to understand because they do not operate in that fashion. And because they do not understand it, many continually try to help the introvert become more social, more gregarious, more outgoing, and have more fun from the extravert perspective. Such is the situation of the introvert, a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population.
It's All About Identity by Andrew S. Mahoney
We [must] focus on the gifted person's identity formation and development of self. Without this focus, the needs of this population may not be appropriately addressed.  The work begins with parents, educators and counselors, not with the children, others or outside forces...
For a detailed guide, read The Gifted Identity Formation Model: In search of the gifted identity, from abstract concept to workable counseling constructs also by Andrew S. Mahoney
Knowing one's giftedness and having a well-developed sense of identity as a gifted person are crucial for the development of the self. Many gifted people struggle with their giftedness, what it means to be gifted and how to develop that potential because there are few models available to assist in the identity development and counseling of gifted people. Moreover, identity itself is often viewed as an abstract concept.  The Gifted Identity Formation Model helps bridge the theoretical with the practical...
A Love for Learning: Motivation and the Gifted Child by edited by Jonathan A. Plucker and Carolyn M. Callahan
Gifted children are susceptible to many de-motivating factors, which can lead to depression and academic underachievement. Learn concepts and techniques to counteract those factors, allowing a child's motivation to skyrocket...
Modifying Regular Classroom Curriculum for High Ability Students by Laura E. McGrail
The focus of educational services for high ability students is shifting to the regular classroom. School psychologists are in an excellent position to facilitate this paradigm shift. Just as we have served as facilitators for the increasing inclusion of students with disabilities in regular education programs, we should take a leadership role in preparing regular education teachers to better accommodate the needs of gifted and talented students...
Multipotentiality Among the Intellectually Gifted: "It Was Never There and Already It's Vanishing" by John A. Achter, David Lubinski, and Camilla Persson Benbow
Evaluation of the concept of multipotentiality, taken from the psychological literature on counseling intellectually gifted individuals (viz., those with high-fiat ability and preference profiles that may lead to career indecision and distress). An examination of over 1,000 intellectually gifted students (top 1%) in 4 separate cohorts, revealed little empirical support for the prevalence of multipotentiality within intellectually talented adolescents (<5%). Rather, it appears that the idea of an overabundance of high-flat ability and preference profiles among gifted students stems from the use of age-calibrated and, hence, developmentally inappropriate assessment tools having insufficient ceilings... (requires Adobe Reader)
No Child Left Behind: gifted children and school counselors by Marcia Gentry, Professional School Counseling
These are troubled times in education, and even more troubled times in gifted education, with the narrow focus brought to education by NCLB.  Intervention for individual students and quality education for identified gifted, at-risk, and underidentified gifted and at-risk students begins with one educator and one child at a time. It seems that school counselors are in a unique position not only to work with children, but also to bring to the table conversations concerning some of the issues raised herein...
An Overview: Understanding and Assessing Suicide in the Gifted by Andrew Mahoney
Though there is no conclusive evidence that the gifted are more prone to suicide than the non-gifted (Delisle, 1986), suicide among the gifted is a serious issue. There are several factors that counselors, parents and teachers should understand to precipitate earlier and better suicide assessment and intervention among the gifted. These include a clear understanding of the signs of suicide and the possible connections between mood disorders, hypersensitivity and suicide in the gifted...
Parents and Professionals as Partners: A Psychologist's View by Nancy M. Robinson
As a psychologist who works with the families of gifted children I'm witness to a great many battles that could and should have been avoided.  In my view, a very high priority needs to be given to establishing a working partnership among parents and all other adults... (requires Adobe Reader)
Psychological Factors in the Development of Adulthood Giftedness from Childhood Talent by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
It is clear that the transition from childhood giftedness to adult creative production is complex and involves many factors. Different outcomes may result in adulthood depending on the emphases within the family during childhood or childhood circumstances...
