Self-Evaluation in Piechowski's Work

These excerpts contain self-evaluation, and this document was compiled by Chris while working on an Interesting Quotes post on Substack

Spontaneous multilevel disintegration is characterized by an extensive differentiation of psychological structures and functions (third vertical column of figure 1). Internal experiential processes begin to influence behavior more and more, wavering is replaced by a growing sense of “what ought to be” as opposed to “what is” in one's own personality structure. Emotional relationships with others become more selective and exclusive. Internal conflicts are numerous and reflect a hierarchical organization of cognitive and emotional life: ”what is” against “what ought to be.” Behavior is guided by an emerging autonomous, emotionally discovered hierarchy of values and aims. Self-evaluation, reflection, intense moral conflicts, perception of the uniqueness of others, and existential anxiety are among the characteristic phenomena at this level of development. Outside of a developmental framework such reactions are considered psychoneurotic. To uncover the developmental multilevel nature of most psychoneurotic processes constitutes the major thrust of the clinical part of Dabrowski's work, as well as of his efforts to show that processes of the same nature operate in the development of creative personalities. (Piechowski, 1975a)

We are also told that morality is internalized and that during development moral anxiety is eventually replaced by anxiety about realistic threats to the person (ibidem, p. 78). If we now transfer the above examples into the framework of Dabrowski's theory we obtain the following picture. The undeveloped or developing “self” is integrated. It follows the dictates of drives; it follows social rules as long as it can use them for egocentric purposes. Its “ego” and “superego” may appear very strong. The fragmented self is a disintegrated self whose psychological functioning is unstable. The developmental direction is thus the reverse of that in psychoanalytic theory. Observe, however, the justification. Disintegration of the primary structure means (a) loss of primitive automatism and beginning of unsteady but deliberate action, (b) breakdown of self-serving egocentrism and beginning of concern for others, (c) breakdown of learned extrinsic rules of conduct and opening to the possibility of intrinsic rules of conduct, (d) breakdown of a reflection and beginning of reflection and perhaps even self-evaluation. More of such changes are listed in a syllabus compiled by Dabrowski (Dabrowski et al., 1970, pp. 103-104). (Piechowski, 1975b)

The “why” questions, perception of problems, perception of solutions, avidity for learning and the like are all familiar enough manifestations of intellectual precocity. Less familiar, or at least less integrated with our usual conceptions of the human intellect are processes of self-monitoring, self-evaluation, preoccupation with moral problems and the responsibility of an enlightened person. Nevertheless, Guilford (1967) incorporated evaluative thinking into his model of the intellect, and Hollingworth (1942) drew attention to the highly gifted's preoccupation with questions of the meaning of human existence and moral responsibility—a highly developed form of evaluative feeling. MacKinnon (1962) found his architects to be highly intuitive, where intuition is the capacity for synthesis and for seeing underlying order, the “invisible links.” It is these facets that characterize superior conceptualization and a mind capable of discovery, which is the capacity for abstraction of new and unknown form. C. S. Pierce named this capacity, “abduction.” Development of new concepts and striving for synthesis of knowledge are the distinguishing marks of a highly evolved intellectual overexcitability. But at this level there is a conjunction with emotional overexcitability which endows a person with the capacity for evaluation and discernment of quality (Bowlby, 1969; Langer, 1967; Maslow, 1970; Wertheimer, 1954). (Piechowski, 1979)

Self-evaluation and self-judgment: “…the only things that ever make me feel low are the ugly things that come from inside of me-if I say something immoral, act foolishly, etc… I feel a sinking sensation and condemn myself-perhaps that's what a low is, self-condemnation, for me anyway.” “My relations with others are usually spiced with good-natured sarcasm (if there is such a thing) and they usually take my comments in stride. When they don't, however, and get offended, I become quite angry with myself and start dwelling on my faults in a fit of self-condemnation. I want to be alone to hash things out myself. They usually don’t last real long, but when they do, it's not too good.” (Piechowski, 1979)

