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Presentation Abstracts

The Tale of the Worry Monster and the Twelve Dilemmas

 This presentation will address the twelve primary causes of anxiety in gifted individuals, connecting each to a correlating overexcitability, and offering ideas and skills to support those struggling with them.

I Am Because We Are:  Cultivating Personal and Social Competency

The development of personal competencies such as self-awareness, self-efficacy, confidence, and resilience in gifted youth is complicated by their social competencies, often compromised by both internal and external asynchrony.  Given their sensitivity, many are able to identify at an early age the value placed on conformity within their peer groups, leading them to subdue or even hide elements of themselves which they believe to be socially undesirable.  This presents a significant barrier to authentic identity formation and positive social connections.  This workshop will explore how to support youth in developing and strengthening these affective competencies and why this is essential.


Take Hold of Your Mind:  Strategies for effective distress tolerance

At the root of many of the emotional struggles of our gifted youth is a lack of effective distress tolerance skills.  The rapid onset of technological growth over the last ten years has led to an increasing need for external input and validation.  This has had a direct impact on our ability to self-soothe and to understand how to balance our nervous systems.  Because of their inherent sensitivity and intensity, gifted individuals are especially susceptible to the emotional impact of stress and other difficult emotions.  This workshop will offer participants experiential strategies and techniques to effectively address these challenges.


Who Am I and Why Does it Matter?:  The Existential Dilemma

So often, we hear gifted youth of all ages, lamenting the fact that no one “gets” them…sharing their frustration with peers who do not seem concerned at all with the questions that plague them, confused by their peers’ preoccupation with what they perceive to be meaningless things.  The isolation that so often results from these feelings can not only lead to periods of depression, but can also prevent youth from fully engaging in their lives due to the fears and doubts they carry.  This presentation and discussion will focus on how we can support our youth in their quest for answers, helping them learn how to cope with the questions, and manage the discomfort of the unknown.


Giftedness and Stress: Understanding What is Causing Stress in our Gifted Youth and How to Help Them Cope

Gifted individuals possess a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, to events, to ideas, and to expectations. They tend to be more intense, more introspective, and more emotional.  Gifted youth are often expected to know it all and be it all. Maureen Neihart’s research on risk and resilience in gifted children shows that gifted kids have many inherent qualities that may contribute to their resilience, However, they need parents and educators to help them understand their experience and to educate them about stress management skills.  Handling stress is a learned skill that needs to be taught and modeled.  This workshop will assist participants in developing the confidence and skills to actively teach our gifted youth how to think about and live with stress in a way that is manageable through a helpful combination of coping strategies and life skills.

Please contact me directly for pricing and availability.

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A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships: 

Building Resiliency and Creativity

We are not born with an inherent understanding of how to manage stress. This is something we learn from watching those around us manage their own stress and through this observation, develop our own tendencies. These tendencies are patterned responses to stress and anxiety and are far more changeable than we often realize. Stress management and distress tolerance are challenging for many of us, not just for young people. In this presentation, we will discuss how stress affects our brains and bodies and how to begin speaking more openly about these challenges in a way that will create space for young people to feel safe joining in that conversation. We will also talk about effective strategies to downshift our nervous systems and to manage stress and anxiety through engagement, rather than distraction, as well as the difference between settling down and settling in.

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