Coaching: uncovering the link with giftedness
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Christopher J. Coulson, MAHPP
Eating Disorders Coach

If you use eating-related behaviors to assist you in managing the world, it is quite possible that you are a member of the community of gifted individuals.

Many of my clients, whether they are initially aware of it or not, can be characterized as gifted individuals. A substantial proportion of those clients manage their stressful interactions with one or another eating disorder.

It is therefore quite possible that you are gifted yourself, and this page should help you determine whether or not this is a possibility. Do not be surprised if you dismiss the idea at first: almost everybody does!

If you want to find out more about giftedness, I have devoted much of a larger site,, to an exploration of that subject. On this page, however, I am only going to look at the commonality that exists between giftedness and eating disorders.

As I started to do the research for this page, I came across the work of Patricia Gatto-Walden, Ph.D., who is a licensed psychologist in Champaign, Illinois. She has identified the following drives and feelings as being frequently found among those with eating disorders. They are also very common among gifted individuals:

  • shame;
  • excessive competitiveness;
  • perfectionism;
  • a need for superiority;
  • self-assessment through others' eyes;
  • a sense of lost personality or identity;
  • separation from spiritual self;
  • loss of control in life; and
  • a sense of being isolated.

Both groups also have in common:

  • intense sensitivity and caring;
  • a desire for greater autonomy:
  • a sense of powerlessness;
  • acute awareness of others' needs;
  • insecurity, vulnerability;
  • hopelessness and a lack of energy; and
  • difficulty in decision-making.

It is sometimes hard to see that these apparently negative traits actually contain an exceptional capability to succeed. However, they are most often experienced as many varieties of self-hate, including constant internal negative 'chatter'.

Often, the response to this apparently permanent negative condition is to hide away, physically or psychologically. Relationships can become superficial because true intimacy in the presence of such negative self-judgment is virtually impossible to achieve.

Even gifted clients, where the evidence of above average intellectual or creative performance is clear to everyone else, tend consistently to undervalue themselves. Their abilities are perceived by themselves as normal and unexceptional. They assess their value not in terms of their real capabilities and achievements but in terms of perceived faults and frailties.

When presented with evidence of their superiority, these clients frequently deny their innate qualities.This is because they fear that they are impostors and that one day they will be found out. Then they will be revealed as the worthless individuals they believe they really are.

There is no truth in this belief. In fact, it is very often the exact opposite of the truth. It is simply that the emotional strand in their lives, with its connection to self-confidence and inner security, has not been fully developed.

Dynamic Life Coaching™, described in greater detail on, is a comprehensive approach to strengthening and rebalancing the whole life. It is a wholly non-judgmental and accepting approach to personal development that recognizes how the physical, intellectual and emotional strands of our lives must all work together.

The result is described very clearly by Patricia Gatto-Walden. She writes that fulfillment for her clients means shifting attention from "the eating disorder voice and attending to the inner truthful messages of respect for one’s body, mind, heart and spirit."

This is a goal that all can understand and attain.


Find out more about the whys and wherefores of being gifted, creative and talented. Visit "The Gifted Way", my blog on all matters to do with gifted existence.

If anything here strikes you as maybe applying to you, and if you wish to explore further, you can schedule a free exploratory visit or 'phone discussion. My contact details are below:

Christopher J. Coulson


Toll-free (N. America): 1-866-761-1392
Freephone (UK): 0800-949-6030
Worldwide: +44-(0)1202-540732

Mailing Address:

89 Commercial Rd Ste: 153
Bournemouth, BH2 5RR, UK

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Photograph courtesy of Philip Greenspun.

Copyright © 2001-2011 Christopher J. Coulson. Information on this web site may be viewed and downloaded free of charge by individuals seeking coaching, counseling or personal therapy. For all other uses of this web site, prior permission of Christopher J. Coulson is required.