Writers and artists are not the only ones characterized by strong emotional overexcitability. For instance, the mathematician Norbert Wiener (1953, 1956) reports in his autobiography not only strong feelings of unsureness, inadequacy, loneliness, guilt, unhappiness, but also self-evaluation and self-judgment, empathy, sensitivity to the difficulties of others and appreciation of those who were warm, humane, and brought encouragement. Wiener is no exception here. It is often thought that such feelings are unfortunate handicaps in the work of a creative person. It is more likely that one cannot be creative without them since they are the consequence of the intensity of feeling, striving, commitment, and continuous evaluating and reevaluating of one's vision. (Piechowski, 1979)

When the responses of these eleven original subjects were reanalyzed in detail by two persons in separate analyses, they suggested a revision. Both persons approached the material using the same procedure, and yet in comparison of their impressions, both felt that subtle distinctions were emerging from the individual responses. While most subjects seemed to be engaged in some form of self-evaluation and reflection on their lives, the responses of some subjects seemed to reflect a deeper awareness about themselves and a deeper involvement in life. On the basis of this distinction, the former subjects were rated as conserving, and the latter as transforming. (Robert & Piechowski, 1980)

Subjects classified as transforming tend to have above average scores on the emotional variables of hierarchy, self­evaluation, and sense of self, and below average scores on negative reactions to the self. Conserving subjects tend to have above average scores on negative reaction toward the self with below average scores on self-evaluation, hierarchy and sense of self. Hierarchy is the only variable which is exclusively associated with one group, the transforming subjects. (Robert & Piechowski, 1981)

From a detailed analysis of those variables chosen as the most highly discriminating between groups, one can form separate emotional and intellectual profiles of conserving and transforming subjects. The emotional OE profile of conserving subjects describes an individual who is highly sensitive to the feelings of others, and directs negative feelings toward the self in response to another's acts. In comparison with transforming individuals, the conserving individuals have a lower sense of their own essence, and engage in less self-analysis and evaluation. They are less interested in relating to others and in various forms of attachment. Unlike the transforming individual, they have no sense of higher and lower internal guiding principles. (Robert & Piechowski, 1981)

The emotional OE profile of a transforming individual is the reverse of the conserving individual's profile. The transforming individual has less negative reactions to the self in response to the acts of others, and is less sensitive to the feelings of others, and yet tends to be more interested in relating and in forms of attachment. Also he has a stronger sense of his own essence as well as a feeling of higher and lower guiding principles within himself. The transforming individual engages in more self-analysis and evaluation. (Robert & Piechowski, 1981)

A comparison of the profiles shows that the transforming subject scores high on both the emotional category of self-evaluation and the intellectual category of introspection; whereas the conserving subject scores low on both self-evaluation and introspection. Because both categories are similar this emphasizes a fundamental distinction between the conserving and transforming individuals. The transforming individual is capable of more emotional and more intellectual self-reflection, analysis, and evaluation, which, at the same time is also more objective. (Robert & Piechowski, 1981)

The ability of the individual to successfully negotiate developmental transitions may depend upon possession of some of the personality characteristics of the transforming subject. Such characteristics might include the transforming subject's greater interest in planning and working on operational goals, and stronger sense of internal guiding principles, both of which would-facilitate change since he is more likely to set personal goals and work toward their fulfillment. The transforming individual also identifies less with and is less affected negatively the acts of others, suggesting a somewhat detached attitude, which along with his stronger sense of self would allow him to more successfully become conscious of and integrate neglected aspects of his self. This would be facilitated by his more intellectual and possibly more objective self evaluation and reflection. (Robert & Piechowski, 1981)

