Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
Dąbrowski's Theory in Practice

Dąbrowski's Theory in Practice

Join hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 35 with Patricia Gatto-Walden

In episode 35, Chris and Emma talked with Dr. Patricia Gatto-Walden, a licensed psychologist with offices in Colorado and Florida, USA. Patty applies the theory of positive disintegration in her practice with the highly and profoundly gifted.

Patty studied with Dr. Michael M. Piechowski as a graduate student when he taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the late 1970s, and he introduced her to the work of Dąbrowski and Maslow. Years later, they reconnected, became close friends, and worked together as Senior Fellows to help create Yunasa, a camp for gifted children run by the Institute for Educational Advancement.

We learned about Patty’s early work with the profoundly gifted in her role as the Director of Guidance and Counseling at University High School at the University of Illinois. She described falling in love with that population, and she’s worked with PG individuals of all ages ever since. She talked with us about her holistic approach to the gifted, which is the basis of her book, Embracing the Whole Gifted Self. Patty talked with us about the necessity of honoring all five domains of the self: intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social. Patty shared the importance of seeing gifted individuals as whole people and more than their minds.

How can therapists of the gifted serve this population well? Patty shared several ideas on this topic from her own experience. Understanding one’s own levels of giftedness and empathy is critical when working with clients. We learned some of the essentials for clinicians and how they can prepare themselves to be present and grounded in their work.

In the final part of our discussion, Patty talked about the life journey inward toward the Golden Core, or our inner guidance system. Discovering our meaning and purpose in life and facing ourselves courageously are parts of this journey.

Links from this episode:

Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D. (Patty’s website)

Embracing the Whole Gifted Self (Patty’s book)

Yunasa (IEA website)

Piechowski archive (Dąbrowski Center website)

Who Is Michael M. Piechowski? (Substack article by Chris)

Connect with us!

Positive Disintegration on Substack

Visit the Dabrowski Center website



The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel

Adults with Overexcitabilities group on Facebook

Dabrowski Center and Positive Disintegration Podcast Community on Facebook

The Tragic Gift blog by Emma

Email us at positivedisintegration.pod@gmail.com

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Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
What can be positive about disintegration? Join us for an exploration of positive disintegration through conversation and shared stories. It’s a framework for understanding a variety of intense experiences that often look and feel like mental illness, but which can also be viewed as building blocks for creating an authentic personality.