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A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

by Paula Prober

Pub Date: June 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692-71310-5
Publisher: GHF Press

Psychotherapist Prober describes her concept of a “rainforest mind” in this debut resource aimed at “excessively curious, idealistic, sensitive, [and] highly intelligent” people.

The author seeks to provide those who’ve been labeled “gifted” with the intellectual tools they need to thrive in the world. Prober transitioned to a career in mental health after a short stint as a middle school teacher, during which she was introduced to the concept of gifted children. She developed the idea of “rainforest minds” while seeking a less controversial term to describe such students. People with rainforest minds, she asserts, tend to be highly empathetic, often to the point of feeling overwhelmed by the state of the world and the suffering of others. The author presents case studies of rainforest-minded people who sought her help during her 30 years as a therapist. Many suffered abuse or neglect as children, struggled to excel in school, and found interpersonal relationships difficult to form and maintain. Prober also discusses the common occurrence of crippling anxiety, perfectionism, and the “impostor phenomenon” among those with rainforest minds. The author structures each chapter around a central theme and then provides a list of strategies, further readings, and other resources at the end. She says that not all of her potential solutions will work for everyone; she also suggests that some people consider being tested for ADHD and offers a study of a patient with both an attention deficit disorder and a rainforest mind. The obvious compassion that Prober feels for others—much like the empathy of those she counsels—prevents the text from feeling clinical, and her knowledge and experience provide a gravitas that many other self-help volumes lack. The author does show awareness of the limitations of her studies, which are mainly based on a largely homogenous patient population, but her honesty throughout makes her text feel earnest and convincing.

An engagingly written work about people struggling with a “jungle of thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, questions, dreams, worries,” among other concerns.