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Counseling GT Students through Relationships

Building rapport with gifted students starts with a basic understanding of the term ‘gifted’ without prejudice. Teachers, staff, and admins should consider professional development in the specific area of gifted education. Most gifted students will bristle at any attempt by adults to be disingenuous in their feelings towards them. Building rapport begins with building relationships.

Gifted students are always the benefactors of positive relationships between their teachers and parents; hopefully from the beginning they meet. Too often, negative first impressions are hard to get passed. Positive relationships can make for happy classroom experiences for all involved.

What strategies can teach gifted students in improving their communication and connection with others? Emphasizing that being gifted is about being “better at something, not better than someone” (Delisle) can substantially improve how GT students connect with other students. Teachers can engage gifted students in conversation about gifted characteristics and how asynchronous development affects their relationships with both age-peers and intellectual peers.

Stress management is an often overlooked, but crucial area which GT students need to be counseled in when confronting academic anxiety related to test taking, performance, and competition. GT students face real and perceived pressure from others to achieve and be successful that other students may not experience. This can create higher levels of anxiety. Gifted students can benefit from being taught relaxation techniques such as meditation and positive self-talk; engage in expressive writing; as well as, bibliotherapy and cinematherapy.

When should a gifted student or their family seek counseling outside of school? When stress and anxiety begin to affect a student’s life beyond the classroom, parents may need to seek outside counseling. When warning signs begin to cause concern such as difficulty sleeping, expressing thoughts of despair or even attempts at self-harm; an outside counselor should be considered.

How can teachers balance the need for positive student relationships with the reality and obligations of being an educator? All relationships benefit from boundaries and teacher-student relationships are no different. Most school districts delineate expectations of these relationships. Most educators must work with students who exhibit a wide range of abilities. Providing a positive educational experience for each student is the most primary concern. Relationships should always foster learning. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.


Counseling the Gifted and Talented (book)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Students (Neihart et al., 2002)

Counseling the Gifted

No Child Left Behind: Gifted Children and School Counselors (paywall)

How to Find the Right Counselor for Your Gifted Child

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students: What School Counselors Need to Know to Most Effectively Serve This Diverse Student Population

The Whole Gifted Child

The Whole Gifted Child Task Force Report to the Board of Directors (pdf March 2018)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents (Creativity Research) (book)

Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (2nd ed.)

Meeting the Guidance and Counseling Needs of Gifted Students in School Settings (pdf)

American School Counselor Association: The Professional School Counselor and Gifted and Talented School Programs (pdf p.25)

Being Gifted in School: An Introduction to Development, Guidance, and Teaching (2nd ed.)

Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Addressing Counseling Needs of Gifted Students

Counseling Gifted Students: School-Based Considerations and Strategies (pdf)

Counselling Practices in Fostering Potentials among Gifted Students

The School Counselor and the Gifted Children Education

Psychological Issues and the Need for Counseling Services among Malaysian Gifted Students

Clinical and Mental Health Issues in Counseling the Gifted Individual (pdf)

Big Fish in Big Ponds: A Multilevel Analysis of Test Anxiety and Achievement in Special Gifted Classes

A Multicultural Competence Model for Counseling Gifted and Talented Children (pdf)

Performance Anxiety in Gifted Students

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (book)

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Building Relationships with Students and Parents Page

Cybraryman’s Body Language Page

With Hundreds of Students, School Counselors Just Try to ‘Stay Afloat’

Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature (book)

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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