“If You're So Smart, Why Do You Need
Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.
A reasonably clear perception of self appears to be one prerequisite to
advanced emotional development. For people who are outside the norm in
any significant way, as gifted people are, obtaining accurate feedback
about their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and the acceptability of
their personality characteristics is difficult.
The current article gives examples of the confusing feedback
that many gifted adults received during their childhoods, feedback that
was often so harmful or confusing as to jeopardize the subjects' sense
of both purpose and value.
Such examples reveal
some of the issues counselors of the gifted need to address in order to
assist their clients toward the achievement of more accurate
self-concepts and support them as they try to find meaning, purpose,
and higher-level emotional development.
Self-indulgent. Whiny. Weak. Many of the generation who lived through
the Great Depression and World War II would admit that they do not
understand the current popularity of psychotherapy. If you're
depressed, get on with it. Fix it. Change your attitude.
many people, needing therapy implies lack of strength,
self-sufficiency, or competence. In fact, our “G.I.” generation views
life quite differently than younger generations. According to Strauss
and Howe (1991), “Throughout their lives, these G.I.s [the generation]
have been America's confident and rational problem-solvers” (p. 261).
Such a generation
has had little thirst for spiritual conversion, no need for
transcending new consciousness...Valuing outer life over inner, G.I.s
came of age preferring crisp sex-role definitions...G.I.s matured into
a father-worshipping and heavily male-fixated generation. As rising
adults, they came to disdain womanish influences on public life...The
G.I.s' rift with their own children arose, in substantial part, from
the refusal of Boomer youths to accept the exaggerated masculinity of
G.I. fathers (p. 264).
The Baby Boomers, who are the focus group of the current paper, have
been born into and raised in an unprecedented era of prosperity and
considers Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1968), Maslow theorized that
self-actualization could not even be considered until physiological,
safety, belongingness and love needs are met for individuals.
the very attitudes and accomplishments of the G.I. generation may have
paved the way for the current younger generations to take the time
necessary for inner growth and change.
G.I. generation who underplay their problems and behave as though there
is a solution to everything if you just try hard enough has spawned
generations who more and more can recognize and admit when they are
depressed, angry, sad, or unfulfilled.
Etty Hillesum, a young Dutch Jew who died in the holocaust, recognized
that different times allow different kinds of talents and strengths to
emerge (1983). In her final entry to her journal prior to her death in
a Nazi extermination camp she wrote,
I always return to
Rilke [philosopher-poet]. It is strange to think that someone so frail
and who did most of his writing within protective castle walls, would
perhaps have been broken by the circumstances in which we now live. Is
that not further testimony that life is finely balanced? Evidence that,
in peaceful times and under favourable circumstances, sensitive artists
may search for the purest and most fitting expression of their deepest
insights so that, during more turbulent and debilitating times, others
can turn to them for support and a ready response to their bewildered
questions? A response that they are unable to formulate themselves
since all their energies are taken up looking after the bare
necessities? Sadly, in difficult times we tend to shrug off the
spiritual heritage of artists from an “easier” age, with “What use is
that sort of thing to us now?”
It is an understandable but shortsighted reaction. And utterly
impoverishing. (pp. 242-243).
Terman's longitudinal study group was part of the G.I. generation.
According to Terman and the follow-up studies, the gifted group had
above average mental health including a low incidence of depression
(Terman & Oden, 1947, 1959).
then-popular notion that giftedness brought with it mental illness or
peculiarity was largely debunked by Terman's study. It is possible,
though, that the gifted group played the games of the day exceptionally
Highly Gifted Adults and Counseling
In the early 1990s I collected case study material from 110 highly
gifted men and women between the ages of 20 and 83, three generations,
as part of my doctoral dissertation study (Ruf, 1998).
over age 60 reported any counseling; nearly a third of subjects between
the ages of 40 and 60 sought counseling; and about half of the
under-40s had already had some sort of counseling by the time they
participated in the study.
became clear that a generational cohort effect was greatly influencing
the viewpoints and outlooks of my subjects. Already needing a data
reduction device, I decided to limit the data analysis to people of my
own generation, the Baby Boomers.
