by Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D.
Foreword by Nicholas Colangelo
Part One: A Matter of Heart
1. Emotional Development: The Great Unknown
2. The Even Greater Unknown: Emotional Development of the Gifted
3. Excitable, Spirited, Very Alive
Part Two: Energy, Sensorium, and Intellect
4. Five Channels
5. Personal Energy
6. Sensory Aliveness
Part Three: Intellect
7. Intellectual Aliveness
8. Visual, Spatial, and Beyond
Part Four: Imagination
9. Imaginary and Imaginal—A Universe of Unlimited Possibilities
10. Absorption: The Power of Imaginal Experience
11. Invisible Friends
12. Imaginary Worlds
Part Five. Emotional Life
13. The Primacy of Emotion and Feeling
14. Emotional Aliveness
15. Bonds of Affection
17. The Specter of Death
18. Identity and Solitude
19. Two Types of Emotional Growth
Part Five. Emotional and Spiritual Growth
20. Gifted at Heart
21. Personal Growth
22. Spiritual Giftedness
23. Spiritual Experiences in Childhood
24. Entelechy and Inner Knowing
Coda: Experiencing in a Higher Key
Appendix 1: Sources of Material
Appendix 2: Overexcitability Questionnaires
Michael M. Piechowski tells us in his first sentence “The purpose of this book is to give voice to the emotional life of bright young people, to show how their intensities and sensitivities make them more alive, more creative, and more in love with the world and its wonders.” This is a most revealing opening sentence because the book is a voice for the emotional and spiritual life of gifted children.
I first knew Michael when he was in transition from the study of molecules (molecular biologist) to the study of people’s hearts (counseling psychologist). It was always the emotional world that most interested and inspired him. And in turn he inspired those around him. It was also he who made that hard to spell and pronounce name, Kazimierz Dabrowski, part of our lives and now a significant part of the field of gifted education.
Positive disintegration, multilevelness, and overexcitabilities are part of the lexicon of giftedness today and it is primarily due Michael’s philosophy, passion, and perseverance. Michael is a wonderful writer with a sense of humor that is, well, unique. Those qualities are in vibrant evidence here. This book is an “easy” read, but it’s also subtle and complex. Michael is at his best when he writes about the lives of people who have great heart and spirit. This is evident throughout the book.
I find it uncanny that he chooses quotes from the comments of children and teenagers that not only capture a message, but more importantly, capture the essence of the child. Michael is effective with biographical material because he believes this is the “window” to the heart.
While I was honored when asked to write the Foreword, I hesitated. I have a strong allegiance to the importance of emotional and spiritual growth but I have not always seen these issues discussed and written about in ways that are profound and instructive. I find some writings are more personal about the author and not about the subject. Not so with Michael. Michael takes us through the landscape of emotional development and spirituality. This is a landscape he has dedicated his professional life to understanding, respecting, and bringing to bear his best as a scientist and as a person. We have an excellent guide in Michael.
-Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D. Myron & Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education, The University of Iowa
This book is Michael Piechowski’s long awaited magnum opus on emotional intelligence. It resonates with the real voices of gifted adolescents who speak with insight and passion about the realities of their emotional lives. Read it. It is an important book that elucidates what bright teenagers think. Drawn into thematic order, using responses from open-ended questionnaires, this book adds to the literature on giftedness by going beneath the surface of high achievement into development.
—JANE PIIRTO, Ph.D., Ashland University, writer, poet, and teacher, author of Understanding Creativity, “My Teeming Brain”: Understanding Creative Writers, Talented Children and Adults, and A Location in the Upper Peninsula.
We who are intense and passionate are blessed to have Michael Piechowski hold up this wise and compassionate mirror. Mellow Out is a life-changing book that gives meaning to the depth of our experience. It is essential reading for us and for our spouses, parents, teachers and friends. Thank you, Michael.
—LINDA K. SILVERMAN, Ph.D., Director of the Gifted Development Center, Denver, Colorado, author of Counseling the Gifted and Talented and Upside-Down Brilliance.