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What can you tell me about gifted women? (Counselling Articles)

Dr. Barbara Kerr, a Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Kansas, is the author of Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness. Her book explores why gifted and talented girls so often fail to realize their full potential as adults.

Gifted women often contact me because they want to better understand themselves. I recommend Dr. Kerr’s book to my clients that are interested in learning more about their own giftedness because the book provides some thought provoking insights on the topic.

Diagnosed as gifted herself, Kerr attended a special school designed for high achieving children. After reconnecting with her classmates at their 10-year high school reunion, Kerr was surprised to learn that many of the women who had had big dreams and aspirations for themselves as girls had not acted upon them, or no longer had them at all. Kerr was inspired by this observation to try to figure out what had happened to her classmates.

Kerr has spent the past several decades investigating what factors predict whether women will pursue rather than abandon their dreams. She has tracked the lives of many of the women from her own high school, following them in a longitudinal study and reconnecting with them at 10-year intervals.

Kerr’s book gives practical advice to parents, teachers and student mentors about the ways adults can help gifted girls reach their full potential and better understand their gifted attributes so that they don’t abandon their dreams.

You can learn more about the characteristics of giftedness, how giftedness is linked to burnout, and about giftedness in the workplace. I also recommend additional books on the subject of adult giftedness for those that would like to read more about the subject.

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Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta

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