Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration

Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration

by Sal Mendaglio (Editor)


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Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD), which includes the widely known overexcitabilities,” is one of the most influential theories in gifted education. This groundbreaking book, edited by Dr. Sal Mendaglio, brings together information from leading professionals, many of whom knew Dr. Dabrowski himself, and provides readers with a diversity of perspectives on TPD. It summarizes the research and application of TPD and compares it to other theories of personality and psychological development. This is a thought-provoking textbook that provides powerful insights and information not previously published about Dabrowski’s theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780910707848
Publisher: Great Potential Press, Inc.
Publication date: 01/01/2008
Pages: 330
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Sal Mendaglio, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary, as well as a chartered psychologist. His interests include the emotionality of gifted persons, self-concept, Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration, and counseling gifted persons.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2- Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration: A Personality Theory for the 21st Century

Why should a relatively obscure theory of personality, known only in North America in the fields of gifted education and whose development began in the 1930s, be proclaimed as a theory for the 21st century? In fact, I selected the title for two specific reasons. First, Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration (TPD) places emotions in a central role, relegating intelligence to a secondary position of influence on personality development. Dabrowski's theory does not only state that emotions influence personality development, but it also specifies how this is accomplished. This emphasis on emotion and its relationship to personality, articulated some 60 to 70 years ago, reflects the emphasis on emotions that we have seen in psychology in the 1990s and continue to see in the 2000s. While emotions have always been an important consideration in personality theories, TPD is unique because it assigns an essential role to emotions in the personality development, something that is now acknowledged in the field (e.g., Izard & Ackerman, 2000).

Second, some believe that there is a decline in interest in theories of personality (Walters, 2004). Dabrowski's theory, with its unique approach to personality, may serve to re-invigorate the field. At first glance, this may seem ambitious; however, Dabrowski's theory has a track record in vitalizing a field of study. Dabrowski's theory, after its introduction to the North American study of giftedness by Michael Piechowski (1979a), has significantly influenced research on the social and emotional aspects of giftedness (e.g., Baum, Olenchak,& Owen, 1998; Colangelo & Ogburn, 1989; Fiedler, 1998; Hazell, 1999; Mendaglio, 1998; Morrissey, 1996; Piechowski, 1997; Schiever, 1985). For the past 20 years, the theory of positive disintegration has been the driving force in this area of study...

TPD provided an answer that no other theory that I had encountered provided--intelligence is not a sufficient condition for human development, because development is not equated with academic or materials success in life. In TPD, development is equated with becoming truly human, a state accomplished by individuals who struggle to make sense of themselves and society. In the process, they transform themselves from self-serving human animals to altruistic human beings...

In TPD, experience of negative emotions is essential for advanced psychological development. Therefore, the goal of the therapy is not to eliminate negative emotions, because when individuals are on the path of development, negative emotions are essential companions. Dabrowski taught his patients TPD concepts to help them understand the necessity of emotions in development. In essence, he taught his patients that their experiencing of intense negative emotions was a sign of their development--something to celebrate, not remediate. Specifically, patients were taught to reframe commonly held beliefs about negative emotions and to move from the view that they are symptoms to be eliminated, instead seeing the negative emotions as harbingers of growth and development. Such conceptual reframing is a hallmark of TPD.

