Clinical Presentations and Diagnosis of Gifted Individuals
Joanna Haase, Ph.D., MFT
This session will focus on how the unique emotional and psychological issues common to
gifted individuals are frequently misunderstood, mis-diagnosed and ultimately mistreated.
Throughout this session, participants will understand the intersection of gifted “characteristics”
and psycho-pathology and how it affects both diagnosis and treatment strategies. Cultural
interpretation of gifted “characteristics” will also be discussed with special consideration given
to how those interpretations can be especially detrimental to English language learners (ELL)
and underserved populations.
Building on session 1, we will explore how Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration
along with an understanding of “super-stimulabilities” can be used to help conceptualize the
gifted experience, and how that experience can lead to existential depression, clinically
significant anxiety disorders, and/or eating disorders at very young age.
With a more comprehensive understanding of Dabrowski in mind, this session will then turn
its focus to helping the clinician understand the differences between what are often thought to
be over-excitabilities (super-stimulabilities) by those familiar with giftedness, actual
psychological disorders (i.e. ADHD and ODD) and symptoms and signs of twice exceptionality
(individuals who are both gifted and have a learning disability). We will also discuss how
sensory processing disorders, auditory processing disorders and visual processing disorders