Jan 29 • 56M

Through the Neurodivergent Mirror

Join hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 27 with Tracy Winter

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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.

In episode 27, Chris and Emma were joined by Dr. Tracy Winter, an ICF-credentialed coach with a PhD in Human Development. In her coaching practice, she works with neurodivergent adults and specializes in the gifted / 2e population. We talked about Tracy’s dissertation research on gifted adults “being seen,” where most of her participants fell into two groups: they were not seen as gifted, or they were mis-seen in a way that was not aligned with their self-perceptions.

We discuss the importance of “mirroring”—finding yourself reflected in others—and the loneliness that can happen when we are not seen for our authentic selves, even when we have a support network around us. Tracy holds up a “flat mirror” with clients to help them see themselves accurately, and we talk about how devastating it feels when neurodivergent and gifted people only see ourselves in a distorted “funhouse mirror” if they cannot find people like themselves to connect with.

Tracy talks to us about overexcitability in neurodivergent clients, and what it’s like to work with the Theory of Positive Disintegration in her practice. She shares other developmental models she finds helpful, including Kegan’s Subject-Object Theory of Development and Cook-Greuter's Constructive Developmental Theory in her work, along with classic theorists such as Erikson.

We talk about the difference between a coach and a therapist, what you can expect from an ICF-certified coach, and the importance of an authentic relationships in both clinical work and coaching. We also discuss the activation of dynamisms in clients, and the benefits and pitfalls of nudging someone into disintegration, and the importance of “meeting people where they are” when talking about experiencing a disintegration—whether that be with a client or with a loved one in a relationship.

Links from this episode:

Nerd Coach (Tracy’s Website)

Download Tracy’s dissertation from the Media tab of her website

Tracy on LinkedIn

Tracy’s episode on Unleash Monday

Emma’s Triangle of Loneliness video

Chris’s paper on the Inner Experience of Giftedness [PDF download]


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