Emotional overexcitability (E) is recognized in the way emotional relationships are experienced, in strong attachments to persons, living things or places, and in the great intensity of feeling and awareness of its full range. Characteristic expressions are: inhibition (timidity and shyness) and excitation (enthusiasm); strong affective recall of past experiences, concern with death, fears, anxieties, depressions; there may be an intense loneliness, and an intense desire to offer love, a concern for others. There is a high degree of differentiation of interpersonal feeling. Emotional overexcitability is the basis of one’s relation to self through self-evaluation and self-judgment, coupled with a sense of responsibility, compassion, and responsiveness to others. (Piechowski & Colangelo, 1984, p. 82; Piechowski & Cunningham, 1985)

This continuous interplay of intensely felt polarities takes its toll on their sense of themselves and makes self-evaluation difficult. “I experience myself as fragmented and multiple,” says one, while the others report similar feelings of confusion, of being inhibited and constricted emotionally. Their inability to see themselves from a distance to reach for objectivity toward self is in marked contrast to the strong sense of self in group A where it is positive, and in group B where it is mostly negative, focused on a sense of inferiority and inadequacy. But representatives of pattern B are nevertheless aware of their sensitivity and their strong sense of right and wrong; rather than fragmented inside they are more likely to feel crushed with pain. (Piechowski & Cunningham, 1985)

Group C shows difficulties of inner integration. These can be interpreted as a function of P and S OEs being much stronger than the E OE (even though our instrument is not sensitive enough for it to be reflected in the scores—the strength of these OEs was assessed both from content analysis of the OEQ and interview material). There is little self-reflection and self-evaluation but more emphasis on expression. They share fundamentalist backgrounds against which they rebelled and continue to rebel. Their art is driven by conflict. They appear to be particularly good representatives of those artists for whom art is a means of finding structure and solution for the main thematic conflict of their lives (Csikszentmihalyi, 1978). “The conflict artists address exists initially only as a diffuse, free­floating tension without structure or aim. The creative process consists exactly in trying to resolve the problem through symbolic means” (Getzels & Csikszentmihalyi, 1976). Statements made by the subjects in group C seem to fit quite well with this formulation of the process by which a personal problem is transformed into an artistic one. For the weaver, for example, his weaving seems to be the vehicle of intrapsychic integration, as pattern emerges from the “massa confusa” of tangled threads. (Piechowski & Cunningham, 1985)

The model of the five dimensions of mental functioning presented here is useful in describing the psychological endowment of artists in terms of broad categories of level of energy (P), sensuous perception (S), imagination (M), intellect (T) and emotional life (E). These categories allow one to distinguish artists from the intellectually gifted. The most significant differences exist in regard to imaginational and emotional functioning. Somewhat surprisingly, the artists tend to display a high level of intellectual overexcitability. The artists are characterized by particularly high levels and richness of imagination and strong capacity for precise visualization. Emotionally they are intense and open to the whole range of feeling; they differ among themselves, however, on the freedom to express it. Intellectually they question the world around them and they question themselves. They differ in their sense of self (inner integration or ego strength) and manner of self-evaluation. Three patterns of overexcitability constellations are described: balanced and integrated (pattern A), emotionally vulnerable (pattern B) and polarized and restless (pattern C). (Piechowski & Cunningham, 1985)

Adolescents are generally found to be lacking in the capacity for the type of self-judgment that is the condition of inner growth (Buescher, 1985). They can be cuttingly critical of others and the world around them but at the same time incapable of directing their sharp judgments at themselves. A thoughtful teenager capable of sensitive self-perception and self-evaluation may be rare but such a youth might have a strong potential for self- actualizing growth. Piechowski et al. (1983) examined the content of the OEQs obtained from a small sample of gifted adolescents in a two-year pilot study. At the time of the follow-up they varied in age from 14 to 18. In terms of individual development they were engaged in meeting the demands of school and career; some of them lacked evidence of growth issues, while others showed varying degrees of emotional awareness. (Piechowski, 1986)

