gifted adults, gifted adult personality, psychology of giftedness, high ability, high aptitude, gifted and talented products, gifted and talented books, gifted books, scanner personality

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Counseling Issues with Recognized and Unrecognized Gifted Adults,

With Six Case Studies

by Mary Rocamora

ABSTRACT: This article describes the issues most frequently encountered in therapy with gifted and talented adults, particularly those in the performing arts. A distinction is drawn between those clients who knew they were gifted and those who at first did not.  

Issues and characteristic of both groups, are examined. Six representative clients contribute their personal retrospectives on the work that they did in therapy, which made greater self-actualization possible.

It is enormously valuable for therapists who work with gifted adults to stay abreast of developments in research, developmental theory, and therapeutic applications. "Advanced Development" has made a great deal of such material accessible so that we therapists can develop a broader understanding of what giftedness is and how we can best serve gifted clients. 

Specific to therapeutic considerations, in Volume 1, Dr. Kathleen D. Noble, in "Living Out the Promise of High Potential: Perceptions of 100 Gifted Women," provides many insights about gifted girls and women that would greatly enhance any therapist's efforts to help female clients attain their full potential. 

Also in Volume 1, Nancy Alvarado, in "Adjustment of Gifted Adults," shares her observations about the issues of gifted individuals from a counselor's perspective, and Dr. Kay Ogburn Colangelo describes a counseling application of the Theory of Positive Disintegration. In Volume 2, Dr. Deirdre V. Lovecky, in "Warts and Rainbows: Issues in the Psychotherapy of the Gifted," describes the traits of gifted individuals and suggests some helpful therapeutic approaches. 

In Volume 3, Barbara Kerr and Charles D. Claiborn, in "Counseling Talented Adults," offer insights helpful to those providing career counseling for talented adults, and Annemarie Roeper, in "Gifted Adults: Their Characteristics and Emotions," provides her own observations about gifted adults and their special needs. 

This article is based on my own experience over the last 13 years counseling multi-talented performers, writers, metaphysicians, and people who were clearly gifted in self-transformation. I have worked extensively with two types of gifted clients: those who knew they were gifted and were highly self-actualizing in their field, and those whose giftedness was unrecognized, masked, under-utilized, or thwarted in some way.

I have always had a screening process for clients. My selection process is geared so that I can pour myself into each client, working in-depth and providing a high level of care. Individuals who are excessively needy or dependent, rigidified in their belief systems, or resistant to connecting to their feelings are not appropriate for my work. 

They are generally referred to reputable therapists with whom they can work at a basic level. The ideal client for transformational therapy is one who has acquired a general understanding of his or her psychological issues from previous therapy. The work proceeds at a faster rate if the client has heroic personal courage and integrity, and is exceptionally focused and energetic. 

Clients who are perfectionistic about their personal development are more likely to hold an ideal vision to work toward and will present an exciting challenge for me.

The following descriptions represent some of my observations regarding the many gifted adults I have worked with over the years, and the stretching I have had to do to accommodate my vision of their needs. Six of my current clients have contributed their personal accounts to illustrate this article, describing the work we have done together. They are a representative sampling of many clients who have had similar issues.


Simply knowing one is gifted often opens a floodgate of energy. Clients who came to therapy with established gifted identities were characteristically passionate, intense, and unafraid to unleash the shadow side of their personality. [See Advanced Development Volume 2, p. 19, for a definition of "the shadow" in Jung's system.] They were solidly connected to their inner vision, and seemed able to pursue that vision despite self-doubt and self-criticism. 

They pursued their psychological development with the same perfectionism and perseverance that they invested in the development of their talents. They were constantly challenging me in their search for deeper understanding of themselves, of their areas of special ability, and of the world around them. They tended to be freely playful, original, and idiosyncratic, and were highly responsive to being presented with new developmental possibilities. Many of the multi-talented lead larger-than-life lives.


