60 episodes

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.

www.positivedisintegration.org

Positive Disintegration Podcast Emma Nicholson and Dr. Chris Wells

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 32 Ratings

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.

www.positivedisintegration.org

    From the Archive: Inner Growth

    From the Archive: Inner Growth

    Welcome to the first official “From the Archive” post. We’ve added DC Archive to our Substack navbar, where you’ll find posts like this one with media shared from our Dabrowski Center archive.
    The presentation featured in this post was given by Dr. Michael M. Piechowski at the 12th Annual Hollingworth Conference for Highly Gifted in Manchester, New Hampshire, in May 1999.
    This audio recording was converted to mp3 from a cassette tape Michael sent to Chris in June 2018. The handout was discovered in a box of transparencies and documents Michael shared with Chris in May 2021. 
    For those who are new here, Michael joined us on Episode 48 of the podcast. Click here for more posts and episodes mentioning Michael.
    Only the first 45 minutes of the recording were available. The rest is missing in audio, but you can find it in the handout. Visit the Substack post for the handout and transcript.


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.positivedisintegration.org/subscribe

    • 45 min
    Autoethnography for Personal Growth

    Autoethnography for Personal Growth

    In episode 56, Chris and Emma discussed autoethnography as a research method, and powerful tool for autopsychotherapy and transformation. Chris described autoethnography as a method for delving into one's life (usually through writing about it), not as an isolated individual but within the broader context of social and cultural influences. This method allows you to understand yourself within systems, considering factors like race, gender, class, privilege, oppression, and trauma.
    Emma and Chris emphasized the value of gaining insights into your past experiences and behaviors. You can identify turning points and epiphanies, leading to a deeper understanding of yourself. By reflecting on personal history, you uncover patterns, traumas, and societal influences that have shaped your identity. This method also allows you to view your life through the lens of positive disintegration, and identify dynamisms, overexcitabilities and moments of disintegration.
    Chris shared this quote from Christopher Poulos’s Essentials of Autoethnography:
    “The deep emotional introspection associated with this form of academic writing comes with inherent vulnerability and exposure to the judgment of others, along with the possibility of opening up old trauma, stirring up painful memories, digging into taboo subjects, or sparking grief or other deep emotions.”
    We discussed our different approaches to this work because the method can be tailored to suit individual preferences and comfort levels. While Chris delves deep into coding journal entries and conducting in-depth research, Emma mentions more accessible approaches like writing about past experiences, talking to others, or reviewing your past social media posts.
    By utilizing different mediums for self-expression (like art, or video recordings), you can explore personal narratives in diverse ways, uncovering hidden emotions, patterns, and perspectives that may not be apparent through traditional writing alone. Emma shared how she found watching herself in a video discussing her feelings to be enlightening, and that seeing facial expressions and body language helped her understand her emotions better.
    Chris mentioned the importance of being prepared for the emotional impact of autoethnography. They discussed the need for space, time, and self-care to process the unearthed traumas and painful memories. The process may involve re-traumatizing yourself to some extent, but it can also lead to healing and self-compassion.
    This multi-dimensional approach allows for a more comprehensive exploration of identity, experiences, and relationships, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world.
    Resources from this episode
    The Primary Importance of the Inner Experience of Giftedness, a paper Chris wrote based on the work they described from 2014.
    Interesting Quotes, Vol. 10 on autoethnography
    Essentials of Autoethnography by Christopher N. Poulos
    Connect with us
    Positive Disintegration on Substack
    Visit the Dabrowski Center website
    Facebook
    Instagram
    The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel
    Adults with Overexcitabilities group 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!