These characteristics are not related to age because they were noted in some of the 12- and 14-year-olds. Rather, some gifted adolescents become aware of their emotional life and their inner self as early as 12, perhaps even earlier, and this awareness becomes richer and deeper in subsequent years. The combination of a searching intellect with intense emotionality gives them the potential for eminence (James's “effective genius”) although its realization is a function of historical and cultural circumstance (Feldman, 1982). Gifted adolescents with lesser developmental potential appear to be drawn primarily to well paved obstacle courses governed by established norms of achievement, recognition, and responsible citizenship. These seem to fit the rational-altruistic type of character development as described by Peck and Havighurst (1960). It might be worth noting that Sommers (1981) found strong positive relationship between an extended emotional range and cognitive complexity. She suggested that the more developed and more sophisticated a person's system of values, the better focus there is for critical evaluation of one's own and others' conduct. This echoes the basis for reliable moral outlook that Maslow found in self-actualizing people—”they do right and they do not do wrong”—regardless of social conventions. The question of the primacy of cognition or emotion continues to be debated (Zajonc, 1981, 1984; Lazarus, 1984). No doubt there are several possible patterns. One of Brennan's subjects achieved such a degree of harmonious integration between his emotions and his intellect that on the OEQ he gave primarily responses indicative of intellectual OE. But another self-actualizing subject was guided chiefly by the power of her intuition and empathy. She does not lack intellectual OE, but it takes second place to her sensitive tuning into the emotional condition of another person. Whether strongly intellectual or strongly emotional, what self-actualizing people do have in common is a humanistic orientation, an investment in the world of people, their lives, their aspirations, and their fates (Piechowski, 1986, p. 196).

Inner dialogue and self-judgment are an essential part of moral growth. Although in his cognitive theory of moral development Kohlberg minimized the importance of emotions, the penetrating genius of William James (1902) saw a definite and necessary link between the strength of one's emotions and moral character. For there to be congruence between beliefs and actions, a person must feel the issues with passion. For James, moral questions are real questions only to those who feel them so strongly that they feel called by them to an active response. They are not problems to reason out but problems the heart knows how to answer more quickly and more immediately. Self-judgment, then, is an evaluation of one's own self, and no personal process of evaluation is possible without the appraising mechanism of feeling (Bowlby, 1969). Without feeling, our subjective life would be just so many bits of data washed of color and meaning (p. 96). (Piechowski, 1989, 1991)

Honest self-evaluation leads logically to some conscious decisions in regard to what faults and deficiencies are to be eliminated and what positive traits are to be developed. The fruit of this labor is inner autonomy. To forge one's inner autonomy, one must follow the values, standards, and ideals one is professing. These values imply choices on which it might not be easy to act because old habits and propensities stand in the way. As quoted earlier, William James pointed out that where there is resistance, one needs a will to overcome it. Such choices and actions are what make for actual change in one's psychological structure, i.e., in one's character. Eleanor Roosevelt expressed this clearly: (Piechowski, 1990)

Eleanor Roosevelt's habitual practice of rigorous, at times harsh, self­evaluation and self-judgment was her principle of honesty with oneself, the imperative of striving for objectivity toward herself. Dabrowski called this process “subject-object in oneself,” having found this term in Kierkegaard. The depth and importance of this process are revealed in her saying that it requires courage because there are things in us, serious mistakes we have made, that we would rather not face. (Piechowski, 1990)

In Tolstoy's story, Nekhludov gradually recovers his earlier idealism and in the end firmly opposes the corrupt values of his society. Eleanor Roosevelt underwent a similar awakening when in her young adulthood she stopped, as she said, absorbing the tastes and personalities of those about her and affirmed her own values and beliefs: “They all in their sureness and absolute judgment on people and affairs going on in the world make me want to squirm and turn bolshevik” (Lash, 1971, p. 245). The phenomenon of an awakened self, or of an awakened conscience, is the phenomenon of conversion. But we must qualify that this kind of conversion comes from the inner being of the person. Dabrowski in his theory attempted to give systematic account of this process. First, there may be a reaction of surprise, or even of shock, when one takes a step back and looks at oneself, or, as Eleanor Roosevelt put it, “even when it shocks you and you rebel against it, it [self-knowledge] is apt to come in flashes of insight.” Or, the process may be moved along by a gradual but ever deeper probing, self-examination, and self­evaluation, as illustrated in the life of Lieutenant Louis Font. (Piechowski, 1991)

