Help Your Gifted Child Flourish Instead of Flounder
Being a parent of an exceptional child can be stressful.
You know your child is filled with potential, unique perspective, and passion. You will do anything you can to help them embrace their full brilliance and take hold of all that life can offer them.
But sometimes they seem to struggle and suffer, failing to fit in well with peers, being over excitable, or even “acting out” and getting in their own way.
Gifted children can struggle in many ways, including:
Being extremely sensitive, reactive or intense.
Having difficulty in school, even when they are very smart.
Have trouble staying organized and managing time.
Struggling with impatience or perfectionism with both themselves and others.
Feeling depressed, socially isolated or lonely.
Battling anxiety and excessive worry, often about issues that are well beyond their years.
Being “out of synch” with their peers; seeming much older in some respects, and much younger in others.
It can be hard to know how to provide the right mix of enrichment, support and discipline.
And it can be heartbreaking to watch them flounder as they try to grow and find a way to understand and accept themselves and take their place in the world.
But things can get easier.
If you or your child is struggling with issues related to giftedness, you are not alone. And there is help!
The right therapeutic and counseling support for your gifted child can help them to:
Learn to modulate their emotional intensity so that it becomes less overwhelming.
Develop specific skills for combatting anxiety, worry and destructive thinking.
Learn to handle perfectionism without giving up their drive for excellence.
More easily connect with others without holding themselves back to fit in.
Embrace their passions, personality quirks and imaginative thinking as assets that bring them opportunities rather than as burdens that make them different or “weird.”
Your child can receive expert support that helps them thrive as who they are, rather than trying to make them fit in and be like everyone else. We understand the immense talent, deep perceptions, and significant challenges that can accompany giftedness and are here to help your child grow in the way that is right for him or her.
Our counseling goal is not to get your child to act like everyone else. The goal is to help your child figure out who they truly are and learn how to act like themselves, in an adaptive and less stressful way.
We Help Your Gifted Child Develop the Tools They Need to Thrive
We support gifted youth and their families to move through a journey of building crucial awareness of how giftedness impacts them and the people around them, and tools for gracefully handling the intense emotions that come with the gifted experience.
We begin by normalizing the wide range of emotional expression and helping gifted children learn to become comfortable with experiencing intense emotions. When both parents and the youth are able to find compassion for these feelings instead of trying to shut them down or control them, this awareness helps both child and parent almost instantly start to experience progress.
In addition to immediate relief from the stresses that giftedness can cause, we also want to help both the family and the youth to master the art of regulating intense emotions and behaviors without numbing feelings or suppressing areas of genius.
To do that, we teach your child about what is happening in their nervous system, in their brain and body, so that they understand the fight/flight/freeze response- and then they can start to learn practical emotion regulation techniques.
We work with a lot of psychoeducation about the brain and body, and learning mindfulness techniques to help reduce stress, increase problem solving and develop enhanced social awareness.
From there, if a child is still struggling with specific negative cognitions, fears or anxieties, we move into EMDR to desensitize and integrate what is still causing them disturbance.
Depending on the intensity of the issues, we ideally like to do weekly 60 min sessions for about 3-6 months, and the client and parents generally start to see some good results. Also, if the client is tween or younger we love to involve parents in the process, so that the family system can incorporate the language and strategies at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
about Therapy for Gifted Children at The Kali Institute
What Exactly Is “Giftedness?”
Being gifted is more than just “being smart” or getting good grades. It is a complex mixture of abilities and traits that affects emotions, concentration, imagination and more. And while there are clearly benefits to being gifted, it often comes with challenging “side effects” such as a tendency toward emotional intensity, depression, perfectionism, and feelings of social isolation.
How Do I Know If My Child Is Gifted?
There are many tests and assessments that can be done, and perhaps you are here because your child has already been tested. However, assessments are not always needed to determine if a child is gifted or might benefit from additional support. Sometimes as a parent you just know. If you suspect your child is gifted, but have not yet done any formal testing, ask yourself the questions below.
If you answer “yes” or “frequently” to a majority of these questions, your child is probably gifted.
Does your child:
Have a highly curious mind that is always questioning?
Have an unusual and/or vivid imagination?
Show an unusually strong interest in fairness, justice and the “state of the world”?
Exhibit a dry, quirky or complex sense of humor?
Have a tendency to question authority or be stubborn at times?
Suffer from over-excitability or being too sensitive and too emotionally intense?
Have a strong need for autonomy and independence?
Struggle in school but excel at self-directed, independent learning?
Show signs of being introverted and preferring to play or spend time alone?
Quickly and easily see relationships between seemingly disconnected ideas, objects, or facts?
Show a strong interest in experimenting and doing things differently?
Use an unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for their age?
Have advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas?
Enjoy solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles?
Have a longer attention span and intense concentration if interested, but also a tendency to get easily bored?
Put too much pressure on themselves to do things perfectly or to learn new things on the first try?
If My Child Is Gifted, Why Do They Need Counseling?
Maybe they don’t. Not every gifted child does need counseling. On the other hand, being smart, and all the other things that go with being gifted, is not always enough to help a child find a way to thrive; especially when they see and experience the world differently than others do. Counseling allow your child to develop self-awareness about what it means (and does not mean) to be gifted, teaches them crucial social skills that they may be missing, and helps them to learn practical tools to regulate the anxiety, sensitivity and intense emotions that often come with being gifted. In short, counseling can help them fill their social and emotional toolbox and be better prepared to use their intellectual and creative gifts in the real world.
Won’t Acknowledging My Child Is Gifted Just Make Them Arrogant?
The bad news is that gifted individuals can sometimes be impatient with themselves and others, which can lead to them being perceived by others as arrogant. The good news is that gifted individuals are often highly empathetic and concerned with fairness as well. Many gifted children will even hide their talents in an effort to better fit in and make those around them feel more comfortable.
Supporting your child’s giftedness need not lead to them becoming arrogant. In fact, the opposite is true. When well supported, gifted children often become highly compassionate and successful adults. The trick is in helping them to learn how to manage their own anxieties and accept their passions without being consumed by them. This self-awareness combined with practical self-regulation skills and social skills can help your child to connect meaningfully with those around them, without losing touch with their own unique gifts.
How Do You Work with Gifted Children?
We help your child develop a clear understanding of the brain-body connection and how the nervous system works when we experience stress and intense emotion. We also help your child to build self-awareness, resiliency and social sensitivity around the way giftedness works. Finally, we are able to offer specific treatment modalities such as EMDR and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to help your child deal with issues such as anxiety and depression that often impact gifted youth.
How Long Should I Expect My Child to Be In Therapy?
Although giftedness lasts a lifetime, your child need not stay in therapy for the rest of their life!
Depending on the intensity of the issues, you can expect weekly 60 min sessions for about 3-6 months, and the client and parents generally start to see some good results. Also, if the client is tween or younger we love to involve parents in the process, so that the family system can incorporate the language and strategies at home.
What Is the First Step to Working with You?
If reading this inspires you, we would love to chat with you more about your child and how we can develop a unique growth plan to help them thrive.
Just click here to download our Welcome Packet so you can know more about the logistics of how we work and click here to get on our schedule for a 20-minute introductory phone call. We will chat with you a bit about your needs and what to expect, and then schedule your first appointment with your child and get started.