Mellow Out


'Mellow Out' They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright

by Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. 

The second revised edition of "Mellow Out," They Say. If I Only Could is available in soft cover or electronically from Royal Fireworks Press, at -or- 


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     

16. Fears     

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 


Foreword by Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D.

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

About the First Edition

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.