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Giftedness and Academic Underachievement
What lies beneath
By Andrew S. Mahoney, M.S., L.P.C.,
article presents an example within clinical counseling of a
highly gifted 19-year-old male student whose academic capabilities
fall in the 99.9th percentile. He entered therapy with a desire
to understand his presenting problem of academic decline over
the past several years of high school as well as to deal with
the impact of his decline, both on his emotional development
and his academic future. An analyzed tapescript is presented
in which the therapist leads him to recognize and confront his
defenses and discover the depth of his emotional distress regarding
his current life disposition.
The case presented in this
article is an analysis of the etiology
of underachievement as well as emotional struggle in a highly gifted
young adult male student. As will be seen, the tapescript provides
perspective on the complexity of the client's struggle with self,
emotion, achievement, identity and worth. The author hopes to highlight
some of the insights needed in counseling the highly gifted, which
include awareness of deep, underlying issues as well as the subtlety
with which such issues may present. This young man's dilemma,
although unique, is reflective of many highly gifted underachievers.
Comments regarding dynamics and issues are included. The client
is indicated by the letter "C," the therapist by the letter
"A." Some details of place and circumstance have been
changed to secure confidentiality.
As the session unfolds, this young
man's brilliance will become obvious. This client is able to
use his own verbal precocity to build a highly complex cognitive
defense posture. The defense protects his emotional world, his feelings
of powerlessness and his loneliness. At times, he demonstrates his
ability to use the right psychological verbiage to keep his therapist
at bay. His use of words and concepts is often quite appropriate
to his behavior and so may entice a therapist to avoid the real
emotional material. Clearly, the task for the therapist is to stay
highly aware of what may lie beneath of the client's acute verbal
ability or risk of being seduced by verbal pyrotechnics. This young
man is actually aware of his ability to ward people off with his
language wizardry, and this, toward the end of the session, becomes
an overt issue of the work.
The nature of the session transcribed
here is confrontive. It is important to know that the author had
built a level of rapport with his client for several months before
the challenge described occurred. When working with a highly verbal
gifted client like this, the therapist must do much foundational
work validating the existence of giftedness and exploring what it
means to accept one's identity as a gifted person. When people
feel validated concerning their giftedness, they are more open and
willing to explore the not-so-positive aspects of self. At this
point the therapist can begin to challenge defenses surrounding
deficits or vulnerable areas related to performance (Mahoney, 1997).
A gifted individual struggling with performance issues as a young
adult has a very well-constructed defense posture. It should not
be assaulted but worked with delicately and with respect for the
number of years that have gone into its construction For this particular
individual, facing deficits regarding his performance skills stands
to shake the very foundation of his identity as a gifted person.
This challenge to his defenses also opens him up to an emotional
sense of self that he has yet to explore.
C: I've been applying
to colleges. My top choices right now would be Stanford, which would
be really cool, or Georgia Tech, which would be okay. I'm not
sure I could get into Stanford because my grades aren't all
that great, and I'm not sure if a school like Stanford would
be willing to take a chance.
A: I'm not sure I understand
just what you are struggling with. About what are you "not
C: My grades are not all that
good, and I'm afraid Stanford wouldn't be willing to take
the chance that I would do better at college than I did in high
A: So you're afraid
C: I'm afraid of being
A: You're afraid of
being rejected because of your grade performance?
C: Right. What's that look
A: The idea of going to
Stanford challenges something about your performance. It sounds
like it would require something different from you than if you went
to Georgia Tech.
C: The point is, it's pretty
much too late now. By the time I apply to Stanford, my second quarter
grades won't be in, so my first quarter grades will significantly
impact my chances.
Here we begin to see an uncovering
of two crucial underlying issues for this highly gifted young
man. First, his sense of worth: "Do I deserve to have my
need for challenge met?" Second, his struggle with academic performance.
A: I feel you're sidetracking
on the rejection issue.
C: I am talking about what
is for me a very intellectual, straightforward subject: choosing
a college. You're trying to operate on an emotional level, and
we're going right by each other.
The client is able to carefully outline
our process and identify his intellectualization. He is now beginning
to make clarifications for himself about when he is or is not,
operating on an emotional versus cognitive level. By doing this
kind of analysis, he may be trying to deflect the therapist from
contending with the emotional issues underlying his problem of
C: I'm not talking
about how I'm feeling. I'm talking, this-is-the-way-it-is
kind of thing. I'm not talking about how I feel.