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce theoretical bridges between Maslow's construct of self-actualization, Dabrowski's theory of emotional development, Bandura's model of the self-system, and Gardner's concept of intrapersonal intelligence. In brief, self-actualization fits into Level IV of Dabrowski's five levels of development. Bandura's self-system furnishes the component processes of self-evaluation for Dabrowski's theory and gains from it emotional fuel. Where Gardner has equated intrapersonal intelligence with introspection, Dabrowski's theory complements it with dynamics of inner transformation. His concept of developmental potential with its five dimensions of felt experience is extremely useful for recognizing the signs of potential toward advanced development, self-actualization, and inner transformation. The concepts of emotional giftedness, positive maladjustment, and spiritual giftedness are also relevant in this context. (Piechowski, 2003)

Identifying internal causes is far from simple but how one judges oneself shapes one's inner life and behavior. In the type of development described here, one of its principal mechanisms is the process of self-evaluation. It has an emotional and an intellectual component. The intellectual component is the comparison of a given state of affairs with a standard. The standard in this case is an inner ideal, an ideal of inner perfection, of a human being transformed (Piechowski, 2003, p. 296).

Dabrowski made introspection and self-evaluation the constants of multilevel development. The process is both cognitive and affective, in other words, it cuts more deeply the stronger are a person's intellectual and emotional overexcitabilities. (Piechowski, 2003)

Bandura (1986) developed a detailed model of self-regulation in the self-system. The standards by which this system operates are internal. The three major components of self-regulation are self-observation, self-judgment and self-reaction. For each, Bandura has specified further elements and subprocesses which are engaged in how a person carries out self-evaluation in regard to his or her outward behavior, status among fellow human beings, or in one's inner life. Bandura did not include emotions, but the self-system could not work without them, because they are what powers it. Dabrowski was clear that self-evaluation and self-judgment are effective only to the degree that they are emotionally charged, that they have the power of deep conviction (Piechowski, 2003, p. 296).

If the elements of the self-system were to be applied to Dabrowski's multilevel process, they could enable us to understand how inner transformation works. When an ideal is chosen as a standard of comparison, a person exerts effort to attain it. He or she does it without reliance on external rewards. One could say that it is really a question of how one uses one's will. People who quit smoking on their own or who successfully manage a self-cure testify to the human ability of deliberately regulating and altering one's behavior (Bandura, 1986). Guided by this model it should be possible to devise specific assessments for self-evaluation in multilevel development. It would be a way of marrying a cognitive-behaviorist with a humanistic model of human motivation. (Piechowski, 2003)

Self-evaluation and self-judgment with the objective of self-correction constitute a person's conscience. Bandura (1986) identified eight mechanisms by which we can get around our conscience, our self-evaluative process. Activation of these mechanisms can be gradual or limited to certain situations. For instance, it is easier to do something unethical when one tells oneself that what other people are doing is much worse, or, when the responsibility is diffused, or relegated to a higher authority, or when one believes in moral justification in carrying out heinous acts as did Hitler's SS (Stutzstaffel), or Milosevic's army in our day. The SS were Hitler's police for racial purity. To do ethnic cleansing they were trained to believe that they were morally superior, which then justified extermination of people deemed morally inferior, degenerate, or subhuman (Moczarski, 1981). (Piechowski, 2003)

