Positive Disintegration Podcast

The Positive Disintegration Podcast, with co-hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells, was launched on October 25, 2021 to share the many perspectives and insights surrounding Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration with the widest audience possible. We’re still in the process of transcribing episodes, but the current selection of edited transcripts can be found below. Please consider supporting the podcast with a donation to fund this transcription effort. 

The full archive of episodes with show notes is available on Substack

You can also listen to Positive Disintegration on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast platforms.

Episode 16: Overexcitability and Openness to Experience

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.

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Episode 8: Surviving Disintegration

*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.

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Episode 7: Gifted Minds and Empathy

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.

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Episode 6: Autopsychotherapy and Self Leadership

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.

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Episode 5: Researching Overexcitability

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.

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Episode 4: Depression and Anxiety in Development

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.

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Episode 3: Dąbrowski, Philosophy, and Influences

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.

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Episode 2: Overexcitability and Pseudoscience

In episode 2, Chris talked about her presentation at the 2021 NAGC Conference on distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Emma and Chris went over the forms and expressions of overexcitability, the connection between OE and positive disintegration, and also discussed some of the myths and misunderstandings about OEs that are found in the gifted community.

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Episode 1: Welcome to Positive Disintegration!

In the inaugural episode, Emma and Chris introduced themselves and Dąbrowski’s theory of positive disintegration. The discussion touched on some of the basic ideas from Dąbrowski such as unilevel vs. multilevel, the levels of development, overexcitabilities, and more. We learned a little about how Chris and Emma came to learn about the theory and find meaning in the idea of positive disintegration.

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