Self-identified gifted clients share many psychological issues with the general client population, from the typical unresolved childhood conflicts, to incest, abuse, addiction, and clinical depression. However, these gifted clients had other issues that were unique to them, related to their giftedness.

One of the true inner torments for self-actualizing gifted clients is the struggle to create in the face of creative blocks. These blocks can manifest in a number of forms. For example, I have a very gifted young client who is a veteran actress, dancer-choreographer, singer-songwriter, and artist. 

Her father is a well-known character actor and artist and her mother is an extremely successful agent for child actors. My client herself has been a working professional since childhood and writes about how misapplied perfectionism can cause a creative block:

"I come from an exceedingly gifted family. Each member is highly successful, intellectually, personally, professionally and especially creatively. Creative exploration was encouraged and rewarded in my family...[However], the older I got and the more proficient I became in the professional creative world of entertaining, the more my own parental eye became a judgmental eye. 

Less focus was directed toward the joy and experimentation of the creative process and more focus was placed on the outcome, the product. Because my early childhood environment was so stimulated with the creative process I could feel that something was becoming stagnant inside of me. By focusing on the 'goal' I was missing out on the journey. Without that journey there was no joy. And, without joy there was no motivation to continue my creative struggle. The process continued in spite of my result-oriented parental eye, but this kind of process was jolting, incohesive, and aggravating.

"Because I was raised in a hyperfunctional, perfectionistic environment I had to go beyond mere immersion in the creative process and determine personal boundaries for my creative critic. Otherwise, that critic was threatening to destroy all the magic inside of me, my instrument...Through my work with Mary I have been more successful in understanding, creating and enforcing those personal boundaries, boundaries that protect me from my own inner critic as well as other people who try to judge and interfere with my creative process and endeavors. I have learned that my gifts are my children and I must nurture and love them unconditionally."

Clients who are passionately engaged with their talent but are constantly separated from the creative experience by relentless self-criticism, self-doubt, and feelings of inferiority often suffer from another type of block. It is often accompanied by depression and the periodic shutting down of their spontaneous creative impulses. This a familiar issue and I see it most often in actors. Here therapeutic intervention helps the client to hear the critical voice loud and clear and feel the separation from self that it produces, so a technique can be devised to heal that separation once it is noticed.

Another block that I have frequently encountered results from repressive, regimented early educational environments. The client is left with an "internalized teacher" that demands forced learning. Clients find themselves joyless and slowed in learning new skills that would enrich their creative development, caused by massive resistance from the "inner child." This is intensely frustrating for people who are aware of and practice their giftedness. Therapy must be extended to relearning how to learn in a spirit of play, relaxation, and experimentation.

Clients who know they are gifted can also be fiercely protective of their vision. Therapy can help the client ascertain how to honor that vision and how and when to compromise with other creative contributors in collaborative endeavors. Some examples include developing a performance piece, writing a novel with input from the publisher's editor, and making a movie.

When gifted performers ascend to fame and on-the-street recognizability, they face increased levels of public exposure. They are often overwhelmed by public expectations, loss of privacy, and the fear of public humiliation if their imperfections are disclosed to the press. 

The therapist needs to help clients create a manageable lifestyle that is conducive to maintaining as much privacy as possible and to develop a personal stance regarding adverse publicity. Another common issue among the newly famous is that family members often begin to put pressure on them to provide undeserved career opportunities or supplement their incomes with the client's newfound wealth. 

Also, family members are likely to want to live vicariously through their celebrity child or sibling. In addition, when gifted performers get too rich, too famous, too fast, their lives are prone to spinning out of control and that, too, can become an important issue in therapy. Substance abuse, giving too much power to managers and agents, and buying a lifestyle too big for one's abilities to manage are problems that I frequently see.

Many gifted performers crave public recognition because it fuels their creative process. A major preoccupation of gifted performers is the struggle to find their way into the company of their peers so that their talents can flourish. Becoming famous and respected almost certainly brings opportunities to work with other gifted individuals.

