To the uninformed, giftedness may seem like a sort of special privilege, but to the gifted individual, often it feels like a distinct disadvantage. It is painful to be different in a society that derides differences. Pain may also come from internal sources – from a finely tuned psychological structure that experiences all of life more intensely. Giftedness has an emotional as well as a cognitive substructure: cognitive complexity gives rise to emotional depth. Thus, gifted children [and adults] not only think differently from their peers, they also feel differently. (Silverman, 2000)
Have you been identified as gifted and talented, or have others suggested to you that you might be advanced? Have you shied away from seeking counseling because you fear you’ll struggle to connect or, worse, be dismissed as narcissistic or neurotic? Too intense, expressive, or sensitive for your own good?
Americans generally tolerate high-ability persons as long as they are 1) entertaining (The Big Bang Theory); 2) profitable (Steve Jobs); or 3) life-preserving (medicine). Outside of these and similar realms, intelligence can be a liability. Behaviors normal for gifted persons are often misdiagnosed as symptoms of psychological disorders by professionals unfamiliar with this group's distinct social and emotional needs.
As a member of the gifted community, a parent of gifted children, and a psychotherapist specializing in counseling gifted and talented populations, including minorities and the twice-exceptional (2e), I know firsthand the challenges of finding healthcare, education, workplace, and career support that understands and appreciates the authentic you. When strengths become barriers, no one wins.