The subjects quoted for this paper are part of a subset of 41 adults
who were between the ages of 40 and 60 (in 1993 at the time of data
collection), who have all scored at the 99th percentile and above on
standardized tests of intellectual ability, and who all volunteered for
an anonymous study of high giftedness in adults.
all the subjects reported some painful experiences relating to their
differentness as gifted when they were children. Fully 75% of the
subjects wrote about their intellectual struggles to make sense of the
world and their place in it.
fact, the overriding cause of expressed sadness, disappointments, and
depression appears to relate to that existential question. When
intelligent members of the Baby Boomer generation tried to talk to
their similarly intelligent G.I. generation parents about “finding
themselves” and other existential questions, it was all too common to
hear, “If you're so smart, why can't you figure it out for yourself?
makes you think you need counseling?” As a result, guilt and shame were
often added to the list of issues with which the study's subjects
Within the 41 subject highly gifted group, 13 (nearly 32%) people
reported that they received therapeutic counseling. Although several of
the excerpts presented in this paper are from people who did not
receive counseling, all are reflective of the issues that motivated
individual searches for personal growth.
nine people (22%) of the study subjects who, at the time of data
gathering, were exhibiting some evidence of higher level development
behavior described by Dabrowski (1964), only three of them did not
mention having received counseling support, although, unfortunately, it
was not a direct question in the study questionnaires.
Incidence of Abuse Among the Gifted
In my dissertation study group of highly gifted adults, 56% reported
some degree of abusive treatment in their childhoods. Although
approximately half the group reported slappings and spankings - a
common form of discipline among this age cohort that I did not include
in the abusive category.
repeated verbal and emotional abuse is included, as are the 19% who
reported sexual abuse, the additional 12% who experienced sexual
interference (inappropriate touching or adult exposure, for example,
that the subjects reported as disturbing to them), and the 15% who
described stronger physical abuse.
subjects admitted to being outright beaten more than once during their
Direct comparisons of abuse for study subjects compared to normal
population figures are not possible because statistical incidence of
abuse is for reportable, confirmed cases only.
one of the 41 subjects wrote that abuse in her home was ever reported
to authorities. According to figures reported in 1994 for 1993 by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for all forms of
substantiated abuse, about 1% of the population under age 18 was living
in reportable, abusive conditions for which authorities were called to
seems reasonable to assume that “reportable abuse” accounts for little
of actual abuse in most homes.
It is important to note that some subjects described emotional or
physical abuse but did not personally identify it as such. When they
emphatically stated that they experienced no abuse, I did not include
them in the “abused” category for the study.
or not subjects were abused, or perceived themselves as having been
abused, was not the most prominent consideration for those seeking
depressed, sad, or hopeless were the primary factors that lead subjects
into counseling, and for most people, these factors related only
peripherally to actual incidence of abuse.
there were as many people who wrote about being depressed who did not
seek therapy as those who did.
Understanding Viewpoints Based on Dabrowski
Readers familiar with Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration
(see Volume I, Advanced Development Journal, 1989, for an excellent
review; see also Clive Hazell's paper in the current journal) know that
positive disintegrations are episodes in the maturing individual's
inner life where old viewpoints are now seen as questionable rather
than naively acceptable.
it is probably more likely that it will - at least passingly - occur to
highly intelligent people, than for people of more average intellect,
that some things that are should not be, my research shows that many
intelligent people clearly do not tackle these questions to any
more self-controlled, “can do” thinking of the G. I. generation and
many of their descendants leads many people from that group to make the
best of a less than perfect world.
the best of it” is a coping strategy that leaves many of its possessors
with an unwillingness to interfere with what appears to work for them;
such people are unlikely to seek counseling and are also unlikely to
experience advanced inner development.
others, however, their whole inner world can be turned upside down
until they make their own sense of it. Many of them need and seek the
support of counselors to guide them through their struggle.
The selected excerpts illustrate progress from the mere questioning and
wondering of early emotional development, captured by the question,
“Who am I?” to the more advanced, complex viewpoints displayed by
people who actively ask, “What exactly is the point of life and what
should my role in it be?”
final section of excerpts illustrates the viewpoints and thought
processes of subjects who have achieved advanced levels of emotional
reasoning and inner growth.
the point of view of the therapist it is important to note that these
people are not ill, but they are suffering. The therapist needs to
provide support, empathy, and guidance as the subjects clarify these
existential issues for themselves.
Who Am I?
Degree of giftedness is significantly related to social and emotional
adjustment (Gross, 1993, Hollingworth, 1942; Janos & Robinson,
1985). The degree to which the individuals are different from the
expected norm affects the way significant people (e.g., parents,
teachers, age-mates) in the highly gifted people's environments react
other words, it is the gifted child's perception of the acceptance,
approval, or rejection that leads to the social and emotional
A 45-year old woman wrote,
Some saw me as a
person with rare insight, others thought I was crazy. It was very hard
to see it clearly. I was often confused by the variety of responses.
Even reading about giftedness and having my own children identified [as
gifted] was confusing. I did not see them as any smarter than I was, so
could not see that they could be gifted. Seeing a list of
characteristics made it very clear that I was probably in the gifted
range, yet it was hard to accept. It feels like I am boasting, or
somehow trying to claim something I have not earned. There is something
bad about claiming to be smart, it is arrogant and boastful. I have
less confusion now, but there are still beliefs that make it hard to
say I am anything but average. There is nothing wrong with being
average, but somehow there is an idea that there is something wrong to
see yourself as anything more than average.
The desire to underplay the abilities of the gifted child so that
relatives would not feel bad was common in the subjects' families.
the gifted children ended up feeling depressed and less valued than
those whose feelings were being protected.
women, all in their early 40s, reported feedback they received from
well-meaning parents and relatives who tried to keep them from feeling
superior to others:
My mother never
wanted me to feel superior, so she always told me that I was not
terribly smart, just good at taking tests. Perhaps that explains why I
had such a distorted view.
My mother told me, as an adult, that she didn't praise me [as a child]
because she thought it was obvious that I was outstanding and she
didn't want me to get a swelled head.
I received lots of mixed messages, even from my extended family. As
soon as my father would “brag” about me in some way, grandmother or
aunts would be quick to point out something one of the distant cousins
had done. It was their attempt to keep me from getting a big head, I
A 51-year old man spoke for many of the subjects when he described his
own situation during his school years:
I took the usual
number of aptitude-type tests, and, from the reactions of teachers and
principals, did extremely well. But, nobody would tell me how well I
did, or who else did well...the stated grounds were that I would
immediately change into someone with an insufferable ego.
A 43-year old woman wrote about how her apparently higher intelligence
seemed to cause problems for her family. She is one of the subjects who
did not write about seeking therapy and gave evidence in many places
that she wanted to handle her feelings and worries in her own way.
“can do” attitude is more common in the G.I. generation than her own.
At the core, I
always felt loved, but I seldom felt that anything I did was quite good
enough. My parents bent over backwards not to over-praise my
accomplishments so that none of my siblings were hurt. They explained
it to me and I understood it intellectually, but still felt bad when
there was much more fuss made over someone else's three “A's” than my
card full. Looking back, I don't know how they could have done any
better, but it did feed my perfectionistic tendencies. Overall, I did
know they believed in me, which was terribly important.
One of the older subjects, 58 at the time of the study, still
experienced a sense of anger over the way she was treated in childhood.
She experienced father-daughter incest during childhood and was seeing
counselors her entire adult life.
appears that the sexual and emotional abuse issues received, of
necessity, such priority in her treatment that she has been unable to
effectively address her giftedness issues. She wrote,
When I was a
preschooler I was always drawing stories and did not care to socialize
with other children. My mother was told that I was a genius--she cried
and said she just wanted a normal child...A friend of mine in the third
grade thought I was weird because I skipped all over my books and read
ahead in assignments. In high school I was considered weird because I
only listened to classical music and read extra books that were not
required. I felt there was something wrong with me. I was not
good-looking enough, I was too tall, I was awkward, I was shy, I had a
lousy personality, I was weird, I wore glasses.
It is true that many people suffer similar feelings as they are growing
up and learning about themselves.
makes these stories particularly salient is that giftedness, even high
giftedness, does not automatically make individuals better able to
interpret their personal worlds.
theme of strangeness and loneliness ran throughout the case studies.
During the formative early years of school, most of the gifted children
learned that they did not seem to fit in and that something must be
wrong with them.
least half the subjects did not discover until adulthood that the
oddness and alienation they were feeling were due to a difference from
their age-mates in intellectual functioning.
subjects described the pain that lack of information caused them. A
57-year old man wrote,
I was aware [of
being more intelligent than others], but thought it more of a
“strangeness” than a qualitative difference, thus thought of myself as
not fitting in. Nevertheless, it was not an extreme isolation, just a
sense of being “peripheral” to mainstream.
Three more men remembered their feelings of not fitting in:
I had interests that
did not seem to match up with anyone else's interests, I did not fit
in, and I sometimes felt lonely.
To some extent I always felt like a social outcast. Felt I was just not
liked by peers--something wrong with me.
General feeling of being “different” in several ways--interests,
thoughts I thought only I was having.
Two women further noted how their intellectually different
personalities and interests often left them with an array of
I often thought I
was really stupid because I couldn't understand why teachers taught
things that I thought were obvious. I thought that other children were
smarter because they saw complexities that I now know never existed.
Instead of realizing that I had grasped the concepts quickly or knew
them already, I thought I was missing some subtle point that confused
others and I was too dense to see it.
I always thought being smart was an advantage. I didn't know why I
didn't fit in. I always felt there were social rules that everyone but
One of the male subjects echoed her observation:
I did not understand
the social issues in high school life--dressing choices, etc.
High intelligence often places the young person in an untenable
position with those in authority. Silverman (1990, p.175) summarizes
Hollingworth regarding this problem:
authority tends to develop when the gifted child perceives those in
authority as illogical, irrational, erroneous, or unjust (1939, 1940a,
1942). “It is especially unfortunate, therefore, that so many gifted
children have in authority over them persons of no special fitness for
the task, who cannot gain or keep the respect of these good thinkers”
(Hollingworth, 1942, p.261).
The gifted child and emerging young adult may appear to be a
know-it-all or have a bad attitude as a result of encounters that
involve vastly different perspectives.
example, a woman who now runs her own small business reports the
I began a master's
thesis in mass communications, but quit when the mass media department,
in 1980, refused my master's thesis topic, “Computers as a Mass
Medium”. The department contended that computers were not mass media.
The next two subjects are further examples of people whose lack of
information regarding intellectual differences led to issues with
of these people are defensive, which may be a result of insufficient
recognition or understanding of their abilities earlier in their lives.
apparent result is that they were unaware that some people really do
think and reason differently than they do and they were resentful of an
“ineptitude” they did not understand.
lack of compassion and understanding, which certainly manifested itself
as intolerance, coupled with defensiveness, made them personally
unpopular in the workplace and continued their pattern of being
A man who by age 52 still experienced difficulties with those in
authority explained his attitude as follows:
I regard myself as
“normal”--this created (and creates) a problem in that I became
disillusioned with people around me who constantly fell short of what I
regarded as “their potential”--teachers who could not, or would not,
attempt to answer complex questions--people who seemed to have no
passion, people who took the beauty of life for granted.
A 50-year old woman described a familiar problem among the gifted adult
My biggest problems
with jobs is when there is rigidity, stupidity and control on the part
of those in charge--and, unfortunately, these are the very type of
people who tend to rise to the top in my field. I quit, I come
dangerously close to quitting, or get fired...because I speak up.
Many gifted children take negative messages about their gifted
personalities into adulthood. Their asynchrony of development
(Silverman, 1993) causes problems when adults assume more advanced
maturity than the young, highly verbal child possesses.
woman who by her early 50s, with the help of counseling, had figured
out that she was not really a bad little girl after all reported the
I was often taken to
the cloakroom and shaken by my second grade teacher, who left
fingernail marks in my arms every time; she lost no opportunity to
catch me in a mistake and ridicule me in front of the class--”and you
think you're so smart!” ...And as my mother said, when she refused to
take my part and go to the school to defend me, “You let your eyes show
how you feel about her and what she does--so what do you expect?”