Other gifted performers seek a wider public arena because they associate larger recognition with feeling more fulfilled. This drive is often misunderstood by this type of client and can be subverted by self-defeating psychological beliefs. 

A very talented client had attained enormous success as a working actress and doing voice-overs for commercials and cartoons. She also wrote and performed a cabaret act featuring songs and her own original jokes. She crashed into a wall of frustration and depression several years ago and sought to understand why she couldn't seem to break through into larger public recognition despite her driving hard work and the critical acclaim she received for her cabaret act. 

We discovered her belief that, "One strives and suffers, then someone will eventually give you your big break, and with that fame comes the promised joy." It became apparent to her that she was trapped in an obvious set-up for her creativity to be linked with struggle and disappointment.

The centerpiece of our work was to break down this belief and focus her creativity on a project that gave her joy throughout the process rather than expecting the joy to come in the form of a big career break. She had studied to be an opera singer as a young woman, and she absolutely loved singing technically challenging arias. 

To begin to express her talent with ongoing joy, she returned to study opera with her voice teachers, a couple who has an outstanding record of training great (and famous) voices. With much support and encouragement, her original nightclub act, which had always been her collection basket for disappointment, has been reborn as "Stand-Up Opera," a show she created for her own pleasure. 

The show presents a dazzling rendition of her favorite arias, interspersed with jokes about opera's many ridiculous plots and ill-fated heroines, and hilarious anecdotes about operatic performances gone awry. Not surprisingly, her newfound passion and enthusiasm shines through, and audiences and critics alike have reacted with wild enthusiasm. This is how she now relates to her talent as a result of her hard work in therapy:

"This voice, which I now recognize as a gift, is a strange, powerful, and ephemeral thing, thrilling and frightening at times. It's my first thought when I wake up in the morning. How will it act? Has it gone away?....My practice sessions have become vital to me. They are my therapy--they make me feel more like myself, a 'myself' that I hadn't been consistently plugged into since I was a small girl. 

"I had had glimpses over the years, fleeting, though. It's my barometer of joy and I don't need someone to listen to it to get the joy. When I do share it with others it's a totally different experience than I ever had performing my night club act, which was always such a letdown when no one did anything for me as a result. I've found just in my limited experience with the show over the past year that people respond to this sound energy in a completely visceral way. Now the focus in performing feels like it's off me personally and more on the mutual experience to be shared...I feel blessed to be a carrier."

After doing a play this summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival, she observes:

"Many actors are aware of this same joy in their work. They are flying (the good ones) on stage, linked with the rest of the ensemble and creating a circle of energy that encompasses the audience and draws them into the experience. You can feel it in the room. You're doing the feeling for them. Your job is to wake them up--to make them feel something."


Unlike the clients I've just discussed, gifted adults who are unrecognized as such initially need to accept the possibility that they might be gifted. I have found many of these clients resistant to having that label applied to them. 

Some have a stereotyped idea of what "gifted" means and find that description incompatible with their self-concept. For others, their resistance can be attributed to fear of failure to live up to the label. Those clients whose core identity is based in shame, or who polarize from anything that would tend to make them feel superior to others, also have a hard time being called gifted. Once it is explained that giftedness is not identified by high intelligence alone, that there is a personality profile attendant to giftedness, the resistance begins to yield and a new sense of identification emerges. 

Nancy Alvarado, in "Adjustment of Gifted Adults," mentioned earlier, (Advanced Development, Vol.1, p. 77) provides a well-developed overview of such currently accepted characteristics as divergent thinking ability, excitability, sensitivity, perceptivity, entelechy, perfectionism, and introversion.

It is helpful for unidentified gifted clients to spend some of their therapy dollar on understanding the reasons why their talents were not recognized or mirrored as children and what has stifled them from fully actualizing their gifts in adult life. In some instances the reasons are circumstantial, but where psychological factors are involved, it is crucial that these aspects are fully understood, so they can begin to reclaim their giftedness and find a channel for its development in the present.

