Gifted children can suffer from special stresses because of their gifts, and this can hold them back from demonstrating their amazing potentials.  Some gifted children are successfully using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT tapping) to quickly overcome their stresses, in a program from New York State University

Dr. Amy Gaesser, a school counsellor, is a specialist with decades of experience in the anxieties that can plague young people, particularly gifted youth. She has been involved in EFT innovations with both school students and staff members.

She explains, ‘Gifted children and adolescents have rich, complex personalities.  They often engage in multiple interests and activities.  They sometimes encounter anxiety-provoking stressors such as multiple deadlines, demanding schedules, external and internal competitiveness, and environments that do not recognize their… needs.’

Students excited about tapping results

From her experiences in trialling EFT in one school for gifted children, she reports that students became so excited about their tapping results that tapping quickly became the school norm for managing stress.

One technological student given to anger outbursts learned EFT, and began tapping on the side of his hand to calm himself during stress situations such as team competitions.  His outbursts ceased, enabling his problem-solving abilities to operate, so that in one activity with robots his insights saved the day for his team.  They became more friendly.  He tapped on his hand while giving a moving speech on the importance of belonging, and later explained that this tapping was calming his anxiety about public speaking.

Several students also felt that EFT enhanced their performance abilities in sports and music competitions. They taught EFT tapping to their teammates, who also reported better focus and improved outcomes.

Unique stress factors

Dr. Gaesser discussed stress factors unique to gifted individuals.  While they share the usual discomforts of other children, this common pattern also includes:

  • feeling out of synch academically or socially
  • overcommitting themselves
  • having self doubts about their intellect in peer classes
  • worries about being socially ostracized for being different
  • hiding their giftedness to be more accepted or to escape bullying
  • being misjudged because of their intensity about a topic or community issue, plus their sensitivity and compassion towards others.

School personnel not trained

As well as common gender pressures (‘girls shouldn’t be smarter than boys’), what can make a situation worse for high-ability students is inadequate training and misunderstanding on the part of school personnel.  This leads to more than average levels of stress and anxieties.

High levels of test anxiety are common with such children and adolescents.

Other typical problems are extreme parental expectations, poor sleep, mood swings, procrastination, frustration outbursts, avoidance of opportunities, fear of making mistakes, perfectionism…. The list goes on.

Tapping:  new solutions

What is new, Dr. Gaesser found, is that EFT has ways of helping multiple stresses.

Even though this overall picture is complex, EFT offers simple, easily available solutions that both teachers and children apply.  She helps young children access EFT through several EFT storybooks now on the market.

Dr. Gaesser rates EFT tapping high on the list of ‘evidence-based, lifelong anxiety management skills’, adding that studies show that applying it lowers a person’s stress hormone, cortisol, by a massive 24% in a one-hour session.

From her own experience Dr. Gaesser reports that EFT has significantly:

  • decreased anxiety for gifted students in fewer sessions than traditional interventions
  • reduced a fear of failure
  • enabled better sleep patterns, leading to benefits such as enjoying time spent with friends because they were less worried
  • lessened or eliminated lack of concentration
  • relieved psychosomatic stress symptoms such as stomach ache and headaches.

Not just for the gifted –

 Obviously, if EFT works so well for the gifted, it can work for everyone else too, as long as it’s performed correctly.

You may choose to explore this leading-edge technique through books and/or videos by certified EFT practitioners on the Internet (beware of imitators), or you may prefer more personal sessions face-to-face or online.

(Information from ‘The College at Brockport, The State University of New York, USA, 2018.    For the full paper from Sage Publishing, email Dr. Gaesser: )

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