    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.positivedisintegration.org/subscribe

    • 33 min
    Gifted Intersections and Transformation

    Gifted Intersections and Transformation

    In episode 55, Chris and Emma talked with Kaitlin Smith, a Boston-based scholar, facilitator, and founder of Our Wild Minds, which offers online community and programs that help gifted BIPOC unleash their natural gifts. Kaitlin is also a PhD student at Harvard in History of Science where her research interrogates the history of mind sciences and intersections with African American Studies.
    Kaitlin shared how her personal experiences and challenges led her to explore Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration and its relevance to her life and studies. She discussed the complexities of being gifted within the context of racial and cultural identities. She reflected on the challenges faced in her journey, including her experiences with racism and stereotyping within academia as a social work student and therapist-in-training.
    Kaitlin detailed the creation and mission of Our Wild Minds, a program designed to support gifted BIPOC individuals in unleashing their natural gifts. She outlined the various components of the community and the WildMinder Journey, which includes introspection, connection, learning, manifestation, and giving back.
    We learned about Kaitlin’s online course, Black Brilliance Circle, which serves as a space for gifted Black adults to explore their identities, challenges, and potential. She discusses the richness of bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds and the power of community in fostering growth and understanding.
    Our conversation delved into the idea of “Decolonizing Giftedness.” We discussed the importance of addressing the roots of gifted education, as well as challenging and dismantling the biases and assumptions that have historically shaped the field. Kaitlin emphasized embracing complexity and intersectionality in understanding and supporting gifted individuals.
    We explored the concept of positive maladjustment and its relevance to navigating and challenging oppressive systems. We discussed the importance of self-reflection, learning, and unlearning as crucial tools for both personal growth and societal transformation.
    The episode concluded with reflections on the importance of lifting others as we climb, and the transformative potential of engaging in deep, meaningful conversations across differences. We are grateful for Kaitlin’s willingness to share her journey and insights with our audience.
    The quotes Chris mentioned by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi:
    “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term racist into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the opposite, to freeze us into inaction”
    And
    "Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination."
    Resources from this episode
    Kaitlin’s website Our Wild Minds
    Black Brilliance Circle
    How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
    Connect with us
    Positive Disintegration on Substack
    Visit the Dabrowski Center website
    Facebook
    Instagram
    The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel
    Adults with Overexcitabilities group 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!


    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.positivedisintegration.org/subscribe

    • 56 min
    Navigating the Tides of Change

    Navigating the Tides of Change

    Episode 54 features the presentation Chris and Emma gave at Gift-a-Palooza 2024, a virtual summit with more than 45 speakers on the topics of giftedness and neurodiversity. This was our first time presenting together, and we had a great time. We edited the audio from our discussion of positive disintegration in gifted adults. The Q&A isn't included.
    If you’re reading this on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or another podcast platform, please visit the show notes on Substack for the slide images.
    This first slide is Emma’s representation of the process of positive disintegration. [From the transcript] Emma: “When you think you know who you are, everything starts to fall apart. You can go through a process then of sorting things out and trying to reshape. It's a little bit like pulling apart Lego bricks and rebuilding yourself, figuring out what goes at the top and what goes at the bottom… Disintegration's not just a linear, straight-through process. You don't just go step one, two, three, four, five. Through your life, you will get moments where new informational circumstances will come in and it can start that cycle of development again.”
    The next slide gives insight into values. From Emma: “When we think about what values are, they are the principles or the standards that we have in place for ourselves that drive our behavior, But they're based on what we see as important in life. So, you can see that little diagram I've got. You've got everything that you believe to be true in life and what your priorities are… Based on that, you then build out standards for yourself of how you think you should behave. And then your behaviors come out the back of that.”
    At the 08:30 mark of this episode, Chris tackled the difference between the unilevel and multilevel processes.
    On the next slide, we offered an overview of the dynamisms, which can be defined as inner forces that shape and direct our development. At 15:22, Chris described the overexcitabilities as the raw material for producing dynamisms.
    The path to authenticity represented by a strutting cat.
    From Emma: "[The path has] got to be self-created because you're the only one who can define what you believe, what's important to you. So then, what are your values? You're the only one who can truly say who you are authentically inside... Think about what's important to you, think about what you really value, and then look at your behavior and say, am I walking my talk? And if I'm not, what can I do to change that to make sure that I am behaving in a way that aligns with my values?"
    From Chris: “The heart of this theory is inner transformation. It's what the dynamisms are all about: helping you shape yourself into who you're meant to be, who you want to be... One of the beautiful things about positive disintegration is that it can be a creative process of self-development based on your values.”
    Just after the 25-minute mark, Chris and Emma began discussing their own experiences of positive disintegration, represented by this Disintegration Timeline.
    We had a blast presenting together at Gift-a-Palooza, and we can’t wait to team up on July 11, 2024, at the Dabrowski Congress for a 90-minute workshop called “Walking Your Talk: How to Define and Live Your Values.”
    Click here or go to https://dabrowskicenter.org/DC2024 for more about #DC2024.
    Links from this episode
    Positive Disintegration on Substack
    Adults with Overexcitabilities on YouTube
    Michael’s book Mellow Out
    2024 Dabrowski Congress
    Gift-a-Palooza 2024 recordings are still available from Gifted & Thriving.
    Connect with us
    Positive Disintegration on Substack
    Visit the Dabrowski Center website
    Facebook
    Instagram
    The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel
    Adults with Overexcitabilities group 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 organi