A: Yes; how come?
C: I guess I haven't thought
Here he says he hasn't "thought
about it," yet in his last comment he referred to his college
decision process as having been "intellectual" and "straightforward."
C: I have been worried
about it: Am I going to get in; and am I not going to get in? Why
would I get in? Why wouldn't I get in?
This circular intellectual obsessing
over whether he can "get in" is a symptom of how stuck
he is with the surface presenting nature of a deeper issue with
which he struggles.
A: So tell me why you wouldn't
C: Because my grades aren't
A: And the notion of going
to Stanford and challenging yourself to get in forces you to deal
with what -- regarding your performance?
C: But I can't change it.
A: What is "it"?
C: I can't change my first
At this point, the client is beginning
to appear uncomfortable with the fact that I am holding him to
discuss feelings about his performance, and how those feelings
are related to his college choice, perhaps even to deeper issues.
A: What can't you change
about your performance?
C: There isn't anything
I can't change about my performance.
A: Okay, let's say that
is the hopeful side. Talk about the reality of your struggle. What
I'm hearing is, "If I go to Georgia Tech, I won't have
the same challenge that I would have at Stanford."
C: No, that's not it. It's
in trying to get into Georgia Tech that I don't have the same
challenge as I do in trying to get into Stanford.
By keeping his focus on the idea of
getting into college, the client doesn't have to face the
deeper issues related to his underachievement and insecurity.
His defenses arise here because there is a whole struggle lying
beneath this presenting issue.
C: There is nothing
I can do about what prevents me from getting into Stanford, because
my first quarter grades can't be changed.
A: You're pretty convincing.
If I didn't know you well, you would have me completely snowed
C: I'm not trying to snow
you. We're talking about something that is straightforward.
This is what my counselors have said, this is what my Mom has said,
this is what I have seen looking at colleges: My first quarter grades
are what count.
A: Pulling out the troops,
are you? How many troops have you got, anyway?
Here the client chuckles, demonstrating
that on some level he realizes that he is being defensive and
has gotten caught trying to conceal the deeper issue of his performance.
He has built his defense to an elaborate level, yet, as his therapist
paces along with him, he slowly runs out of steam.
A: The more troops you pull
out, the more I'm going to charge.
C: What do you want me to do
A: I want you to talk about
your apprehension and the struggle that has brought you to this
point. You're not really challenging yourself around this issue
C: That's because I don't
feel there is anything I can change.
A: So you feel powerless?
C: I feel very powerless in
that situation. I feel all I can do is write down whatever info
they want on their little essay and send it in, and have my counselor
write me a recommendation letter.
A: And what is this making
This is the turning point in the session.
The client is now faced with his insecurities and inadequacies,
as well as his unmet needs as a highly gifted individual. The
discussion now drops to a deeper level than his defended space
of getting into school. He must now face his own complexity and
come to terms with how his ability has been met and challenged
over his life. The struggle is really about both sides of the
coin: his assets and his deficits. Many gifted people have never
examined their deficits or areas in need of development. Either
their facades are not seen and pierced, or their exceptional abilities
mask their deficits, or they have never encountered a challenge
that pushed beyond the facades and compensatory behaviors.
C: I am not perfect.
There are people who can do things I cannot.
At this point, his ego has become quite
fragile. His affect is noticeably different; he sounds humbled
and saddened. This is not an issue he has ever discussed openly.
A: So at some level, this
matter is challenging you to look at your imperfections and your
A: And, it is challenging
you to look at competition and your area of expertise, your area
C: Ah! There I must
disagree. My area of expertise has nothing to do with grades.
The client has brought back his defense
by returning to the issue of grades. The previous statement felt
wounding to him, since it reflected too accurately his area of
insecurity about competing to enter a high-ranking college.
A: We are not talking about
grades; we are talking about worth issues, deficits, and about taking
yourself to a level of challenge that keeps you growing, learning,
C: I missed most of that, Andy.
How are we discussing worth issues and deficits? I understand that
in order to deal with the fact that I may not get into Stanford
I have to deal with my weaknesses and imperfections, but ...
A: "But." Being the
linguist that you are, what does it mean when a person puts a "but"
at the end of a statement?
C: (Chuckles.) It negates everything
said before that "but."
