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Continuing Education
and SMPG: July 18
Pre-Conference Activities
SENG is proud to present a full day of optional, enriching educational courses and SMPG training.
CE Courses
Continuing Education Courses
SENG is offering several accredited courses the day before the conference, allowing educators and mental health professionals to expand their knowledge and connections for just $100 per source.
Each completed course will provide 3 CECs through the American Psychological Association.
Morning Sessions: 9 AM - 12 PM


Strengthening Achilles’ Heel: Developing Emotional Intelligence in Gifted Individuals through Impactful Psychological Interventions

with Carol Raymond & Scott Smith

9 AM - 12 PM

Emotional Intelligence can be the Achilles' heel of many Gifted Students in their academic development.  This presentation will address common themes that hinder emotional intelligence development in gifted individuals and how these concerns can be addressed with mental health interventions.  Therapy is rendered ineffective once it becomes an opportunity to win an argument or a chance to prove worthiness. Participants will learn how distorted thought patterns and rigid belief systems can prohibit emotional growth and the psychological consequences that can follow as a result (i.e. depression, anxiety, and self-esteem concerns). Psychological interventions (i.e. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Age Regression, Brain-spotting, Ego State Hypnosis, and Self-Esteem Development) to address these emotional concerns will be explained with brief case studies demonstrating how these interventions can develop and enhance emotional intelligence in gifted individuals.

Attendees will be able to:

  • list at least three ways that distorted thought patterns and rigid belief systems can prohibit emotional growth and affect gifted adolescents psychologically (through manifestations such as anxiety, depression, and self-esteem concerns);

  • explain how the presented psychological interventions can develop and enhance emotional intelligence in gifted individuals in comparison to traditional talk therapy;

  • discuss which interventions would be most useful in their current practice (after an introduction to Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Age Regression, Brain-spotting, Ego State Hypnosis, and Self-Esteem Development).



Growing With Nature in Mind: Gifted Adult Development and Ecotherapy

with Eric Windhorst

9 AM - 12 PM

Gifted adults remain an understudied, and often misconstrued, population. This presentation will address this gap in our understanding of gifted adults by highlighting their advanced developmental potential and demonstrating how nature (i.e., the natural world) might nurture gifted adults personality development. I will begin by describing who gifted adults are, what they are like, and the common challenges they face. Next, Kazimierz Dabrowskis developmental theory of positive disintegration (TPD) will be briefly used to interpret adult development. Drawing primarily from eco-psychological literature, the bulk of my presentation will illustrate four unique ways that gifted adults inner nature can be united with outer nature (namely, nature as inspiration, nature and restoration, nature and self-reflection, and nature as integral community), and how these connections can assist gifted adults on their developmental journeys.


Attendees will be able to:

  • understand and describe who gifted adults are, what they are like, and the common challenges they face;

  • advanced personality an introductory level, describe Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration and the notion of advanced personality development;

  • understand and integrate four nature-based strategies for harnessing developmental potential:

         1. nature as inspiration;
         2. nature and restoration;
         3. nature and self-reflection; and
         4. nature as integral community.


Gifted Therapists: Working Effectively with Exceptional Children and Their Families

with Mandi Melendez

9 AM - 12 PM


Mental health providers are trained to recognize pathological symptoms and identify problematic relationship patterns and coping skills. But we are rarely trained to consider these concerns through the lens of intellectual capacity and the attendant impact on brain development, particularly in children and adolescents. Gifted children are more likely to struggle with social and emotional issues, as well existential concerns, than the general population. Gifted children tend to have intense emotional reactions, may be highly empathic and experience difficulty in regulating their emotions (Fonseca, 2015; Daniels, 2008). They may present with symptoms that mimic pathology and as a result they are often misdiagnosed (Webb et al, 2016). Helping these children and their families effectively manage these experiences is a commonly cited reason for seeking therapy. Therapists who are well-versed in the unique needs of gifted children are optimally poised to support them and their families.

Attendees will be able to:

  • recognize markers of giftedness in children and adolescents, and how to effectively identify them in therapy;

  • understand the impact of giftedness on therapy clients and their treatment trajectory;

  • discern symptoms typical of gifted children and avoid mislabeling and misdiagnosis.