    • 46 min
    Quick Bite: Red Flag Behaviors 🚩

    Quick Bite: Red Flag Behaviors 🚩

    In episode 53, Chris and Emma discussed some of the “red flags” to be aware of when consuming content on positive disintegration. They discussed the importance of being aware of potentially problematic sources, particularly for those who are new to the theory. By sharing examples of red flags in other areas of their lives, they aim to help listeners navigate through potentially misleading information (or messages which may do them harm) and encourage critical thinking.
    Red flag behaviors we covered include:
    * Discouraging Authenticity: It's crucial to be open and accepting of who others are and who they say they are. The theory of positive disintegration is all about being authentic, so if someone is trying to discourage you from expressing yourself authentically, further investigation is needed.
    * Canon Purists: Be mindful of when individuals only focus on one perspective. While Dabrowski's work is highly valuable, it's crucial to expand on it and approach positive disintegration as an evolving experience, rather than a rigid theory.
    * Speculation Without Evidence: We need to be mindful that data, evidence and validation are critical to our understanding of positive disintegration. Question sources, think critically, and look for evidence to back up arguments.
    * Level Labelers: Watch out for those who categorize individuals into levels or hierarchies based on their development. Positive disintegration is a dynamic process, and it's essential to avoid labeling yourself or others in a way that limits growth and understanding. Embrace the journey and focus on the process rather than fixed levels.
    * Developmental Potential Elitists: Overexcitability is not only for the gifted. Positive disintegration is a tool that can help people navigate crises. Let’s not limit who we can help!
    * People who are mean: Personal attacks and punching down are not aligned with the wonderful messages of compassion that are found in the theory.
    Remember to trust your instincts, question sources, and always strive for empathy and authenticity in your interactions.
    Links from this episode
    Episode 48: Piechowski’s Insights on Positive Disintegration for more on why it’s best to avoid becoming a “Level Labeler.”
    Connect with us
    Positive Disintegration on Substack
    Visit the Dabrowski Center website
    Facebook
    Instagram
    The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel
    Adults with Overexcitabilities group 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
    Join us for the 2024 Dabrowski Congress, July 11-13, 2024. Virtual and in-person options.
    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!



    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.positivedisintegration.org/subscribe