For clients who were programmed to stay confined in conventional roles like "Dad," "Mom," "Dutiful Son or Daughter," and so forth, the authentic self is submerged and so is the potential for full development of their giftedness. Therapeutically, this type of unrecognized client needs a method and systematic support for sparking creative drives eclipsed by traditional role identification. A good example is provided by a client in his early fifties who had a career as a very successful laser engineer. 

He had actually run a company inside a large defense industrial firm. Early in our work, I kept hearing that he had an intense drive toward achieving enlightenment, and we began to explore and encourage that hidden passion.

After taking an early retirement, he read voraciously on the subject and settled into Krishnamurti's writings as the best approach for him. This man might be characterized as metaphysically gifted. He engineered a brilliant and original approach to his enlightenment that involved meticulous researching of his inner world. This system expanded to include his own method of clearing himself of ego projections and to better understand the nature of life. Therapy then became a forum for testing his ideas in the context of his personal work. This is the way he describes the reason he went unnoticed all his life and how he discovered his deeper identity:

"In my early childhood, I was not felt, sensed. Child rearing seemed to be based on turning me into a responsible adult, one who could function in the world, make a home, a career, have a 'good' life. Stamp, Stamp! Here comes another good citizen...This led to a dutiful, responsible life, which left me searching and empty.

"I really ached to feel the depth of what life is, what being human is. Because this path was not lived, I was always outside the day to day world, rarely befriended, never really connected to, never really felt."

I recognized his intense need for introspection and deeper understanding and he was able to shed an old identity that no longer served him. This is how he describes what unfolded from the weekly mirroring:

"I was felt for the first time, connected to at last!...I learned to track my inner self. By being felt, I learned to feel. By feeling, I learned to feel who I really was. It has been an incredible, fascinating journey...Life unfolding from the inside, my inside. 

"Simply because someone could go with me to the depth of my pain, my disconnectedness, so I could see my deepest fears and resistances and could begin to feel life...The key is not the missed path, the key is that I was felt, sensed, connected to at a very deep level. This level of connection allows the uniqueness of me to grow, to live. I was trapped in my mind, in my cognitive analytical mind, separated from feeling and from a connection with others and myself. That is no longer the case.

"How did I discover that I was interested in the fundamentals of what life is? As I look back, I can see the seed trying to grow, at age 14 in my search for the meaning of death, at age 18 when I decided to become an atheist instead of the safe agnosticism I was following. But all of this went underground until someone...could feel this deeper need in me."

"Now I work with people, to pass on this work, to be with them as they explore, enter their own fundamental fears, and underneath that barrier, find a life that simply lives through them. This work is done by feeling, sensing, and supporting those efforts by a dash of thinking."


Shame is the "leading cause of death" of the potential for actualizing giftedness. The systematic destruction of any child's self-esteem is devastating, but for the gifted it is particularly so. For most people that carry shame as a core issue, secondary defenses were constructed early on to protect them from the acute primal experience of a shaming event. 

Because of their heightened sensitivity, the gifted I've worked with tend to have had an extremely intense reaction to being shamed or humiliated in early childhood. For some clients, any attempt to achieve anything can trigger fear and deadness, a sense that any effort to be Somebody is simply a futile effort to avoid accepting that you are really Nothing. 

Others who are driven to achieve despite the shame are locked into terror that they will be humiliated when they are off guard and they will be defenseless against a reoccurrence of primal shame.

The drive to express their inner creativity is heightened in many gifted individuals, and when the drive to create meets the wall of shame, it implodes into numbness, rage, depression, and hopelessness. It also heightens the potential for substance abuse, or other self-destructive behavior, setting up the very exposed failure that triggers the shame.

A multi-potentialed client with a doctorate in linguistics describes our work to liberate a Dancer, a Teacher, and a Songwriter from her core shame this way:

"Years ago I found a metaphor for the way I felt in my life: I was bound by a strait jacket...I sensed creative energies inside, but couldn't seem to breathe life into them. I'd been raised by a mother with an insatiable need for center stage who had to break my spirit in order to keep me in the wings, and a father who played hit man under my mother's direction. I grew up believing I just didn't matter in the world.

