THERAPY AND COUNSELING CONCEPT
This concept is derived from my experience in my practice.
I’d be glad to receive your experiences and ideas as well.
Goals of coaching and therapy of gifted people are:
1) Developing an understanding of one’s giftedness
2) Minimizing stress and difficulties
3) Unlocking and developing potential
The overall objective is to integrate giftedness into the person’s identity.
In order to develop an understanding of phenomena associated with giftedness, we look at those phenomena in the context of the client’s personality, life story and life changes and reflect upon the respective reactions in the client’s environment. Pay attention and differentiate which phenomena may have other reasons or are not specifically related to giftedness. It is important for the gifted individual to recognize and gage their abilities and difficulties realistically.
You need to find general as well as precise solutions for intra-individual and inter-individual challenges and confrontations within the system (e.g. at school/ work etc.).
Reflect upon the gifted person’s needs and goals and work out possibilities of implementation.
Implementation is what contributes to the overall therapy goal: to positively integrate giftedness into the person’s identity.
Creating and Establishing Rapport:
With respect to creating rapport I recommend:
- Address the inner experience and difficulties of the gifted person
- Express that you believe the person’s descriptions of their cognitive capacities and respective experiences, even if they are unusual
- Appreciate these special abilities
This will establish trust and open a space for the issues of giftedness
You also need to pay attention to and emphasize that
- giftedness and associated phenomena are not a disorder, but a resource.
- most difficulties come from the environment’s reactions to a deviation from the norm (and are not because of the person themselves)
- you give constructive and solution-oriented feedback, for example if you didn’t understand something or if the gifted person triggers negative emotions. (You may have to differentiate what part of this is due to giftedness and what comes from the person themselves.)
I am often asked whether a coach or therapist who works with gifted people needs to be gifted themselves. The answer is that either has got advantages and disadvantages:
With a gifted counselor, a gifted client can develop and express their thoughts uninhibitedly and the counselor will be able to follow and relate to the client better. The disadvantage, however, is that the counselor may have the same blind spots as the client.
A normally gifted counselor will provide their gifted client with very good learning opportunities in terms of social skills and empathy for normally gifted people through providing feedback on the client’s impression on him.
The most important factors in therapy, however, are:
- a good rapport
- self-reflection of the therapist
Therapy Structure and Therapeutic Strategies:
Here is what I find effective:
- give realistic feedback and help estimate abilities
- create realistic correlations between the client’s experience and symptoms
- increase compliance by providing reasons and background knowledge
- appreciate and use the gifted client’s competency:
- provide space for the development of their own ideas
- ask what happened in between sessions
- meet the client’s need for autonomy and play with the visual-perceptive style
- let the client decide on the topic of the session, or involve them in the decision-making process
- in general, leave the structure of the sessions very lose (exception: if the client needs to learn structuring)
- work transparently (gifted people are fast at recognizing patterns and manipulation)
- a lot of input, few repetitions
- encourage the contact to other gifted people, for example through clubs, associations and networks
- carefully consider the involvement of the client’s environment (e.g. teachers, colleagues), especially because of potential prejudice and stigmatization
- Pay attention that the gifted person doesn’t use their intellect and eloquence for avoidance. In this case, I recommend methods focusing on emotions.
- use methods that can both integrate and display a high level of complexity
- Make use of hypnotherapeutic methods: They are often very successful with gifted people, because of their capacity for imagination as well as their associative way of thinking.
- When you are working with highly sensitive people and intense emotionality, use methods that support active relaxation of the nervous system.
- Analysis and regulation scheme from the Emotional Competency Training by Berking
- Hypnotherapeutic and imaginative methods, e.g.:
- “Punkt Punkt Komma Strich” by Manfred Prior (visual thinking method – for the moment only available in German)
- Parts Work
- Inner Team
- Impact Techniques
- “House of Knowledge” (method to improve inner structuring and learning competencies by Sabine Fruth)
- “I can do it” (solution-oriented learn- and work program for children and teenagers by Ben Fuhrmann)
- PEP by Michael Bohne
Here you can find a detailed article on the topic:
Können macht Spaß! Ein Therapie- und Beratungskonzept für Hoch- und Höchstbegabte
First publication in: Fachzeitschrift Psychologie in Österreich, Volume 41, Juni 2021, S. 124-133
Article as PDF for download.
This is where therapists and coaches find more information and seminars on the respective methods (predominantly German):
Training of Emotional Competencies:
This is where German clients find free information and a list of trainers:
www.tekonline.info (There is a free participant handbook under the icon Downloads)
www.hypnose.de (Information on several credible German hypnosis institutes)
© Frauke Niehues