The client has here negated what he
actually doesn't understand: that he has to deal with his weaknesses
C: I keep thinking about grades
because that's the only thing that would be keeping me from getting
The issue of grades has become crystallized
in the client's defense posture. He has used his defense of
grades for so long that he is convinced there is no other rationale
or contributor to his struggles. So he resorts back to them as
a marker, as the controller of his fate. This is probably due
to a long history of expectations with reinforcement being placed
on him to perform. Grades are not the real issue. The client relies
on or brings up grades as a safe place to rationalize and thereby
deflect a host of issues relating to his giftedness: feelings
of inadequacy, shame over his competency, experiences from his
past that have led him to his current presenting dilemma. The
therapist's responsibility now is to help the client move
through his defenses and begin to understand himself more accurately
and realistically as a highly gifted individual with real academic
weaknesses and feelings of vulnerability about himself. To that
end, he needs assistance to (a) gain more control over his destiny,
and (b) disengage from his familiar patterns of defense that hold
him back. Clearly he will not easily let go of his focus on grades.
Yet, it is crucial that he begin to see what is involved here.
This is the first authentic and safe discussion he has ever had
wherein he was faced with his giftedness in terms of needing to
develop, needing to be challenged, or in needing help. His needs
become evident through his manifestation of helplessness/powerlessness
about not being able to go to the college of his choice due to
C: I know my SAT scores
are high enough, and my recommendations are going to be great.
Unfortunately for many of this type
of gifted individuals, the high SAT scores are almost a disservice.
The client can use them as leverage for his defense posture and
again rationalize that he will do just fine.
A: What do grades represent?
C: For me, grades represent
Although the client has become fixated
around grade performance as a marker of his worth, at a deeper
level, this statement is actually true for him.
A: Now let's talk about
the statement you just made in terms of your defenses.
C: It could be that I believe
grades represent nothing because I don't get good grades. I
don't want to believe they represent anything because if they
represent something, it means I have a weakness. Actually, they
do represent something: an ability to work with the system.
A: That is one perspective.
C: They represent a combination
of being intelligent and working with the system. If you can do
both, you will make all A's.
A: Aren't you sacrificing
something in yourself in all of this? Your challenge to authority,
i.e., the system, is compromising your opportunity to be who you
are, to develop yourself in a whole way.
C: It's not a matter of
challenging authority, or the system. It's that I don't
like to do the things the system asks me to do. I don't understand
those things, and no one will explain them to me.
This is a common experience for gifted
individuals. As they are growing up, their giftedness often masks
their need for early help in understanding the system, and learning
to differentiate themselves from the system and its expectations.
Many times the gifted are given explanations but often those explanations
make no sense to them and do not take into account that the need
for explanation may be the gifted individual's way of noting
a weakness in his or her ability. There is also another possibility
that the challenge to the system or authority may be a moral issue
for the gifted individual in need of clarification.
A: Maybe that's part
of the problem: nobody ever explained the system to you, nor supported
you in terms of your struggle with the system.
C: Even those times when people
explained things to me, I wanted to say, "It doesn't work
that way for me. I don't do things that way."
A: That's a really well-defended
C: It's not like I haven't
tried things their way! It just doesn't work; I don't learn
in their way!
A: I'm obviously touching
some nerve here, because you've gotten your dander up.
C: I don't like being unable
to work with the system.
A: I wonder if you could
talk about what it is like for you to know that you may not get
into Stanford because of your grades.
C: Well, I haven't thought
In truth, he has thought about it;
he just hasn't felt about it. In other words, this individual
has no problem stating that he may not get into Stanford because
of his grades. What he does have a problem with is the awareness
of his feelings about not getting into a school that represents
what he believes matches his true ability. He is also faced with
a larger system here that involves more than he anticipated. In
the past he would be able to manipulate his environment to avoid
his feelings of inadequacy and his deficit areas. Now he no longer
can do that same behavior of denial. The grades will matter now,
particularly if he wants to get into Stanford.
C: I defend against
it by saying, "No matter what, I'll get into Georgia Tech, so ..."
A: And who are you fooling?
C: Me. I realize that; I know
that, but ...
A: But what?
C: Knowing doesn't stop
A: So why don't you
talk about what it really means to you, this notion of possibly
not getting into Stanford, because of your grades?
C: Well, it tells me that I
am wrong in one aspect: my entire philosophy about school, grades
and the system. My philosophy has always been that grades do not
The client has convinced himself of the truth
of the statement "that grades do no matter" over many years. This
is a common defense for the highly gifted who have felt unchallenged,
unsupported, or who struggle with performance skill problems.
