In episode 16, Chris and Emma were joined by Dr. Shelagh Gallagher, for a discussion of overexcitability (OE) and openness to experience (OtE), based on her paper which compares the two frameworks. Shelagh is an independent consultant in gifted education and President-Elect of the National Association for Gifted Children. We discussed the controversy in the field of gifted education about OE and OtE, and the value both frameworks can provide in informing us about the gifted student experience in education.
In episode 11, Chris and Emma were joined by Tina Harlow, LCSW, a child and family therapist specializing in giftedness in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, who shared her experiences as a neurodiversity-affirming clinician. She talked about how overexcitabilities can differ among family members and the importance of understanding and honoring these differences. She also shared strategies for dealing with the different types of overexcitability. We discussed how positive disintegration can manifest in children and teens, and how Tina supports children and their families through existential depression, physical signs of stress, spiritual crises, and more.
In episode 10, Chris and Emma were joined by Dr. Eric Windhorst, a counsellor, coach, and psychotherapist committed to helping others connect with their inner nature (their true, authentic selves) and outer nature (the wider, more-than-human world). Eric shared his story with us and connected his experiences of personal growth and development with Dąbrowski’s theory as well as other frameworks. He discussed spirituality, an aspect of self that is often overlooked in intellectual frameworks, and we learned about Eric’s journey to becoming his authentic self.
In episode 9, Chris and Emma were joined by Lotte van Lith, a coach, lecturer, and author from the Netherlands. Lotte has been studying and working with Dąbrowski’s theory of positive disintegration for more than a decade, and she brought her personal and professional expertise to this discussion of complexity and emotional development in gifted and creative people. She feels that once you view the complexity of life through the lens of emotional development, you can see the paradoxes inherent in human experience. We talked about complexity as a hallmark of giftedness and discussed how the drives for authenticity and self-actualization can be supported in this population.
*Content Warning: Please be aware that sensitive issues such as suicide attempts, hospitalizations, police-related trauma, and drug use and treatment are mentioned. In episode 8, Chris and Emma share their personal experiences of positive disintegration, in an intimate, honest (and brave) discussion. They connect these life stories with constructs from Dąbrowski’s theory, and explore the dynamisms which other people might be experiencing during their own times of crisis and disintegration.
In episode 7, Chris and Emma were joined by Fiona Smith, a psychologist from Sydney, Australia. Fiona brings to life the issue of living with intensities and sensitivities, from her perspective of a parent as well as her own experiences. We learn (again) that having an intense experience of life brings challenges, and we hope that listeners will resonate with her words. We discussed empathy, overexcitabilities, what it’s like to be image-free (aka aphantasia), and how Dąbrowski’s theory has played a role in Fiona’s life and work.
In episode 6, Chris and Emma were joined by Kate Arms, JD, PCC, a leadership coach who talked about her personal experience of development through positive disintegration, and how she created her own autopsychotherapy practice… What is autopsychotherapy? Kate talks about some of the strategies and methods that have worked for her, and we share our ideas and stories on what we have found useful, in the hope that others in the process of development will benefit.
In episode 5, Chris and Emma were joined by Dr. Frank Falk, who has been dealing with the construct of overexcitability as a researcher for more than 40 years. Frank talked about his work with the original Overexcitability Questionnaire (OEQ) and the subsequent development of the Overexcitability Questionnaire-Two (OEQ-II). We discussed the challenges of researching OE and the effort that Chris and Frank are making to rectify misunderstandings about Dąbrowski’s theory in the gifted community.
In episode 4, Chris and Emma were joined again by Dąbrowski expert, Bill Tillier. Bill talked about neuroses and psychoneuroses from a historical perspective and then tied them to Dąbrowski’s views. Anxiety and depression were discussed in light of the theory of positive disintegration and their developmental implications.
In episode 3, Chris and Emma were joined by Dąbrowski expert, Bill Tillier. A retired forensic psychologist with over 20 years of experience, Bill is an author, archivist, and former student of Dr. Dąbrowski’s at the University of Alberta. Bill shared his personal experiences as Dąbrowski’s student, and what KD was like. We also get an insight into what led KD to develop the TPD, as Bill introduces us to the philosophical influences behind the theory.