    • 25 min
    Voice as a Mirror of Inner States

    Voice as a Mirror of Inner States

    In episode 52, Chris and Emma talked with Laura Stavinoha, who offers singers and speakers coaching and counseling about the voice and personal development through her company, Use Your Voice. Laura is the author of the book Voice: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment and editor-in-chief of the Dutch Positive Disintegration website. She will join us in Denver this summer to present her work at the 2024 Dabrowski Congress.
    The human voice is a tool for communication, and a reflection of our inner state. Laura discusses how the voice can provide insights into our emotions, stress levels, and personal development. She says our voice is connected to the nervous system and can be influenced by our emotions. When we experience feelings such as nervousness, excitement, or anger, our voice can undergo changes. This connection between emotions and the voice is well-known, as many of us have experienced our voices trembling or becoming shaky when we are anxious or stressed.
    We talk about the role of overexcitabilities in the voice. Overexcitabilities are heightened sensitivities and intensities that can manifest in different ways, including in the voice. For instance, individuals with psychomotor overexcitability may have rapid speech patterns or a tendency to talk compulsively. Individuals with imaginational overexcitability may experience rapid shifts in thoughts and ideas during conversation.
    Laura describes how the voice can be a symptom of the conflicts and tensions that arise as we strive for personal growth and self-actualization. These conflicts can manifest in our voice—e.g., feeling constricted or unable to express ourselves authentically. Dynamisms are inner forces that can manifest as inner conflicts and tensions that arise during the process of positive disintegration. These conflicts can be reflected in the voice, through hesitations, inconsistencies, or changes in tone.
    Laura explains that the autonomic nervous system influences the voice in the same way it influences other bodily functions like heart rate and breathing. Regulating the nervous system through practices like meditation or yoga can have a positive impact on the voice. The human voice can provide valuable insights into our inner state. It can reflect our emotions, stress levels, and personal development. By paying attention to our voice and working on its development, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and enhance our communication with others.
    Highlights
    00:03:34 How Laura discovered the theory
    00:07:34 Laura’s path to authenticity
    00:14:23 The importance of purpose
    00:17:00 Reflection on developing one’s voice
    00:18:39 Do you like the sound of your own voice?
    00:22:33: Chris’s voice issues
    00:27:11 Tension and the voice
    00:28:28 When Laura’s voice failed her
    00:30:28 OEs and the autonomic nervous system
    00:34:26 How OEs manifest over time
    00:37:12 Jamie’s case and ADHD
    00:39:45 Overexcitability and neurodivergence
    00:42:00 TPD as a liberating theory
    00:43:54 Coexistence of unilevel and multilevel dynamisms
    00:47:03 Voice as an indicator of well-being
    00:51:09 Going beneath the surface
    00:55:05 Doing the developmental work
    00:56:51 TPD and polyvagal theory
    Overall, working on the voice goes beyond simply improving vocal techniques. It involves understanding the connection between the voice and the nervous system, addressing underlying emotional and psychological factors, and developing a holistic approach to voice development.
    Resources from this episode
    Use Your Voice (Laura’s website)
    The book Voice: A Multifaceted Approach to Self-Growth and Vocal Empowerment by Laura Stavinoha (Amazon)
    Voice Problems as Signs of Positive Disintegration (Laura’s 2022 Congress presentation on YouTube)
    Positieve Desintegratie (in Dutch)
    2024 Dabrowski Congress page. Registration opens later this week!
    Connect with us
    Positive Disintegration [Substack]
    Visit the Dabrowski Center website
    Positive Disintegration Podcast

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

KeyElementsPhoto ,

Valuable Lessons & Conversations

This is a wonderful theory presented by two passionate people, with thoughtful and insightful conversations with a large variety of people. I’ve learned so much from each episode, and look forward to diving deeper into this positive outlook on outward facing struggles.

cetrep ,

Enlightening, Inspirational and Thought-Provoking

The Theory of Positive Disintegration is discussed and made understandable through each and every podcast segment with Emma, Chris and their guests. Each guest, as well as both Emma and Chris, have life stories that are relatable, and that support, inform and validate. Whether you or a family member is gifted, experiencing overexcitabilities, or moving through a positive disintegration, you will find this podcast highly enlightening.

Michelle VanCura ,

TPD deserves a spotlight

As an avid podcast listener, I’m always on the lookout for podcasts with a great format that discuss theories I’m interested in (and TPD has always been on the top of the list). The structure of this podcast is absolutely thought-provoking while bringing unique and tangible insights out of its guests. As a gifted education professional myself, I love hearing thoughtful people discuss what inspires their work. The hosts are relatable and honest with balanced approaches to controversial information. They are extremely hard workers bringing an astounding mix of humility and confidence to everything they do. Thank you for providing an online hub where fans of Dabrowski can geek out!

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