This defense "that grades do not matter" should never be taken
lightly. When heard from the gifted, it is an indication of some
serious issues such as possible learning disabilities, performance
skill weaknesses, or underlying emotional concerns.
C: It turns out in the
real world, they matter. Grades make a difference no matter what
I like to think, and knowing that makes me feel powerless. It makes
me feel helpless to realize there is noting I can do about it, and
still, there is nothing I can do to change it.
While his hopelessness is very ingrained, it
is at the crux of what his therapy has to address for him.
A: What is "it"?
C: The way I do things; my
system; my learning model; the way I assimilate information; the
way I interpret info, analyze it and spit it back out. With some
teachers it doesn't work.
A: So therefore, "I
C: I don't know.
There is a sad affect to his tone.
A: I think this is where
your struggle lies. I also think it is the cause of your struggle
with being able to have all the opportunity you are capable of having.
C: From six through eighth
grade, I felt like a square peg in a round hole.
A: There's something
about the way you say that, it's almost like you've become
C: I'm not a victim. Well,
I am a victim, but I'm a victim of myself.
A: I think that's precisely
what we are touching here. I'm wondering how you can address
By reflecting that he is the victim
to himself, his therapist is helping this client to see that he
has power in this dynamic and can effect change.
C: I think I am a victim
of my own need to be helpless. Looking back, I definitely have a
need to be somewhat helpless. My need to not have power over myself
gives me an escape. It gives me a way out, a way not to have to
admit my flaws and weaknesses. If I am powerless over myself, then
if I have weaknesses, it's not my fault. There is nothing I
can do about it. If I came home every day and studied for an hour
and a half, or even half an hour, I could make A's and B's.
I know that; but my way out is "Well, I couldn't make myself
Here the client first talks as though
it would be easy for him to change. Then, he actually admits it
would be harder than he at first claims. Forcing himself to sit
down and do the required work is much more complex than it seems
at first glance. His whole sense of himself as a being is at stake.
His associations with actually doing the work are intertwined
with a very sell-developed defense system designed to protect
himself, emotionally, from a lack of self-worth. If he actually
began to force himself to study daily, some of this deficits would
begin to emerge.
Changing patterns of denial and performance
avoidance is a very complex matter, one involving much more work
than can be demonstrated in a single therapy session. It may even
require the acquisition of additional help, such as an educational
specialist. What is crucial at this stage of the change process,
however, is the therapist's ability to raise the client's
awareness of the problem and to help him acknowledge it so that
changes can be tolerated as the defense mechanism is being dismantled.
A: Perhaps you can't
make yourself study daily as yet. So, you come up with this complex
rationalization and use all of your verbal and intellectual abilities
to justify your position. In that way, you never have to face your
dilemma, the hard work. Because you're bright enough, you just
C: It's not as though I
don't do hard intellectual work. I just don't do the hard
intellectual work they ask me to do.
A: I know. There's a
part of you that says, "As long as everything is on my terms
in life, I'll perform. As long as I'm not challenged in
a way that makes me uncomfortable, I'll do the work."
C: If I'm comfortable,
then everything is okay; I can do the work.
A: And what's the reality?
C: The reality is, the situation
will never be under my control.
A: Right. The illusion you
present is that you have the control and you're not going to
be controlled by anyone else.
C: While it feels like I can't
control myself ... Andy, the problem with these delusions and facades
I set up is that I am smart enough to figure them out; I'm smart
enough to know what is going on, and smart enough to know I can
sit down and study. I'm smart enough to know that I'm lying
to myself when I say I don't have the power to make myself study.
But you're right; it would be very difficult for me to sit down
and do things on somebody else's terms.
A: You see it as somebody else's
terms, and I think that is your way of justifying not facing your
C: But, why isn't it "someone
else's terms"? I mean, when someone tells me to go home and
practice something that I have known for three years, that's
the kind of thing I hate.
A: I'm not discounting
that; it's probably true. I wonder how often, though, you would
surround yourself with people, mentors or teachers who would challenge
you to go home and practice something you don't know.
C: All my good teachers do.
All the teachers that I like do that, and I learn from them.
A: So you know that you
can be successful. Knowing that about yourself, and knowing that
you possibly won't get into Stanford creates a struggle for
you. If you don't look at the dilemma and really explore what
it is about, where will that leave you?