Let the Older Kids Lead the Way: Peer to Peer Social Group Models for Shy Teenagers

with AnaMaria Guevera, Diego Aragon-Guevara & Arielle Chapman

9 AM - 12 PM


Over the course of the past few months, we have designed a social group for middle school age teens experiencing struggles socially in order to provide a safe place for them to get to know others in a relaxed setting. The goal of the group is to help those who may be experiencing struggles with finding a core group of friends at school, and give them a group they can always come back to, as well as providing them with relationship building skills to use not just at school, but throughout the rest of their lives. The group meets once a week to practice a social skill, play board games, video games, chat, and eat snacks. As group facilitators, we try to remain involved as little as possible, as we do not wish for the group to feel forced, or like group therapy. Facilitators are trained and supported by a clinician well-versed in social thinking and emotional intelligence promoting group activities. Presenters will share information about the program design and group outcomes.

The audience will gain insights about:

  • addressing the social needs of shy middle schoolers from a range of professionals who work with neuro-diverse children and teenagers (obtained through structured interviews);

  • considerations for designing a peer-to-peer social support model of intervention;

  • pitfalls to avoid when designing your own peer-to-peer social group;

  • benefits and gains unique to this model.


Afternoon Sessions: 1-4 PM

The Social-Emotional Impact of 2e

with Dr. Joanna Haase & Dr. Lisa Hancock

1-4 PM


Everyone has heard the comment "Gifted children are gifted 24/7, not just during the school day", yet we do not do as good a job recognizing that the social-emotional aspects of being gifted or twice-exceptional also impact children in every area of their development. Many gifted and twice-exceptional children first encounter a psychologist or other mental health provider due to academic under-achievement or behavioral problems triggering concern in teachers and parents. Typically, traditional interventions to manage the behaviors of concern have been ineffective . It is essential for mental health providers to gain an understanding of how diagnosed (or undiagnosed) developmental or learning disorders can impact a child social-emotionally, as well as academically and behaviorally. This course will provide in-depth information about problematic symptoms and behaviors, the most common developmental disorders and learning disabilities, and best practices for addressing the social-emotional impact of 2e.


Participants will be able to:

  • identify at least five symptoms/behaviors commonly associated with undiagnosed developmental/learning disorders; 

  • name at least three social-emotional effects of commonly undiagnosed developmental/learning disorders;

  • identify at least three intervention strategies for mitigating the social-emotional impact of 2e.


The Seen and Unseen World of the Emotionally and Spiritually Giftedness

with Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D. 

1-4 PM

Emotionally and spiritually gifted children have an expanded awareness and profoundly caring natures. Often their viewpoints and ethics have such strength and gravity that bystanders avoid or ridicule them for their mysterious philosophical perspectives and intensity of experience. While other find it difficult to understand and embrace their peculiar abilities, their instinctual knowing of what is seen, and unseen are of paramount importance to them. These extraordinary traits cannot be obstructed or hindered, but instead continuously enrich daily life. Emotionally gifted individuals scan and absorb surrounding energy and emotion, intuiting the wants and needs of others.  Spiritually gifted individuals have mystical knowledge, insights and transcendent experiences that guide their life. These extraordinary individuals of all ages are emissaries of peace and justice, compassion and kindness. They yearn for empathy, closeness and meaningful relationships but rarely do they receive such acceptance. The objective of this session is to distinguish characteristics of both emotional and spiritual giftedness, as well as to define differences and similarities in nature between them. Participants will learn about the vastly different inner world and outer manifestations of being such a gifted individual, their wisdom, transpersonal experiences and subsequent struggles.

Participants will:

  • become cognizant of recent research and literature on emotional and spiritual giftedness;

  • understand the unique character of emotionally and spiritually gifted individuals;

  • be able to identify common strengths, vulnerabilities, needs and misunderstandings of these distinct and overlapping populations;

  • appreciate the profound abilities and global contributions of these distinctive persons;

  • learn how to support and nurture the health and well-being of emotionally and spiritually gifted individuals.



Calming the Calamities:  Navigating Anxiety, Angst & Anger Among the Gifted

with Christine Turo-Shields

1-4 PM

From generalized worry to heart-pounding panic attacks to raging outbursts, these emotional struggles can range from bothersome to debilitating. This workshop highlights experiential techniques to manage the emotional intensity of gifted children, teens and adults.  Agitation and relaxation cannot physiologically exist in the body at the same time. Create confidence in your children, students and in yourself by tapping strengths, power and tools to impose a relaxed body posture by over-riding mental agitation, over-excitabilities and existential depression. These strategies successfully benefit children and adults for managing  emotional distress related to anxiety, anger and angst.


Attendees will: 

  • increase their awareness of physiological impact of emotional intensity, over-excitabilities as well as existential depression and perfectionism;

  • gain effective emotion regulation strategies of physiological soothing, including diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation, visualization, etc.;

  • examine Socratic reasoning, cognitive restructuring, presupposition, and growth mindset in order to increase confidence of emotion regulation strategies.


