Episode 36: Fostering Gifted Growth at Yunasa

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson

Release date: July 7, 2023

*Note: Chris will not be returning to Yunasa in 2024. In episode 36, Chris and Emma discussed Yunasa, a camp for gifted and twice-exceptional children offered by the Institute for Educational Advancement. Working at Yunasa and spending time with everyone involved is a highlight of Chris’s year.

Chris has worked at Yunasa West four times since 2019 and shared what it’s been like to speak with the campers about Dąbrowski’s theory and overexcitability. Chris talked about workshops with the campers, and the challenge of discussing positive disintegration without excessive jargon. We discussed how the campers relate to the theory, and what it tells us about the lived experience of youth who can so readily recognize themselves in the dynamisms.

We also talked about how important it is to create safe spaces, provide mirroring and mentoring, and plant mental “seeds,” which may come to fruition later in life. This includes ideas about the importance of acceptance, how emotional states can be managed, and seeing multiple generations of adults support each other in their daily lives.

Chris mentioned psychosynthesis, which is a well-developed approach to personal growth created by Dr. Roberto Assagioli. Chris has been using psychosynthesis techniques for the past several years and enjoys the opportunity to share guided imagery exercises with campers at Yunasa in the role of Facilitator.

Links from this episode

Yunasa (IEA website)

About Yunasa (IEA website)

For more on the psychosynthesis exercises, read What We May Be by Piero Ferrucci (Penguin Random House)

Yunasa locations:

Camp Shady Brook, Deckers, CO

Howell Nature Center, Howell, MI

Previous episodes we mentioned:

Ep. 35. Dąbrowski's Theory in Practice with Patty Gatto-Walden

Ep. 24. Through the Lens of Youth with Lance Johnson

Ep. 19. The Challenge of Levels with Stephanie Tolan

Ep. 16. Overexcitability and Openness to Experience with Shelagh Gallagher

Ep. 8. Surviving Disintegration

Edited to add: We also mentioned episodes with Fiona Smith and Kate Arms.

There was also a shout-out to Katy Higgins Lee from episode 30, Celebrating Neurodiversity, Overexcitabilities, and Giftedness.