Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
Piechowski's Insights on Positive Disintegration

Piechowski's Insights on Positive Disintegration

Join Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 48 with Michael M. Piechowski

In episode 48, Chris and Emma talked with Dr. Michael M. Piechowski, close collaborator of Dr. Kazimierz Dąbrowski and a scholar in the field of gifted education. Michael’s work has expanded our understanding of the theory of positive disintegration and the qualitative experience of giftedness.

We covered many topics in this episode, from Michael meeting Dąbrowski in Edmonton in 1967 to his retirement from Yunasa last summer. We learned about Michael’s early work with the theory and conducting research, the transition from science to counseling and pursuing a second doctorate, rethinking the levels of development, and understanding the importance of the unilevel and multilevel processes.

Michael talked with us about the research he did with Dąbrowski that provided a foundation for his work. We learned about the creation of his original Overexcitability Questionnaire, his second dissertation, Formless Forms, and his two papers from more recent years called Rethinking Dąbrowski’s Theory. We discussed why he felt it was necessary to rethink the levels and what case material was applied to this work.

This episode was recorded at Michael’s home during Chris’s visit to Madison, Wisconsin, and the format is conversational. We learned more about what Dr. Dąbrowski was like as a person and how to pronounce his name correctly. Michael also talked with us about what areas of research he’d like to see replicated or built on in the future.

Highlights from Episode 48:

00:02:59 Meeting Dąbrowski in Edmonton

00:06:18 Summer 1968 at Esalen

00:09:22 Science and counseling are different

00:10:46 Multilevelness research with Dąbrowski

00:17:14 Formless Forms

00:25:51 Rethinking levels of development

00:34:17 Bandura’s mechanisms of moral disengagement

00:42:09 Levels as universes

00:46:42 Future areas of research

00:49:00 What Dąbrowski was like

00:51:03 The need to replicate Lysy’s study

00:53:20 Yunasa

Extended show notes are available for paid subscribers.

*There is a transcript available for this episode on our website.

Links from this episode

Visit the Piechowski Archive on the Dabrowski Center’s website

Michael’s book Mellow Out is available via Royal Fireworks Press

Michael is co-editor of Living with Intensity and Off the Charts.

He is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Educational Advancement.

Michael mentioned co-creating Yunasa with two of his dear friends who have also been podcast guests: Episode 19 with Stephanie Tolan and Episode 35 with Dr. Patty Gatto-Walden.

Chris has written posts about Michael with links and photos to accompany this episode, including:

Who is Michael M. Piechowski?

Celebrating a Lifetime of Resilience, Scholarship, and Influence

My Experience of Being a Student

Major works that were mentioned:

Michael’s 1975 monograph

Formless Forms

Lysy & Piechowski (1983)

Rethinking Dabrowski’s Theory: I. The Case Against Primary Integration (2014)

Rethinking Dąbrowski’s Theory II: It’s Not All Flat Here (2017)

Michael’s ResearchGate Profile

Episode 18 with Rachel Fell

Episode 36: Fostering Gifted Growth at Yunasa

Quick Bite, Two Years of Positive Disintegration (Episode 46)

Emma’s video on Positive Disintegration using the Matrix analogy

Deborah Ruf’s new book The 5 Levels of Gifted Children Grown Up and her Substack account

Women’s Ways of Knowing by Belenky et al.

Michael’s 2008 chapter has more on conserving vs transforming growth, as well as Barry Grant’s work.

Table of forms and manifestations of overexcitability

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

Please consider supporting the podcast to help fund this work through the Dabrowski Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Find Positive Disintegration Merch

If you enjoyed this episode on Apple or Spotify, please remember to click on the stars and leave a rating or write a review. Thank you! <3

Thank you for listening to Positive Disintegration. Please share with friends, family, and colleagues.


1 Comment
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.