"Mary was quick to identify the shame that bound me and the broken heart that ached inside. She let me know that the healing would require conscious, painful steps. Disclosing my shame to others when it came up was a double whammy of exposure. At first I wasn't even aware when a shaming event happened. I'd find myself shut down, feeling dead, and wonder why. It took a willingness to feel the shame for me to begin to notice it when it happened, and the added willingness to self-disclose it in order to begin to build the muscles that would prevent me from engulfment.

"Feeling the full force of my non-personhood, and the void that my life really was, and the enormity of the effort that was going to be involved to begin to move the shame--could have been overwhelming..."

As she began to experience some periods when the shame was not present, we began to open up her creativity. She says:

"I knew that at some special moments I felt alive, playful, and creative, whereas much of the time I felt more or less like a missing person. Mary had been asking me questions like, 'What would make your heart sing?' At first the answers felt as far away as distant stars...Recently I have found a wonderful freedom in dance. 

"I looked for teachers, but felt stifled by the imposition of structure, so I just kept playing around with what moved me in the privacy of my living room...When I dance, I seem to bypass shame. A whole healthy creative self comes out to play. A few months ago I left my job to start my own practice in work I call Awareness through Authentic Dance.

"The more I more I get to know this part of me, the more my creative juices seem to be flowing. Songs have started bubbling up and I'm studying harmony and singing to support and invite whatever wants to happen in this area. I've started sewing costumes to wear when I dance...Every now and then shame pops up and shuts me down, but every day as I work to enlarge my practice,...I'm pushing back the old boundaries of shame and enlarging the space I'm free to move in. The strait jacket just isn't relevant anymore."

A significant number of my unrecognized gifted clients had teachers and parents who treated precocity as a behavioral problem to be disciplined, controlled and reshaped toward "normalcy." This history leaves the client not only with the challenge of reclaiming his or her true gifted identity but of healing all the rage and pain of being, in effect, punished for being gifted. Also, when parents coerce unrecognized gifted children to live the life the parents have envisioned for them, the children are robbed of years of lost time in which they would otherwise have been developing their giftedness. They grow up conflicted, angry, and guilty, whether they attempt to live out their parents' expectations or whether they rebel.

The client that was punished and coerced toward normalcy needs support to embrace his giftedness and facilitation to heal all the wounds attendant to being abused for being gifted. The therapist must treasure the client's giftedness and encourage the client to do the same. Together, a hothouse environment is set up wherein the "inner child" can feel free to create, which is essential to the process of adult creativity. The client is also guided toward a level of authenticity that throws off ongoing parental and societal pressures.

A very talented new film and TV director writes about how he was abused for being artistically inclined, how self-destructive behavior ensued, and the events and process by which he was able to embrace his creativity:

"Are you kidding? Me gifted? No way! Not according to my family upbringing. I grew up in a creative wasteland, ruled over by the cultural SS. Any signs of creativity were interpreted as subversive. They were arrested and sentenced to the inner world on sight!...So, I went underground...Those people tried to break my spirit and mold me into the type of man they thought I should be. 

"They tried to make me NORMAL--just like them! I was treated as if I were a bad, inadequate, and unworthy child...I felt stupid, like I was a really bad person, unlovable, insecure, hysterical, sad, lonely, angry, and hostile...I was constantly in pain and I lived in darkness and fear...

"I remember going to my first film class where we watched movies and talked about them. The nickel dropped. That was it. I wanted to make movies...My father responded to all telling me that I had no right to be in the movie business and that I was crazy and a dreamer...I struggled to get jobs by day, and I did battle with Dad & Co. by night for the right to do what I wanted. 

"Somewhere during this period I met David, who became my friend, then my therapist, mentor, and father figure who encouraged me to express myself in some way. Elaine May and John Cassavetes both sensed that I possessed some talent and encouraged me to express it. I was too far gone to hear any of it, and even if I did I didn't believe it. I could do nothing about it."