C: I could follow that same
path all my life. Because of my rationalization of the whole matter,
I may not look into the matter, and then things will not change.
There will always be similar situations, and I will have to either
deal with my rationalization or not live my life.
A: Where does that leave
you emotionally, right now?
C: Kind of locked up; stuck.
A: Can you give me a sense
of what it's like to be "locked up, stuck"?
C: If I were going to make
a word for it, "emotostasis."
A: My sense is that you
are locked up and I can't get in; I don't have the key.
This statement is put forth to reflect
how alone he feels; so locked in alone that not even his therapist
can get in.
C: I'm worried.
I'm struggling with the idea. I have always been able to pass
any test with high grades. Any kind of intellectual test I can always
pass. Since I'm always over the threshold, that conflicts with
the idea that I might not get into Stanford. Getting into Stanford
is definitely a test, and even though I'm in the 99.9th percentile,
I may not get into Stanford.
A: Therefore, you might
C: Well, I would be failing.
A: So to avoid the failure?
C: I try to avoid applying
A: And the price you pay?
C: Not getting in, which I
could possibly do.
A: You might not get in. By avoiding
taking on the challenge, you don't have to face being imperfect.
A: You can stay perfect
Or so his delusion would have him believe.
C: I don't have
to screw up.
A: No. You don't have
to make a mistake, a failure, or anything.
C: Maybe that's another
reason for constant emotostasis: "I'm intellectual, man;
I have no emotion." That could be a result of my constant failures
in the area of emotions, and my constant successes in the area of
intellectual achievement. Both could result because of my fear of
being imperfect. All I have to do is not have any emotional experiences.
Then, I can't fail! That's pretty scary.
C: Uh-huh; scary that I have
the ability to avoid any sense of failure or emotion, and scary
that some part of me considers it healthy.
A: You're not giving
me a sense of "scary." I hear the word, but I don't understand
how you're scared.
C: It's a struggle for
me to keep from blocking the emotion; it would be easier to just
go back into my head.
The client is now using the word "emotion,"
which is quite a shift from the beginning of the session.
C: When I tell you I
feel a certain way, you hear the word and you may get a sense of
it right then. But as I start to explain it, you lose it completely.
That's because as soon as I start trying to explain it, I lose
it too. Then ...
A: Just stay with the fear.
Here the client utters a long sigh.
A: Stay with the fear; don't
fight it. Say whatever comes to you.
C: It scares me that I have,
for so long a time, been allowing myself to avoid a part of me that
should be important to me.
A: That part is?
C: Emotional contact with other
people; I mean, deep emotional contact, being close to other people.
A: Is this in any way connected
to the failure issue? If I fail, am I more apt to be in touch with
my emotional self? Help me understand how they relate.
C: Are you asking for something
different than I said before?
A: Both are symbolic of
It must be remembered that he does,
in fact, know academic failure. However, he is not acknowledging
it at this point.
C: Well, I don't
really know intellectual failure. But I think emotional failure,
failure in relationships, failure in dealing properly with other
people, or in dealing with other people at all has allowed me to
set up this defense mechanism of avoidance -- not really "allowed"
me, almost forced me, because I'm so scared of failure.
The client is beginning to link his
emotional struggle with his "dealing properly" with people,
his performance, and his ability to deal with his imperfections.
A: What is the price you
pay, the consequence?
C: If you don't try because
you think you'll fail, then you can't succeed either. If
you avoid emotional relationships and emotional contact, you don't
have a chance to be successful at that. You continue to fail over
and over again. I continue to fail over and over again.
A: Failure is not just an
emotional or relational issue for you. It also involves your academic
ability. For you, the two are linked together. It seems easier for
you to talk about your failure emotionally than it is to talk about
your failure in an academic sense, although both are legitimate.
It has become clear to the therapist
at this point that there is a crucial ink between this client's
emotional struggle with relationships and his failure academically.
C: I am much more scared
of my failure in an academic sense. I've never been punished
or berated for my failure emotionally by anyone but me.
The dynamic at play here is both overt
and covert. He is berated if he fails academically, but his emotional
failures are either ignored or not even recognized. Thus, there
is actually no accountability in place for his emotional performance,
just his academic performance. The effects of this for gifted
individuals are a poor self-concept and low self-esteem in both
the intellectual and emotional realm. This also leaves the individual
with very little incentive and support to achieve both intrinsically
C: I punish myself for
my failures, emotionally: I feel bad, or I feel guilty. But in my
intellectual failures my family goes to work on me because so much
is expected of me. So when I fail, "Oh, God!" (My mom has been
doing that to me because I didn't get such great grades last
A: It seems you kind of have the
two elements, emotional and intellectual, fused together.
