Gifted Adults

Do you recognize some or all of the following characteristics in yourself?

  • gifted
  • talented
  • creative
  • asynchronous (very advanced in some areas but not in others)
  • overexciteable
  • twice exceptional (gifted + learning disability or other challenge)
  • highly sensitive
  • intense
  • quirky

Are you experiencing some or all of the things below?

  • perfectionism
  • high anxiety
  • loneliness
  • disorganization
  • job frustration
  • serial relationships
  • self-criticism
  • defiance
  • cravings for intensity that you can’t figure out how to meet
  • existential dread/angst/apathy/etc.

You've come to the right place.

Gifted Adults

You didn’t suddenly become gifted, but you may have suddenly realized it in your adult years. People talk to you about your intensity – of thought, of emotion, of imagination or sensuality – like it’s a bad thing.

You find yourself struggling to adapt to work environments that just don’t suit you, and you suffer chronic dissatisfaction as a result. Conformity just isn’t your jam.

You cycle from fascination to mastery to boredom. You are talented in multiple ways and haven’t figured out how to explore all of your different interests while making a living and raising a family.

Your strengths and talents were muffled as you tried to fit in to a world that doesn’t understand you. Or you may have taken on perfectionism and anxiety as ways of life.

You may have taken a deep dive into substance abuse in an effort to meet your needs for intensity, cope with depression, or dampen your heightened sensitivities to the world around you. You may have a nagging sense of being incomplete and disconnected from the world.

Those critical years during which identity formation is at the forefront can leave gifted adults with some treasured beliefs and some destructive ones. If your strengths were pathologized, it’s time to reclaim them as the strengths they are.

If you were taught negative self-regard because of your giftedness, you should know that those thoughts can be re-examined and revised in the light of who you are and who you want to become.

Counseling helps the intellectually gifted adult to better understand how genetics, upbringing, and self-determination have gotten you to where you are today.

It helps you to establish a direction for yourself, and it empowers you to get from here to there in the healthiest, most expedient ways possible.

What Does Gifted Look Like? Clearing Up Your Confusion by Paula Prober, M.S., M.Ed.


“People are astonished by how much you can do. You think you’re lazy. There’s so much that you’re not doing.


People tell you how smart you are. You feel dumb. You know how much you don’t know and you still haven’t decided what you want to be when you grow up.


People admire your (musical, artistic, mathematical, linguistic, etc.) talents. You think they’re patronizing you. You notice all of the mistakes you make. Surely, they do, too, but they’re too polite to mention them.


How is it possible that you see yourself as a lazy not-so-smart slacker and others see you as so-lucky-to-be-gifted? How can your sense of yourself be so different from how others see you?


Like life in the rain forest, it’s complicated.


Maybe it’s your super high expectations. You don’t realize that others don’t have similar standards. Doesn’t everyone want to create beauty, balance, harmony and justice all of the time? Don’t all people value precision?


Um, no.


Maybe it’s your enthusiasm for learning about, well, everything. Isn’t everyone obsessed with reading and researching multiple disparate topics instead of sleeping, which is such a waste of time? Aren’t all people thrilled that MIT is offering classes online? Doesn’t everyone dream of changing career paths every 3-5 years?


Not really.


Maybe it’s your capacity for observing and perceiving and noticing. Isn’t everyone bothered by the buzzing florescent lights, the crooked pictures on the wall, the house in your neighborhood that was painted chartreuse?




Maybe it’s your extra sensitivity and empathy. Can’t everyone feel the distress in the room? Isn’t everyone overwhelmed by the news? Don’t all humans want to save the world?




So, if you’re confused by the difference between the feedback that you get and your own self-perception, time to get unconfused.


Maybe it’s your highest standards, your zest for learning, your keen capacity to perceive, your intense sensitivity and your exceptional empathy.


Maybe that is what gifted looks like.”

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