Overexcitabilities constitute the child's original equipment, subsequently shaped by the whole array of parental, peer, school, economic, and other forces as described by current models of talent development (Feldman, 1988; Gagne, 1995; Piechowski, 1998; Piirto, 1994; Tannenbaum, 1983, 1997). But we are left with a basic question. Is DP, defined as the sum of abilities and overexcitabilities—as long as the constellation of other necessary conditions does not cut it short—sufficient to result in development characterized by inner transformation? Do the higher levels, including self-actualization, spring directly from DP or do some additional elements and processes have to come into play? We are far from knowing the answer but it is clear that an inner imperative for transforming growth entails a combination of intellectual and emotional elements. We see one form of it in the mechanism of self-evaluation as mentioned earlier. (Piechowski, 2003)

Inner dialogue and self-judgment are an essential part of moral growth. Although in his cognitive theory of moral development Kohlberg minimized the importance of emotions, the penetrating genius of James (1902) saw a definite and necessary link between the strength of one's emotions and moral character. Self-judgment, then, is an evaluation of one's own self and no personal process of evaluation is possible without the appraising mechanism of feeling (Bowlby, 1969). Without feeling, our subjective life would be just so many bits of data washed of color and meaning. Damasio (1994), studying the human brain, proved as much (Piechowski, 2003, p. 308).

Emotional growth characterized by awareness of feelings, empathy, understanding of others, and self-evaluation aiming at improvement of one's character, suggests a potential for inner psychic transformation in further development. Whether this possibility of deeper inner growth is borne out can only be answered by an extended longitudinal study. Jackson's (1995, 1998) study of depression in highly gifted adolescents makes a start in that direction. She found that gifted adolescents fall into depression when their absolute need for knowledge, their drive for meaning in the world is stymied, when their need for deep and authentic communion with others remains unfulfilled, and when they are unable or are prevented from expressing their most vital emotions, feelings, and experiences (pp. 08-309). Their emotional intensity and profound sensitivity combined with self-reflection and self-analysis led a number of them into a multilevel inner growth as defined by Dabrowski. In this manner, Jackson's study confirms what was hypothesized in the original study (Piechowski, 1989): that the emotional growth characterized by introspective questioning and searching has strong potential for multilevel development and self-actualization (Piechowski, 2003, p. 309).

Thus, as long as intrapersonal intelligence is understood chiefly as introspective capacity, it can be considered a talent, but when the concept is extended to include a highly developed, mature self of a moral exemplar then it would be more fitting to call it emotional giftedness, and in some cases even spiritual giftedness (Piechowski, 1997, 2000). It was, therefore, necessary to broaden Gardner's (1983) concept of intrapersonal intelligence and its extension, “continued development, where an individual has an option of becoming increasingly autonomous, integrated, or self-actualized …. The end goal of these developing processes is a self that is highly developed and fully differentiated from others (p. 252) and to support his original conclusion, one he did not subsequently develop further, that perhaps a knowledge of self is a “higher level, more integrated form of intelligence … one that ultimately comes to control and to regulate more ‘primary orders' of intelligence” (p. 274). Doesn't this sound almost Dabrowskian? The elaboration outlined here fills the hole by identifying the processes of evaluation in general and self-judgment in particular, inner transformation, positive maladjustment, and much more that characterizes emotional giftedness (Piechowski, 2003, p. 313).

The first concept for me to grasp was the inner psychic milieu, defined as the totality of dynamisms emerging in Level III. Dabrowski believed that multilevel disintegration was indispensable for development. Little significant inner life exists in Levels I (primary integration) and II (unilevel disintegration). For Dabrowski, inner life begins with multilevel processes of introspection, self-examination, and self-evaluation. The varieties of inner conflict between higher and lower in oneself are represented by the dynamisms of Level III. (Piechowski, 2008)

