Enter Paula Prober’s “Rain forest”—an apt metaphor for the gifted experience and the inspiration behind Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth.
According to Paula, “While all ecosystems are beautiful and make valuable contributions to the whole, rain forests are particularly complex: multilayered, highly sensitive, colorful, intense, creative, fragile, overwhelming, and misunderstood, while thick with possibility and pulsing with life, death, and transformation. You could say that a rain forest has far more activity than, say, a meadow or a wheat field. The rain forest is not a better ecosystem, just more complicated. It also makes an essential contribution to the planet when allowed to be itself, rather than when cut down and turned into something that it is not. The term ‘rainforest mind’ covers more than just thinking, cognition, or brain. It includes heart, soul, body, and spirit.”
In her new book, Paula leads us along the pathways that make up the labyrinthine thought processes of rainforest-minded individuals. By sharing stories from her case files, accumulated over her 25 years as a psychotherapist, she presents narratives to which we can relate and through which we may gain insight into ourselves. These cases eloquently illustrate the breadth of giftedness, beyond what we typically consider as gifted traits—intelligence, achievement, etc.—and into the emotional aspects. Topics covered include intensity, empathy, perfectionism, procrastination, creativity, loneliness, and spirituality, among others. And Paula presents strategies to respond to these issues within the context of her clients’ therapies. The back matter includes 108 endnotes and a wide array of recommended, and truly useful, resources (both books and online options) broken down by chapter for ease of reference.
I found Your Rainforest Mind to be both riveting and relevant, with the examples Paula chose to share useful and relatable to other rainforest-minded individuals who would be inclined to pick up this book. Though, of course, Your Rainforest Mind will also appeal to those who live with, work with, counsel, educate, or are curious about the gifted. By the way, if you’re asking yourself, “Do I have a rainforest mind?”, Paula provides a revealing 23-question highly unscientific quiz at the beginning of her book that might help you figure that out!
The degree to which rainforest-minded people have difficulty coming to terms or living with their unique minds varies. Some are able to navigate their journeys on their own; others require a bit more guidance from time to time. At those points, seeking the help of a trained psychotherapist—particularly one familiar with giftedness—should be an option that’s always on the table. With open minds, understanding, and appropriate support, we can all become our most authentic selves. And Your Rainforest Mind is one more tool to help us do just that.
For posts related to Paula’s work and advocacy efforts, visit her blog here: https://rainforestmind.wordpress.com/