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How Creative Sensitive Gifted People Can Cope with Trauma

New Year’s Eve, 2017 started with a bang in Highlands Ranch, my home town. Before sunrise, police answered a domestic dispute call. Before it was all over, one officer was killed and other officers and citizens were wounded, according to the Denver Post. This photo shows law enforcement officers gathering by Littleton Adventist Hospital to form a motorcade in honor of the fallen officer.

Tragedy such as this, natural disasters, terrorism and mass shootings may impact all of us, even when we are far away from the action. When we are directly involved in a life-threatening situation, we experience direct Trauma Exposure. When we hear about it and especially when we watch it or read about it in the News, we can experience Vicarious Traumatization. Here’s some resources to show you how creative sensitive gifted people can cope with trauma.

Unfortunately, each year seems to bring a new crop of traumatic life events. Storms, wars, crime, you name it, there always seem to be things happening that can be traumatizing, especially to creative, sensitive or gifted people. It can be easy to want to hide away from civilization to protect ourselves. But even if we live in a remote area, we still learn about what is happening. This is true whether it’s across town or around the planet.

When these traumatic events happen, life begs us to develop coping skills that are commensurate to the events and also appropriate the level of our creativity, sensitivity and intelligence. Creative, sensitive and gifted people often have a greater and faster response to such traumatic situations than do neurotypical people. What can you do when your child’s – or your own – intense response to such things immobilizes or overwhelms them (or you)?

Here are some resources that I have developed and shared at various times in the past. Today I am gathering them together in one place for your convenience.

How Creative Sensitive Gifted People Can Cope with Trauma

  1. How to Ride Out Life’s Tough Times: Hang Loose in the Washing Machine!

    Several years ago, I was helping one of my counseling clients learn how to cope with overwhelming emotions connected to the hard times he was going through. As I searched for a way to help him, a picture popped into my head: ocean waves. This was quickly followed by the awareness that emotions are much like ocean waves. Ocean waves come in many shapes, sizes, speeds and intensities. So do emotions. Ocean waves are influenced by many things including the gravitational pull of the moon, the tides, the shape and movement of the ocean floor and the weather. Our emotions are influenced by the gravitational pull of our relationships, the ebb and flow of our health and energy, the “weather” of the events in our lives. Sometimes life can seem like the experience of a surfer caught in the “washing machine”, a phenomenon in which you get caught in wave after wave and can have trouble even coming up for air. READ MORE

  1. Healing Trauma in Creative, Sensitive and Gifted People

Six weeks before the Columbine High School shooting in April of 1999, my husband and I with our teenage sons, moved into the Columbine West neighborhood.  Our oldest son was in college; our younger sons continued to attend their previous high school, rather than transfer to Columbine, which was located less than a mile from our house. Still, the shooting at Columbine High School had a huge impact on us. The night after that shooting, I awoke at 3 am and could not sleep.  So I got up and wrote this article. It seemed like the article was being written and I was just the scribe. Even so, I’ve updated it a few times since then. I share the most recent version again now, hoping that it will help creative, sensitive and gifted people who are struggling to cope with any kind of traumatic event.    READ MORE

  1. SENGinar: What to Do When The Sky is Falling. Tools for Helping Gifted Kids & Teens Cope With Trauma.

Gifted kids and teens, due to the combination of their abilities and over-excitabilities are often impacted by trauma and tragedy more than their less sensitive peers. What can you do when a creative, highly sensitive, intense, gifted child or teen is traumatized by tragedy, when it’s on the other side of the country or world? What can you do to help them when the tragedy or trauma is in your own community?

In this recording of my presentation for SENG- (Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted) in this Webinar, AKA SENGinar, you will learn:

  • Seven signs of a normal response to trauma
  • The one simple first, best and last mind-body tool that can be used anywhere, any time to counteract the negative effects of trauma
  • Two underlying principals to guide your trauma interventions with your sensitive, gifted child
  • Four things to DO to help them process their difficult emotions
  • Three ways to tell if or when to get professional help for your student with Trauma Exposure




Featured Quote

The hallmark of individuation is the differentiation of the individual psyche from its containment in the collective psyche from its containment in the collective psyche. This process is accompanied by a progressive awareness of the transpersonal psyche and the task of mediating and humanizing its energies.

— Edward Edinger, The Creation of Consciousness