In her talks Peace Pilgrim would draw the phases of her psychological and spiritual maturing as shown in Figure 1. The flat horizontal phase of emotional ups and downs of small amplitude—point (1) in her graph—she called “ordinary living, stably governed by self-centered nature,” a life spiritually lacking and of little depth, with maybe only an occasional glimpse of higher truth. This would correspond to Dabrowski’s unilevel development that is characterized by shifting mood, inconsistent ways of acting, being easily swayed by social opinion as well as a tendency to recycle one’s problems, with little of inner direction. However, there is no evidence of anything like this in her life; rather, there are strong multilevel elements; that is, evaluating experiences and behaviors in terms of higher versus lower in oneself (and also in the world), as we saw in the characteristics of her developmental potential: awareness of choice in her life, sense of responsibility for the choice, evaluation of what was around her, looking at the world with clear eyes and sorting out what made sense. She said that among the hodgepodge of her childhood learnings was a set of opposites. She was trained to believe that she should be kind and loving and never hurt anyone and, on the other hand, if so ordered, that it was honorable to maim and kill people in a war. This did not confuse her, because it was so obviously wrong. The other did, and that was “to be generous and unselfish and, on the other hand, to get out there and grab more than my share” (Friends of Peace Pilgrim, 1977). (Piechowski, 2009a)

A change comes when the person begins to tire of this state of affairs with its meaningless emotional treading water and growing malaise. The search for a way out starts with the realization of the possibility of a more meaningful focus in life. A sense of higher and lower in oneself opens new horizons. Sensing the possibility of something higher in oneself engenders the feeling of inferiority, not to others but toward oneself. It is an inferiority before one’s unrealized, more evolved and ideal self. Soon this feeling of inferiority toward oneself is followed by an array of inner currents and rifts with descriptive names like disquietude with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, positive maladjustment, and so on. What they all have in common is the vertical axis of self-evaluation, that judges the distance from the higher in oneself, which attracts, and grows a stronger reaction against the lower in oneself, which repels. Dabrowski firmly believed that moral exemplars share human values that are universal. His theory details out the process of development through inner transformation (Dabrowski 1967). (Piechowski, 2009b)

No moral growth is possible without inner dialogue, self-judgment, and an evaluation of oneself. The process depends on the feeling of what is right, fair, and just. William James saw a definite link between emotional intensity and the strength of one's moral character. To feel moral problems with passion is to be true to one's beliefs not problems to be solved by logical reasoning but problems that move the heart to act. (Piechowski, 2014a)

Besides striving to achieve one's goals and understand one's feelings and motives, the following examples of self-examination include the yardstick of a larger, altruistic perspective a self-evaluation as to whether one is helping others and making this world a better place. (Piechowski, 2014a)

Self-examination can turn into moral self-evaluation and an emotionally charged process of self-judgment. Self-loathing and self-condemnation may result. Dabrowski called it “dissatisfaction with oneself,” which tends to accompany feelings of guilt. The sense of guilt may spring more from not living according to one's ideals than from actual wrongful acts. Such anxious feelings may add to the inner turmoil that Dabrowski called positive disintegration. Inner tensions of this nature tend to give a strong push toward personal and spiritual growth. (Piechowski, 2014a)

Self-evaluation tends to be a ceaseless commentary running inside our heads, judging and criticizing our actions but, alas, much less often congratulating us on what we did well. There is a great advantage in performing the exercises that can lead us to recognize our strengths and our beautiful qualities. The practice helps us to develop a sense of purpose and also to focus our will on achieving it. For instance, The Rose, Inner Beauty, and Purpose, among others, are exercises designed to activate positive energies within a person. (Piechowski, 2014a)

The concept of primary integration also lacks a theoretical basis. It is inconsistent with other terms of the theory itself. Dabrowski developed his theory to capture the emotional processes of self-evaluation, maladaptation, and spiritual seeking that he called multilevel. For such development to be possible, a multilevel developmental potential must be present. (Piechowski, 2014b)

Sherrington emphasized that stopping an action is also acting. Thus, inhibition is as significant as stimulation, self-control as significant as the impulse to act. We know that Dabrowski valued highly the prevalence of inhibition over impulse to action in the introvert. Inner reflection and self-evaluation are the prerequisites of multilevel development. (Piechowski, 2014c)


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