After years of self-destructive behavior and substance abuse, he got clean and sober. It was two years before anyone would hire him again.

"I went back to work as an assistant editor and had to learn my craft from the beginning...As an editor I learned to work creatively. Finally I began to understand the creative process. I broke through."

His description of our work provides a sense of the process of reclaiming his true identity:

"For the past year and a half I have been working with Mary Rocamora. It seems as if we have been at it for a much longer period because what has transpired in that time is quite remarkable. The intensity of this work brought about such profound changes in me. I am not the same person.

"We dealt extensively with the ill effects of my upbringing, freeing me up from the duties, obligations, and guilt imposed on me by my family. We dealt with the rage, anger, sadness, and grief, and ultimately the letting go of the hope and the acceptance of how things were and how things are. I discovered and connected with my inner child, starting the process of reparenting this wonderfully gifted child. 

"I created a safe place for him filled with love and trust. The removal of these obstructions enabled me to really take off and pursue and realize my creative passions. I was able to experience the opening of my heart and in learning to follow (it), live and come from that place inside me that only feels."

"Imagine discovering, owning, and believing that you have some creative talent...Editing was fun for awhile but after seven years that world had become too small for this creative monster. I needed a bigger playground. Last November I got to direct my first show, an episode on "L. A. Law". It was good enough to get me a second show to direct. I'll succeed as a director. My creativity has survived, all of it. It has a larger life and is the strongest energy aside from love in this universe...Try and stop me now!"

Many of the gifted adults I have worked with came from privileged parents that were overpowering and autocratic, who utterly eclipsed their children's abundance of intellect and talent. Despite all the elite education and tutoring provided, children of these very wealthy families were regarded as parental property, who should not be allowed to compete with the parents or to be encouraged to have creative lives of their own. A creatively and intellectually gifted woman that put in five intensive years in therapy to reclaim her self, her giftedness as an actress, and to build an authentic life sums up the childhood experience reported by many such clients. She exemplifies how giftedness is frozen in the core identity of nonpersonhood, and the role that her wealthy background played:

"I was slotted into a very small dark corner labeled 'daughter.' Everything around me ran like a well-oiled machine: food, clothes, school, vacations, doctors...When my parents were both abroad, the house felt safer, but I only noticed that I felt this right before they were expected back, when that black scary doom started to permeate me again. It seemed as though the presumption was that I had everything; therefore how could I ask for anything? But I felt as though I had nothing but trepidation...I went invisible...and then invisible meant I would have no voice, no say, no impact, no choice.

"I learned to become me by discovering what my hidden, horrible beliefs actually were, by learning they were never authentically mine, by identifying the terrors that precluded me from knowing this, by starting to believe that I alone had the right to...decide who I am and what my place on this earth would be, by the outrage that propelled me to disentangle the heinous web of emotional misinformation that was crammed into my psyche and being when I was helpless, unprotected, and tiny.

"Privilege as it is commonly understood is a useless and very dangerous word. It is given a positive value judgment that by itself it does not possess. If it is incorporated into a loving, caring, nurturing, attentive scenario where it can enhance experience and further exploration of the self and the world, it is a divine gift, to be appreciated and treasured and to be very grateful for. 

"I doubt this is often the case. It is normally the antidote to valid authentic feeling. It is the catch-all answer to refute essential questions. It is the blanket label that invalidates one's most precious needs. It screams at you that you can never ever, no matter now hard you try, be good enough to warrant and pay back the immeasurable good fortune that has been heaped upon you.

"It is the sure-fire hell in which self doubt, guilt, and worthlessness breed malignantly and ferociously. It is brilliant because it wounds and if left alone kills the very belief systems the psyche needs to fight it off. It produces and encourages defenselessness, and from that terrible fearful place comes all sorts of aberrational feelings, thoughts, behavior patterns, and lifestyles. This is why 'privilege' is a very, very dangerous word. When not aligned to a positive scenario it is the final and totally eclipsing negation of the soul.

