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An introduction: As my work with gifted and talented people began to reveal patterns of identity struggle and conflicts, I sought a way to organize our inquiry into what they thought and how they felt about their giftedness.

I observed 12 discrete systems that inform the identity structure of every gifted person -- everything from what they tell themselves to what they're told by their families, friends, educators and so on. I then applied four constructs that I view as the underpinnings or processes involved with the formation of identity to each of the systems.

The result was a grid of systems and constructs, a structure that inspires client participation as much as it parses their responses. During an interview about their giftedness, I identify the quality of each construct for each system in the client's life. At the end of the interview, I have completed the grid, and the client and I begin work on designing the appropriate interventions.

There is nothing like the Gifted Identity Formation Model. There are no other frameworks available to counselors that account for the variances they encounter when counseling the gifted.

I first published a description of the Gifted Identity Formation Model and its application in the article "In Search of the Gifted Identity," which appeared in the February 1998 "Roeper Review" (vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 222-26).

Click here to read the Roeper Review article online.
Click here to download the article in Adobe Acrobat, a file you can print on letter-size paper.
(The Acrobat Reader software is available for free from the Adobe company web site. Download it here. )
Click here to quickly view the grid in a pop-up window.

In response to questions from colleagues, I've also written several suggestions for conducting client interviews based on the Model's grid of identity systems and constructs.

Click here to read the suggestions online.
Click here to download the suggestions in Adobe Acrobat format.
Click here to see a directory of other articles I have written about issues involving the gifted and talented.

Counseling the Gifted
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