Gifted Adults


Gifted Adults


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Many gifted adults don't even know that they are gifted. There are several characteristics of giftedness that if misunderstood in childhood lead to feelings of defectiveness and isolation in adulthood. So what is giftedness, anyway? Giftedness, as it is understood today, is not necessarily about child prodigies or geniuses. It used to be measured solely in terms of IQ, and the idea was that anyone with an IQ of 130 or over was intellectually gifted. But current thought in the field is that the IQ test is much too limiting. The characteristics being looked at now are:

  • Curiosity
  • Energy
  • Speed of learning or of getting things done
  • empathy
  • sensitivity to both beauty and pain
  • a highly developed moral sense and a need to speak up
  • ability to see patterns and analogies and to do abstract thinking
  • playfulness
  • intensity

The Polish psychiatrist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, coined the term “overexcitability” to describe the highly intelligent and outlined 5 categories of overexcitabilities (or OE’s): Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational and Emotional. These OE’s are now being used to predict and identify giftedness in children.

According to Marylou Kelly Streznewski, in her book, “Gifted Grownups,” (which is an excellent book, and very readable) there are roughly three types of gifted people: Strivers, Superstars and Independents.

  • Strivers do very well in school, enjoy and follow rules and like structure. These are hard workers, high achievers and make great employees.
  • The Superstars really seem to have it all together. This group is popular, attractive and successful. You will find your scholar-athletes here. The superstars have great social skills and often take their values from the realm of their peers.
  • The Independents are the creative intellectuals and are usually the least understood. These are the students who ask challenging questions in class and may be seen as insubordinate rather than passionate. These are the employees who want to do things their way and ignore the tasks that seem unimportant to them. The independent will work long, hard and brilliantly at what interests him/her, and neglect the rest. The independent also has the most potential for making creative contributions to the world.

It is so important to understand, rather than judge, what drives you and what you are sensitive to. A working alliance with the right therapist can help you to value what makes you unique.

Please contact me and I'll be happy to provide a free phone consultation.

Melanie Brown Kroon, MFT
17412 Ventura Blvd. #394
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 623-7023


The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off... They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.

--Pearl S. Buck

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