"There are times when I believe I can accomplish anything and everything I want to. This feeling is not a constant, I believe, because it is a relearned belief. It is structured around my own sometimes frail, sometimes unshakeable, belief in myself, a self that was for eons smothered and under constant attack."

There are many wealthy gifted individuals that are discriminated against in their area of creative expression precisely because of their wealth. Many of the gifted clients I've worked with have been denied opportunities to join their peers because they don't need the income, are seen as undeserving because it looks as if they haven't had to struggle, and are perceived as spoiled.


Our culture seems to transmit mixed messages to the gifted among us. While the public has been conditioned to have the highest expectations of a famous gifted individual, there is always the underlying media message that if a gifted person demonstrates anything either creatively or personally that is controversial, sensationalizable, or flawed, he or she risks public humiliation. 

In this atmosphere, the high profile gifted are only treasured as long as they appear to be perfect. Currently, the only saving grace for bad publicity is to find a way to turn bad press into public sympathy.

In regard to the unrecognized gifted, our society offers less and less educational opportunity where individuals could find mirroring for latent talents. It fails to provide any significant creative encouragement in the professional world, and few windows, besides specialized therapy, that would open up a highly creative life that was previously unlived. In our society, leading a life devoted to excellence is not particularly encouraged or rewarded, unless, of course, you are an Academy Award-winning movie star or one of the world's most beloved opera singers.

In any case, there are many gifted individuals among us who are not fulfilling their potential, in part, because there is no cultural invitation to do so. Also, there is no part of the American lifestyle that is tailor-made for the special needs gifted adults to discover and maximize their talents.

With this social backdrop, the therapist who works with the gifted needs to close this gap, with therapy providing an environment reserved for the most creative and visionary individuals among us. Each client must be encouraged to be the architect of a lifestyle that supports his or her particular creative needs. 

They need to feel that their creativity is precious and has the potential to make a contribution to the society at large. This is a critical therapeutic issue that must be addressed, whether it pertains to the already famous achiever or to the gifted individuals that are inching their way out of unrecognizability.


Therapists who seek to specialize in working with gifted adults must understand the interface between the psychological issues at hand and the issues pertaining to the client's giftedness. They must be fully knowledgeable about the workings of the creative process so as to liberate and activate it psychologically, and have a well-developed understanding about how to take clients with great ability into a level of professional achievement that will satisfy them. 

Therapists must also make up for the lack of societal support and help all gifted clients to be the architects of a lifestyle that supports the development of their giftedness.

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Mary Rocamora, M.A., is the founder and director of The Rocamora School. She has been a consultant in private practice in Los Angeles, California, for the past 14 years, specializing in working with gifted adults, many of whom are in the entertainment industry. She provides seminars and other presentations on advanced development.

> More articles by Mary Rocamora.

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originally published in Advanced Development Journal, Volume 4, January, 1992

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some related books:

Barbara Kerr.  Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness

Kathleen Noble , PhD.  Remarkable Women - Perspectives on Female Talent Development 

 [also see interview with Prof. Noble]

Sally Reis, PhD:  Work Left Undone: Choices and Compromises of Talented Women

Mary Rocamora.  The Personal Journey Workbook: A Guide to an Extraordinary Life 
"to show a way to get Awareness free of old, limiting patterns so that a fresh and expansive life can be lived... a carefully designed exploration of awareness and beliefs using accessible, non-dogmatic information and precisely crafted inductive exercises."

Linda Silverman  Counseling the Gifted and Talented

Marylou Kelly Streznewski. Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential

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Related pages:

High Ability

High Ability - gifted/talented articles

Giftedness books..

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The Renaissance Soul

Living With Intensity


What Is Intelligence

The Highly Sensitive Person

Gifted Grownups

The Gifted Adult

Your Own Worst Enemy

Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults
Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults