Living with Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults

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Gifted children and adults are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional.

This resource describes these overexcitabilities and strategies for dealing with children and adults who are experiencing them, and provides essential information about Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration. Learn practical methods for nurturing sensitivity, intensity, perfectionism, and much more.
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What People Are Saying

Barbara Jackson Gilman
"Living with Intensity is a can't put it down exploration of the multi-faceted sensitivities/intensities of gifted children and adults, which fuel their personal growth--if they are NOT misunderstood. It will assist all parents, teachers, and clinicians to understand and nurture the complex combination of intellectual advancement and overexcitabilities gifted individuals present, and avoid tragic misperceptions and misdiagnoses."--(Barbara Jackson Gilman, M.S., Associate Director of the Gifted Development Center, Denver, CO)
Kendra Kett
"This book is a lifesaver for the gifted presents a clear and concise overview of their inner and outer worlds, how they think and process, how they can and cannot express themselves, what is needed in their environments in order for them to thrive and offer up their unique and needed contributions to the world...I couldn't put it down because of the affirming recognition I felt in this book...the book offers enormous breakthroughs for anyone in this category who may have been living in the shadows of constant criticisms or living on the fringe for their 'differentness.'"--(Kendra Kett, Author of The Pinwheel Girl Takes Flight)
Miraca U.M. Gross
"A detailed and insightful perspective on intensity throughout the lifespan. The section on adolescence should be compulsory reading for parents, teachers and counselors."--(Miraca U.M. Gross, Professor, Director: Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC), The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Steven I. Pfeiffer
"A valuable resource for anyone working or living with a person who is gifted. Dabrowski's concepts of overexcitabilities and positive disintegration are helpful in understanding what might otherwise seem like inexplicable behaviors among some gifted children and adults. Living with Intensity, an apt title, provides practical insights to guide educators, psychologists, and parents."--(Steven I. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor and Director of Clinical Training, The Florida State University)
Susan Berry
"Living with Intensity provides something for everyone who lives or works with gifted children and adults. With chapters devoted to clinical work with the gifted, family dynamics, issues affecting specifically adults who are gifted, and research studies and applications, Daniels and Piechowski have provided a noteworthy and even essential contribution to the field of giftedness."--(Dr. Susan Berry, Psychologist who works with gifted children and their families, Glastonbury, CT)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780910707893
  • Publisher: Great Potential Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 109,799
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Because they can be so greatly stimulated, and because they perceive and process things differently, gifted children are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their questioning as undermining authority, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional.

They stand out from the norm. But then, what is normal?

It is of course unfortunate that something exceptional, something that is outside the norm is often looked upon as being abnormal, and that "abnormal" usually means annoying or bad, whereas "normal" means mostly acceptable or good. We forget that these notions come from a statistical convention, the bell curve, which does not tell us what is good and what is bad.

In statistics what is average constitutes the norm. The norm has a defined range that includes the majority of cases. The average income is normal because that's what the majority of people earn, yet is it a good income? Many consider it insufficient, and therefore inadequate. It is an example of something that is normal and yet it is not quite good enough. What we value as good income is above the norm. A similar case can be made for intelligence. The majority of people are within the normal range of intelligence, but this is not sufficient for all situations or circumstances, for example average intelligence does not guarantee acceptance or success in graduate school. Statistical norms are a poor guide to what is good.

Psychology, inits origin, based its models on physics as an ideal. Had psychology chosen life science as its model-after all people are living beings-the concept of what is normal would not be the average, but rather what is well-functioning, that is, in good health. Optimal, in life sciences, is often quite different than statistically average or normal, yet optimal functioning is what we hope people will strive for. Such optimal functioning is a major thrust of this book.
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Table of Contents


Part One: K. Dabrowski, Overexcitability, Giftedness and Developmental Potential

Chapter 1. Embracing Intensity: Overexcitability, Sensitivity, and the Developmental Potential of the Gifted
Chapter 2. Dabrowski's Levels and the Process of Development

Part Two: Understanding Intensity: Practical Applications for Parents, Teachers, and Counselors

Chapter 3. Nurturing the Sensitivity and Intensity of Young Gifted Children
Chapter 4. Inner Awakening, Outward Journey: The Intense Gifted Child and Adolescence
Chapter 5. The Emperor Has No Clothes: Exquisite Perception and Related Stress in Gifted Children
Chapter 6. Dabrowski's Theory: Possibilities and Implications of Misdiagnosis, Missed Diagnosis, and Dual Diagnosis in Gifted Individuals
Chapter 7. Integrating the Intense Experience: Counseling and Clinical Applications
Chapter 8. Overexcitability, Giftedness and Family Dynamics
Chapter 9. Petunias, Perfectionism, and Level of Development

Part Three: Still Gifted After All These Years -Lifespan Intensity and Gifted Adults

Chapter 10. "Can You Hear the Flowers Sing?" Issues for Gifted Adults
Chapter 11. Elated, Determined and, Sometimes, Overwhelmed: Advantages and Challenges of Lifespan Intensity
Chapter 12. Annemarie Roeper: Nearly a Century eith Giftedness
Chapter 13. Living One's Spirit Song: Transcendent Experience in Counseling Gifted Adults
Chapter 14. What We May Be: What Dabrowski's Work Can Do for Gifted Adults

Part Four: Current Research and Future Directions

Chapter 15. Building Firm Foundations: Research on Overexcitability and the Developmental Potential of theGifted
Chapter 17. Future Directions

Appendix A. Overexcitability Questionnaire - (OEQ)
Appendix B. Overexcitability Questionnaire - II (OEQ-II)
Appendix C. Definition Response Instrument (DRI)
About the Authors
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 17, 2012

    I Found Myself

    I happened across this book while attending a SENG facilitator training while I was working on my Master's degree in Gifted and Talented education.
    Reading this book helped me truly understand myself as a gifted person. It's inclusion of emotional as well as imagination and intellectual giftedness changed the way I see myself and my place in the world, and has given me a way to respond to those who criticize my intellectual and emotional intensity. It has given me insights that help me in my personal and my professional life, and as the depth and breadth of the information in this book is impossible to convey in a brief space, I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what it means to live with intensity as an integral part of who you are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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