SWIFT: Smith/Westbrook Intellectual Frustration Therapy

with Fiona Smith and Dominic Westbrook

1-4 PM

It is believed that the gap between psychological models and a more highly individual tailored approach is bridged in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It has been stated that “the general style comes ‘off the peg’ but the suit is highly tailored to the contours of the individual”. So, while there is a standard psychological model and explanation of behaviours, the therapy and approach are highly stylized to suit the individual. As gifted individuals feel patronised very easily, therapies such as CBT need further modification to allow for a higher level of abstract reasoning and a craving for complexity.


SWIFT is a tailor-made therapy for gifted individuals designed specifically for helping them celebrate their intensity, inventiveness and intellect, while identifying and coping with the impact of chronic boredom, intellectual frustration, perfectionism and procrastination.


SWIFT has been designed by a psychologist and a counsellor with twenty-eight years of practice between them in understanding and coping with intellectual giftedness and its impact on family life, schooling and mental health. Both have lived experience and diversity, one highly visual and the other image-free. SWIFT is a finely honed new approach to counselling that is client-centred, non-judgemental, empathetic and complex in abstract reasoning. In the end, it takes the gifted to know the gifted.


SWIFT aims to celebrate intellectual giftedness and intensity and promote well- being, while identifying trouble spots and helping parents advocate for greater academic challenge to alleviate chronic boredom.

Attendees will be able to:

  • discuss that being gifted makes them different from the norm and that they are different as well from every other gifted individual – we celebrate rather than pathologize these differences;

  • comprehend that a potted history of therapies and counselling techniques and why they may not be successful approaches for them;

  • understand how to make the therapeutic environment their own by finding a practitioner that understands giftedness and acknowledges that the ‘fit’ between the therapist and the client is paramount;

  • understand that SWIFT is an approach that is being designed and tailored specifically for their needs and deliberately to work with the impact and misinterpretation of the intellectual frustration that arises from chronic, toxic boredom.


Help, My Child is Sooo Intense: How to Use an Emotionally Attuned and Reflective Approach to Regulate Affect and Bolster the Emotional Functioning of Gifted Children

with Vula Baliotis

1-4 PM

Gifted kids are more than the sum of their behaviors. They need help understanding their complex experiences/regulating behaviors. Kids develop their ability to regulate emotions through emotional attunement and reflective parenting. Common internal experiences of gifted youth and what adults can do to bolster emotional functioning are discussed.


Attendees will be able to:

  • define emotional attunement;

  • define reflective parenting;

  • define emotional regulation;

  • identify how emotional attunement and reflective parenting can help children emotionally regulate;

  • identify ways to help children (or themselves) emotionally regulate.

SENG Model Parent Group (SMPG) Facilitator Training
SMPG Training

Your community may have a need for a SENG Model Parent Support Group, aimed at helping local parents and caregivers of gifted, talented, and twice-exceptional children learn how to help their children thrive socially and emotionally. Consider becoming a trained SMPG facilitator and starting a group in your area!

Facilitator training includes:

  • Objectives of SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPGs);

  • Characteristics of Parents in SMPGs;

  • The Role of SMPG Facilitators;

  • Group Facilitation Techniques;

  • Content Learning of Session Topic Areas: Characteristics, Motivation, Discipline, Stress Management, Peer Relations, Sibling Rivalry, and Tradition Breaking;

  • Practice of Facilitation Techniques;

  • Potential Problems and Solutions in SMPGs;

  • How to Organize a local SMPG;

  • A one-year SENG membership* ($99 value); and

  • A copy of A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children.

* Note: SMPG Facilitators are required to maintain their annual SENG membership to ensure their status as a SENG licensed SMPG Facilitator. In addition, those interested in SMPG training should first review the core competencies.


SMPG PLUS+ affords busy families the chance to experience the benefits of a SENG Model Parent Group in an exciting new format: a one-day retreat!

The one-day retreat format covers core SMPG topics alternating with dialogue and breaks for movement, meditation, lunch and to time to connect with family. While the discussions will be structured in a similar manner to the traditional SMPG model, parents will be held in the comfort of tribe for a full day (8am-4:30pm) with a goal for all to leave feeling relaxed, replenished and empowered with expanded community and expertise.

By encouraging authentic dialogue among caregivers, SENG Model Parent Groups promote the continued evolution SENG would like to see, both in classrooms and society.

We'll soon have more details for parents interested in attending the pre-conference SMPG Plus Day.

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