A 47-year old woman who also sought counseling to put her experiences
into perspective wrote,
I was inquisitive,
which both parents interpreted as rude and challenging to their
authority. I was smart so they confused my ability to learn with a
capability for understanding my actions in a greater context.
Therefore, they attached adult motivations to even the simplest
questions of a 4-year old.
A 49-year old woman who still had many unresolved issues and was
experiencing great depression at the time, wrote about her efforts to
make sense of her experiences:
My father mostly
yelled, criticized harshly and disapproved. My mother was quite harsh
with me and used physical punishment and disparagement, too. Both were
somewhat inconsistent and moody and both had high expectations for
perfect obedience and no expression of anger or protest from me. I
never felt loved or approved of. I often felt that if I'd only been a
bit more perfect or good, then they'd love me, but they never did.
What Exactly Is the Point Of My
The remaining excerpts all come from among the nine subjects who have
struggled with inner growth and the advanced levels of emotional
development described by Dabrowski (1964).
the gifted adults who sought counseling took an active role in their
own growth independent of therapy; and for the three who did not
utilize counseling support, their paths were otherwise quite similar.
like the counseling recipients, read widely, attended conferences, even
sought degrees in counseling, psychology, theology, and philosophy.
One fairly young woman, aged 40, admits she came from a supportive,
nurturing family that probably gave her the freedom to explore
existential questions earlier in life than most people. She sought
counseling as an adult to help her with her emotional journey.
I had my first
developmental crisis at age 10 when I felt that my life had no meaning.
I considered committing suicide with the shotgun Dad kept in the
basement but decided not to because I thought that would make my
parents sad. I resolved the crisis by deciding I had two self-chosen
purposes in my life:
1. To help others.
2. To have pleasure myself.
Shallow and simplistic as these goals now seem, when I've had mid-life
crises since then, I've continued to come up with these same very basic
I guess I should comment on how becoming an atheist was a turning
point. Once I decided there was no god, I had no foundation for my
values, which was largely Judeo-Christian-based. So I had to rethink
all my moral decisions from a basis I decided for myself. I'm still
doing this, and it's hard.
Another 40-year old from a background where he felt loved, if not
understood, the next subject knew his IQ from an early age but did not
know the larger impact of what it meant.
When my daughter
received a WISC-R score of 150 I began to explore this issue of
giftedness. I had essentially discounted my own IQ [a CTMM of 172] as
something in the past. As I studied I was confronted with my own life
story, my own issues, my own giftedness. For a long time I was unable
to discuss my own giftedness without crying.
He described how his new insights led him on a new journey of emotional
exploration and growth, one that has been supported by therapy. In
response to a question about where he grew up he wrote,
My answer is that I
am still growing. The idea that a human creature grows up between time
A and time B and then stops growing is a fascinating concept. Who
started speaking of life in that fashion? It only really makes sense if
time A is birth and time B is death. I know that it seems painfully
obvious when stated so bluntly but listen to how we speak, look at how
we really behave. Now, stepping down from my soapbox, I was raised by
my parents and lived in [small Midwestern town] until I went away to
Another counseling recipient, the woman quoted here was 52 when she
participated in the study. She wrote about how she would change the way
her parents treated her:
I'd have them
express love and support rather than criticism and demands for
achievement. I was motivated internally to do well and didn't need the
constant demands for perfection. An A- was a problem, a B a disaster.
If I wasn't first at something there was hardly any point in doing it.
I wish I'd had more hugs and more play and fewer rules for good
character. Good character meant being orderly, neat, respectful, quiet
and unfailingly rational. I was messy, disorganized, challenging to
authority, loud and emotional. I was also imaginative, funny, bright
and loving, and if those traits had been recognized as much as the
others were criticized, I would have had a very different view of
A 46-year old subject who dropped out of the study returned to complete
the questionnaires when he was about 50.
experience is, I think, a wonderful firsthand account of what Dabrowski
described as a “positive disintegration” and a resulting “personality
I would like to
share with you some of things that have happened since I dropped out of
your study some years ago. I spent a year or so crying almost every
day, then met with a psychologist for another year, but got frustrated
with the psychologist because I felt he wasn't doing anything, just
listening. I started reading psychology books. I have now read about 30
books on psychology, ethics, and relationships. I do not feel depressed
now. I am slowly changing my beliefs about personal responsibility,
authenticity and tolerance, and integrating these changes into my life.
I feel that forms of authoritarianism and intolerance have been a major
problem for me. I would like to accelerate the change process, but I
resist and take time to integrate one change before I take another step.
He wrote more about his own process:
I think that my
irrational feelings, prejudices and sexual stereotypes distorted my
view of the world. The taboo about discussing sex and my aversion to
people meant that there were very few avenues open to changing my
viewpoints and beliefs...I feel there has always been a great variety
of choices available to me, but that I have rarely had the courage to
make the choices. I have let events or other people decide for me. I
chose not to choose. I am changing that now and I am going to keep
Two women, both in their mid-40s and veterans of much counseling and
the personality transformation of inner growth described by Dabrowski
(1964), complete the picture of the usually painful but rewarding
journey toward emotional maturity.
first woman answered an item on the study questionnaire about how she
would encourage a troubled gifted young adult who was contemplating
I would try to start
with how changes are so subtle that even while they are happening, it
is hard to see them, but more and more happen, and when there are
enough, there is a change that appears to be sudden and major. While
life is often painful, especially for those who see more and don't shut
it out, all those pains add to the depth of our understanding and
enrich our lives when the little changes add up to one big leap...I
would add that every person fills a hole in history, that everyone
affects the life of every person around him or her.
Although I started the data collection in 1993, my own emotional growth
process made the completion of the data analysis and write-up of the
study results fill about five years.
following subject quoted here took advantage of my extended time frame
and completed her questionnaires over a 5-year period. She admitted
that she used both the experience of writing about her life and the
five years it required to help her in her own growth process.
she was not familiar with Dabrowski's theories when she wrote these
passages, the similarity of her words to Hazell's description of
advanced emotional reasoning described in the previous paper is clear.
I have learned that
I never really need to be lonely if I call upon my connections to
participate. Most are glad to support me. My mistake early on was to
believe that there were these special friends who were “kindred
spirits,” and I used to “throw people away” when I discovered that they
did not complete me in that fashion. I have learned that no one--no
matter how close (even my dearest daughter and husband) can ever be the
person who is you. So you invite people to participate at the level
that they can. And if you feel continually depleted by an individual,
you ask that person less often than someone who fulfills you.
What is most
important to me is to grow, change, and be part of something beyond my
own little life. To contribute to the world, even if in some small,
unseeable way. It does not bother me, for instance, to have people not
recognize me or know I was the founder of this association or on the
founding board of that program. I am happy to see the thing take a
shape of its own, independent of its beginnings.
In conclusion, the same woman described her clear understanding of
herself and her goals for her life in the world as she now understands
it. The five subjects in the study who had reached this level wrote
virtually the same philosophies.
following excerpt she wrote what she would tell a young person about
Learn to trust
yourself--no matter who disagrees with you. What looks to your parents
like craziness might be creativity, what looks like nonconformance
might be individuality, what looks like antisocial isolation might be a
need to reflect and contemplate. Always rely and depend on yourself,
never on things outside yourself--like food, drugs, alcohol, movies, or
Friends are there to share a
journey, share joy or sorrow, but they are not there to lead or follow.
And always know that the answer to your problems, the answer to your
questions is inside yourself, because as you develop knowledge to ask
the question, so you are developing the power to answer it.
You can do anything you want
to do, and an academic grade no more reflects your interest or ability
to succeed in a subject than your age reflects your maturity. A subject
you understand poorly today may catch your imagination and prove your
Never, never, never
let anyone tell you who you are or what you can be, no matter what the
evidence is to you. You can change yourself to be anything you focus
on. What you think you are is what you are. What you dream is what you
become. Never turn your thoughts or dreams over to anyone else.
forgive yourself, love yourself. Hatred and resentment will tear away
at your creativity and imagination until nothing is left. Forgive
others for what they do to you. Remember that everyone is doing the
best job they can with what they have to work with. Expect a miracle
every day, and the world will unfold miraculously before you.