Psychologist Blames Stress for Gifted Students' Misbehavior by Susan Walton, in EdWeek
Some high-school dropouts, chronic truants, and classroom daydreamers may be very bright children who use inappropriate behavior as a way to ease the distinctive stresses they and others like them often experience in schools...
Recurring Themes in Career Counseling of Gifted and Talented Students by Meredith J. Greene
Multipotentiality is frequently cited as a problem for gifted and talented students in career planning... The career decision making process for gifted girls may present more challenges than for gifted boys because of girls' earlier puberty and emotional maturation, along with greater self-concept discrepancies, higher and multiple societal ideals imposed on them and a minority status in some male-dominated occupational settings...
Reflections on Counseling Gifted Adults by Annemarie Roeper
Even though I have worked with gifted people for many years, I continue to be surprised by the most unexpected expressions of intensity, passions, gentleness, empathy, and creativity as well as frustration, disappointment, and a certain puzzlement at the strangeness of the world...
School Counselors Light-Up the Intra- and Inter-Personal  Worlds of Our Gifted by Cynthia Marie-Martinovich Lardner
For all gifted children, by or in high school, self-concept and interpersonal skills decrease, while anxiety and isolation increase. For some gifted children, self-concept relative to peer relations diminished as they progressed through school. By working with the gifted in the school setting, counselors nurturing universality and affiliation, can boost self-concept and self-efficacy thereby increasing emotional intelligence...
Annette Revel Sheely interview by Douglas Eby
I love those crisp moments in counseling and therapy where you feel electricity in the room, and you know something has shifted and something is going to change for that person...
The Social-Emotional Health of Children: An Interview with Psychologist Maureen Neihart
What are the major beliefs out there about the social-emotional or psychological health of gifted children?
Teaching and Counseling Gifted Girls edited by Susan K. Johnsen and James Kendrick
Covers some of the most important issues facing gifted and talented girls during their school years, from elementary school through college. General overviews of the internal and external barriers faced by gifted girls provide the context for more specific chapters on counseling and classroom strategies to help ensure these students' future success.
Tips for selecting the right counselor or therapist for your gifted child by James T. Webb
Parenting gifted children often is a challenge, and emotions and interpersonal interactions are not only intense but also are continually changing. When is professional assessment and guidance needed?  how do you find a psychologist or counselor?  How do you tell your child that you are going to see a counselor?  What can you expect?
Two Tails of the Normal Curve: Similarities and Differences in the Study of Mental Retardation and Giftedness by Nancy M. Robinson, Edward Zeiger, James J. Gallagher
Professionals in the fields of mental retardation and giftedness have much to teach each other as well as the field of human development in general.  Includes information on problems with the normal curve at the tails, as well as other problems faced by both tails, and those unique to the gifted population... (requires Adobe Reader)
Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View by Jerald Grobman
It is crucial for educators to differentiate between issues related to academic motivation and special needs related to students' disabilities that may be unrecognized by many classroom teachers. research is summarized and suggestions about interventions are made...
Using biography to counsel gifted young men by Thomas P. Hébert
...focuses on four issues confronting bright young men: underachievement, self-inflicted pressure in athletics, cultural alienation, and father-son relationships. The author proposes the use of biography as a counseling strategy through which bright young men may gain helpful insights to deal with the problems they face...
Using biography to counsel gifted young women by Thomas P. Hèbert, Linda A. Long, and Kristie L. Speirs Neumeister
The guided reading of biographies is a useful counseling strategy through which middle and high school educators may assist gifted females in gaining helpful insights to deal with the problems they face and will continue to face throughout their lives, thus helping them maintain their emotional health and develop their talent...
What is the school psychologist's role in gifted education? by Eric L. Robinson, in Gifted Child Today ($)
Gifted students are not immune from issues that affect all students in schools. Whether it relates to pressure to succeed, test anxiety, to being labeled gifted and disabled, students in gifted programs need access to school-based services as much as any type of student...
Last updated December 01, 2020

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