Table of Contents

Dedication iii
Acknowledgments v
List of Tables and Figures ix
Preface xi
Part I. The Theory of Positive Disintegration 1
Chapter 1. Kazimierz Dabrowski: The Man
William Tillier, M.Sc. 3
Chapter 2. Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration: A Personality Theory for the 21st Century
Sal Mendaglio, Ph.D. 13
Chapter 3. Discovering Dabrowski's Theory
Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. 41
Chapter 4. Dabrowski on Authentic Education
Marlene D. Rankel, Ph.D. 79
Chapter 5. Philosophical Aspects of Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration
William Tillier, M.Sc. 101
Chapter 6. Creativity in Dabrowski and the Theory of Positive Disintegration
Dexter Amend, Ph.D. 123
Chapter 7. Dabrowski's Views on Authentic Mental Health Elizabeth Mika, M.A. 139
Part II. TPD and Giftedness 155
Chapter 8. The Theory of Positive Disintegration in the Field of Gifted Education
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D. 157
Chapter 9. The Dabrowskian Lens: Implications for Understanding Gifted Individuals
Michael C. Pyryt, Ph.D. 175
Chapter 10. Measuring Overexcitability: Replication across Five Countries
R. Frank Falk, Ph.D.
Buket Yakmaci-Guzel, Ph.D. Alice (Hsin-Jen) Chang, M.A.
Raquel Pardo de Santayana Sanz, Ph.D.
Rosa Aurora Chavez-Eakle, M.D., Ph.D. 183
Part III. TPD in Perspective 201
Chapter 11. Personality Disintegration and Reintegration in Mystical Lives
Laurence F. Nixon, Ph.D. 203
Chapter 12. Emotion Management and Emotional Development: A Sociological Perspective
Nancy B. Miller, Ph.D. 227
Chapter 13. The Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) and Other Approaches to Personality
Sal Mendaglio, Ph.D. 249
References 275
Name Index 297
Topic Index 303
List of Tables and Figures
Table 3.1. The Evolution of Dabrowski's Theory 42
Figure 3.1. Dynamisms of Positive Disintegration 44
Table 3.2. Subject Data: Age, Intelligence, Number of
Response Units, and Number of Ratings for Each Subject 48
Figure 3.2. Dynamisms of Positive Disintegration in
Six Subjects and Antoine de Saint-Exupery 50
Table 3.3. Level Index from Neurological Examination, Autobiography, and Verbal Stimuli 51
Table 3.4. Levels of Emotional Development According to Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration 64
Figure 6.1. "Psychoneurotics' Manifesto," Part of the Second International Congress on Positive Disintegration Brochure . . . 129
Table 10.1. Study Characteristics: Comparisons of OEs across
Four Cultures 190
Table 10.2. Reliability of OE Factors across Four Cultures 190
Table 10.3. Descriptive Statistics: Comparisons of OEs across
Four Cultures 192
Figure 10.1. OE Means for Spain, Mexico, Turkey, and the U.S. . . 193
Figure 10.2. OE Means for Spain, Mexico, Turkey, and the
U.S. with Adjusted Taiwan Means 194
Figure 10.3. Harmonic Mean for Combined Cross-Cultural
Studies and the U.S. Study 195
Table 12.1. The Expression of Anger 233
Table 12.2. The Expression of Joy 233
Table 12.3. Definition Response Instrument 236
Table 12.4. Miller Assessment Coding System 240
Table 12.5. Excerpts from the Bouchet Dictionary for
Assessing Moral Emotions 243

What People are Saying About This

Jackie Drummer

"Gifted education practitioners are often familiar with the work of Dr. Kazimierz Dabrowski, Polish psychologist and Renaissance man. His work with gifted students, the concept of overexcitabilities, and the theory of positive disintegration have been some of his many legacies to the fields of psychology and gifted education...

"The objective of each chapter was to share Dr. Dabrowski's legacy with interested audiences, and this book does exactly that. Though Dr. Dabrowski died in Warsaw, Poland in 1980, his ideas live on in this book."--(Jackie Drummer, President, WI Association for Talented and Gifted)

Jerald Grobman

"A major contribution! A comprehensive description, analysis, and discussion of Dabrowski's theory of oversensitivities and Positive Disintegration. Essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about personality development in gifted individuals."--(Jerald Grobman, M.D., Psychiatrist and Supervisor of Psychology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City)

Nicholas Colangelo

"This text will become a benchmark in making the Theory of Positive Disintegration more mainstream with counselors and psychologists and more prevalent in the field of gifted education. A highly readable book with rich ideas and unique and powerful insights. I recommend it to anyone wanting to better understand gifted individuals and the primacy of emotions in our psychological development."--(Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D., Myron and Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education, Director, Belin-Blank Center, The University of Iowa)

Jane Piirto

"This book collects for the first time articles written by some of the prime followers of Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski's work. Many of the authors were colleagues or students of Dabrowski in Canada; others were part of the original Dabrowski study group in the U.S. For a glimpse into the origins of the theory in North America, this book is unsurpassed."--(Jane Piirto, Ph.D., Trustees' Professor in School of Education, Ashland University, Ohio, Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from Mensa Education and Research Foundation)

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