C: Is the solution for me to
get better grades or to learn to accept my failures? Do I learn
to accept the fact that I'm not always going to get good grades,
or is it both?
A: The question is, "If
it's both, where does that take you?"
C: That leads me to a conflict.
A: What is the conflict?
C: If I learn to accept my
failures, chances are I am going to become complacent in them. If
I get good grades, why should I worry about failing?
At this point, the client's anxiety
level has risen significantly. This is quite likely due to the
overlap of his heightened awareness of his issues around academic
performance, his feelings of failure and inadequacy, and the conflict
of changing this complex struggle he now faces with his performance
and his emotional self.
A: I think you went to extremes
on both sides of the coin.
A: I think what you are
talking about is primary to your core. My sense is that considering
all this has raised your anxiety level significantly.
C: Probably. Is that little
stress release toy still in your office?
A: What are you getting
out of all this?
C: I sense that there are a
number of things I need to think about. I need to set aside some
time, which I don't usually do, sit down and think about myself;
think about the issues I have to deal with, and try to puzzle them
out. I need to think. I really ought to do that more often, so when
I come here, I can make more productive use of our time.
A: There is a part of you
that likes to do the same thing with me that you do with certain
teachers, or certain situations. You put up a pretty good dance
and have a way to sidestep (avoid, that is) the heat.
C: I don't want to do that;
A: I think it's a challenge
for you to come here and deal with therapy as something of your
own choice, not something that you are made to do.
C: If I go home, set aside
some time, sit down with a piece of paper and figure out how I feel
about my life, peel away some layers, look at what emerges and write
down what I'm thinking and feeling, then when I come in here,
I've got it on a piece of paper. I can't avoid the issues
that I've come in with.
In this session, it has become apparent
there is a crucial link between the emotional struggle this young
man has with others and his struggle with academic achievement.
While on the surface, this might not have been apparent at all,
the client's ability to confront himself in the therapeutic
process allowed him to move beyond his defenses and touch his helplessness
and fear of failure. He came to see the enormous price he is paying
for this elaborate defense posture when he was faced with deeper
reasons than he anticipated concerning getting into the school of
his first choice.
As a gifted person, this young man
has had a long history of defending his deficits and vulnerability.
His pattern of defending himself against having to face emotional
vulnerability and his academic weaknesses has cost him both his
esteem and the enjoyment of closeness with others. He came to recognize
that significant expectations were held forth for him in the academic
area, but not in the emotional realm. Nor did he have these expectations
of himself. This imbalance may well be at the root of both his lack
of concern for the academic challenge, as well as the lack of matched
challenge in his life.
Lacking focus on his emotional development,
he would likely be severely hampered in sustaining the pressure
of being highly gifted. His previous coping strategy has lain in
the erection of his defense structures. By being aided to dismantle
his defenses and learning new strategies, this client may well now
move through the issues that block both his emotional and academic
This analysis of a counseling session
has provided a concrete example of how a complex and critical relationship
exists between gifted individuals' emotional domain and their
performance in the world. It is crucial that client and therapist
jointly endeavor to explore deeply the defenses of such individuals,
which can be both subtle and complicated. In this way it its possible
to attain an empowering understanding of the emotional challenges
that can lie beneath such presenting problems as underachievement.
- Mahoney, A.S. (1998). "In search of the
gifted identity: From abstract concept to workable counseling
constructs." Roeper Review, 20, Pages 222-226
This article first appeared in Advanced
Development Journal, Vol. 8, January 1999. Used with permission.
Andrew S. Mahoney, MS, L.P.C., L.M.F.T., is
director of The Counseling Practice of Andrew S. Mahoney , a counseling
center for the gifted and talented. In addition, he is past chair
of the Counseling and Guidance Division of the National Association
of Gifted Children, and a trainer and supervisor of counselors.
For 20 plus years, Mr. Mahoney has explored and developed frameworks
for the counseling and psychotherapy of Gifted and Talented individuals.
His work offers a new and original perspective for those interested
in better serving this unique population. He is also a professional
pastel artist. To view his online web porfolio, click
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