Summary and Conclusions
The Baby Boomer subjects discussed in this paper are unlike their
parents in that a higher proportion of them have chosen to question
much about life.
stance often put them odds with their parents. People of high
intelligence often derive most of their sadness through existential
discrepancies, such as “Where and how do I fit into the world?”
G.I. generation parents did not understand this type of questioning and
thought it foolish for their children to be depressed for these
fact, a high number of subjects' parents contributed to their
children's confusion over the existential question of “Who am I?” by
working hard to make their children “fit in.”
Best estimates are that advanced emotional development is relatively
rare within a normal population, probably considerably less than 10%.
doctoral research indicates that nine subjects (nearly 22%) of my
highly gifted adult subjects attained advanced levels of emotional
development as described by Dabrowski (1964), thereby indicating that
high intelligence helps toward such development.
is no reason to assume that the levels of both emotional and physical
abuse experienced by my subjects are significantly different from an
intellectually normal population.
important to note, however, that although advanced development was
achieved by subjects who rated themselves as both abused and nonabused,
the majority of either group who achieved advanced development also
one abused subject, of the 23 abused subjects, who did not receive
counseling reached an advanced emotional level of development, and only
two nonabused subjects, of the 18 nonabused subjects, who did not
receive counseling reached advanced levels.
wide range among the subjects in eventual emotional maturity makes it
clear that emotional maturity and high intelligence are two separate
Dabrowski, K. (1964). Positive Disintegration. Boston: Little, Brown.
Gross, M. (1993). Exceptionally Gifted Children. New York: Routledge.
Hillesum, E. (1983). An interrupted life: the diaries of Etty Hillesum
1941-43. J. G. Gaarlandt, Trans.) New York: Pocket Books, Simon &
Schuster, Inc. (Original work published 1981).
Hollingworth, L. S. (1942). Children above 180 IQ Stanford-Binet.
Yonkers-on-Hudson: New York: World Book.
Janos, P. M., and Robinson, N. M. (1985). Psychological development in
intellectually gifted children. In F. D. Horowitz & O'Brian (Eds.),
The gifted and talented: Developmental perspectives (pp. 149-195).
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. Princeton, NJ: D.
Ruf, D. L. (1998). Environmental, familial, and personal factors that
affect the self-actualization of highly gifted adults: Case studies.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Silverman, L. K. (1990). Social and emotional development of the
gifted: The discoveries of Leta Hollingworth. Roeper Review, 12,
Silverman, L. K. (1993). (Ed.) Counseling
the Gifted and Talented. Denver, CO: Love Publishing Company.
Strauss, W. & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The history of
America's future, 1584 to 2069. New York: Quill/William Morrow.
Terman, L. M., and Oden, M. H. (1947). Genetic studies of genius Vol.
IV: The gifted child grows up. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Terman, L. M., and Oden, M. H. (1959). Genetic studies of genius Vol.
V: The gifted group at mid-life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University
~ ~ ~
© Deborah Ruf, 2000. All rights reserved.
(Published in Advanced Development Journal, Vol. 8, 1999)
Author: Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.
High Intelligence Specialist
Options to provide accurate information regarding intelligence,
what it is, where it comes from, and how our family, school,
relationship and workplace environments either nurture or stifle its
someone is highly intelligent – different from the majority in
thoughts, expression, and interest – the wrong environment can lead to
confusion, sadness, and underachievement. My continuing purpose is to
open the eyes and awareness of adults in ways that will benefit them
and the children under their care."
Deborah Ruf is also the founder of TalentIgniter, and is an
international authority in gifted assessment, test interpretation, and
guidance for the gifted. Having been a parent, teacher and
administrator in elementary through graduate education, she writes and
speaks about school issues and social and emotional adjustment of
co-author of the book Successfully
Parenting the Gifted Child and author of Losing
Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind.
Estimates of Levels of Gifted Online Assessment on her site.
here courtesy of the author.
Also see more articles
by Deborah L. Ruf.
Some related pages :
Ability - gifted/talented articles
/ sensitivity resources : articles sites books
~ ~ ~