Counseling & Guidance

spring 2006 Counselling and Guidance


Counseling and guidance for gifted youth seems such an obvious need, but one with inadequate support. How can we ever expect funding to provide quality and sufficient counseling and guidance when we are underfunded in so many other aspects of gifted education? And how will we ever convince schools of education to require training in serving gifted children for those individuals studying to become school counselors and school psychologists, when most of them fail to require even teacher preservice or inservice training in gifted education? It often seems far beyond our grasp. Nevertheless, as the pragmatic journal that we are, this issue of Gifted Education Communicator brings articles of information regarding counseling and guidance for gifted learners that we hope you can put to use in your classrooms and homes with a minimum of additional work or materials. The children are in our classrooms and homes right now and cannot wait for some perfect time in the future.


Meredith Greene leads off with her article, “Reclaiming Teaching as a Helping Profession.” When she went to graduate school for a counseling degree, she lamented the fact that she had not had this training earlier for use during her teaching years, since teachers in fact serve as counselors to their students in so many ways. She alerts teachers to seven “rules” that will help them provide the counseling connections their students may need. Elizabeth Meckstroth follows with an article primarily directed toward parents, but including valuable insights for educators as well. Noting that the greater a child’s intelligence, the more difficult it is for him or her to find social peers, Meckstroth first explains the underlying causes that make gifted children require special counseling considerations. Next she turns to specific ways in which parents and educators can play pivotal roles in “Nurturing Social Relationships” for gifted children.


While teaching gifted middle school students, Thomas Hébert discovered that gifted boys do not respond in the same way as gifted girls in affective areas of learning. He has developed two key strategies for encouraging gifted boys to explore and cope with feelings and personal concerns:

• “Talking while doing”
• “Movies as discussion facilitators”
These strategies can readily be incorporated into existing classes—especially language arts and social studies. In “Counseling Gifted Males,” Hébert shows us how.


Fiction author Stephanie Tolan makes her living telling stories, and points out that we are all creating stories throughout our daily experiences. We give meaning to our experiences and therefore we can change our stories if we choose. In her article, “Change Your Story, Change Your Life,” she illustrates her point with many telling examples. Tom Greenspon is best known for his book, Freeing Our

Families From Perfectionism. As a “recovering perfectionist,” Greenspon knows his subject matter well. In “Getting Beyond Perfectionism” he shares important distinctions between “perfectionism” and the “pursuit of excellence,” and offers guidelines for assisting children in getting beyond perfectionism to a healthy acceptance of mistakes as learning events. Current school counselors have little time in their daily schedules for personal counseling of any students—gifted or otherwise.
To ameliorate this situation, Norma Day-Vines and Susannah Wood recommend “Solution-Focused Counseling with Gifted Students.” They share their reasons why this counseling model is
both effective and time-efficient.


Finally, we include a National Research Center reprint of Nicholas Colangelo’s article, “Counseling Gifted and Talented Students.” As one who has focused on the social and emotional needs of gifted learners for many decades, his words carry special weight. Many of our department contributors have honed in on this issue’s theme as well. Most relevant are the following:

• “Counseling Issues for Gifted Students” by Nancy Robinson
• “Working at the Edge of Competence” by Maureen Neihart
• “College, Career, & Future Planning Resource List” by Jennifer Beaver
• “Emotional Damage” by Elaine Wiener
• “Counseling and Guidance” (on the Web) by Carolyn Kottmeyer
Once again we wish you success in your daily pursuit of educating and parenting gifted children. We hope this issue provides important tools to assist you in counseling and guiding gifted learners.