Embracing Intensity

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Nov 15, 2022

As neurodivergent creatives, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with too much stuff both in our environment and in our minds. We may be overrun with office supplies, craft supplies, and/or miscellaneous things that support our hyperfixations or latest hyperfocus. The ADHD brain is especially prone to mental clutter, and when our environment is a mess it's even harder to quiet our thoughts. On our last guest call, Nadja Carghetti shared how you can use Marie Kondo's approach to tidy your brain!

Many people think you are either tidy or untidy, but the good news is that tidying is something you can learn! In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she shares how we can systematically tidy our space by getting rid of things that don't spark joy. Marie Kondo’s method of tidying can be applied to your mind as well as your stuff and help prioritize the things we spend our mental energy on.

On this episode of Embracing Intensity, we share our talk with Nadja Carghetti, former tidying coach and host of the Unleash Monday Podcast, on Tidying Up Your Brain, Marie Kondo Style!

In this episode:

  • Why people’s homes reflect their life.
  • Nadja's experience of being a multipotentialite and interested in many things.
  • How growing up messy in her tidy parents’ house led her to believe you were either tidy or untidy.
  • It took a long time to realize that tidying was something you could learn.
  • The systematic decluttering process that can help you clear your space and mind.
  • How learning the KonMari tidying method led to diving deeper into what brought her joy!
  • Finding yourself through the process of tidying.
  • Why tidying is considered a festival rather than a party.
  • The 5 categories of things and the best order to sort them.
  • Sorting through information overload to find the important bits.

* Transcript Available *


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Oct 10, 2022

Building Self-Advocacy

This week on Embracing Intensity, we share our talk with Dr. Matt Zakreski on self-advocacy skills. Self-advocacy is an important skill that can help you take charge of your own life and move toward greater freedom, fulfillment, and happiness. In this episode, we’ll explore the concept of self-advocacy and how it can help us feel more empowered in our own daily life.

The goal of self-advocacy is to actively advocate on your own behalf to get your needs met. To be a strong self-advocate, you have to have a clear understanding of your own needs. This is important because it will determine your goals and how you will achieve them. If you have a goal in mind, you need to have a plan to get there. 

The first step to positive change is to know what you are good at and what you are not good at. Explore how you can use your strengths to your advantage, and use your weaknesses as opportunities for growth. 

When you’re trying to make a change, bringing in allies is powerful because it can give you insight into the world that you don’t have. They can help you see things that you wouldn’t have thought about. Gifted and neurodivergent folks often feel like they have to go it alone in their adult life. Self advocates use their support system such as colleagues, service providers, family members, or peer support. They aren’t afraid to ask for help!

Setting the Stage!

It is very important to set the stage and prepare yourself for the conversation ahead of time so that you can be as successful as possible. The best way to do that is to set aside time to prepare and to have all of your notes and your ideas and your facts ready. This way you will be able to focus and be more effective during the conversation.

Also, consider doing it at a time and in a place where you can expect to have success. Set up a good place and time to talk about your needs, but give enough context of what you’d like to discuss so the other person doesn’t assume the worst. 

Before we start with self-advocacy, we also need to consider the person we are advocating to and understand that their strengths and challenges might not be the same as ours. We need to be specific and tangible and help them take ownership and buy into the solution. By taking on a leadership role in the conversation we can help guide its direction.

In order to give yourself the best chance possible to succeed, you have to be prepared to be flexible and let go of rigid expectations. If you are getting resistance from your boss or others, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, what do I need to do to get to the thing I want? Let them play a meaningful role in shaping what you need to do next. What new things can you try to improve the lives of people you’re working with? What employment opportunities might forward your career?

Supporting Long Term Success

It is also helpful to consider the benefits to everyone and make it a win-win. Explore how you both get the most out of the situation, help build and strengthen relationships and improve the lives of others. Getting what you want in the moment may not pay off in the long run if it means burning a bridge. Communicating clearly and assertively can help get our own needs met without compromising the needs of others.

It’s important to be specific with your plan for following up or life might get in the way. Self-Advocacy is a lifelong process of constantly setting and re-setting boundaries. This process helps you to move forward in a positive way, towards being more successful as a self-advocate.

Join us to learn more about self-advocacy with Dr. Matt!

In this episode

  • Good self-advocates get super clear on what they need.
  • Tips for playing to your strengths, using your weaknesses as opportunities for growth, and taking steps to overcome them.
  • Exploring your resources, connecting with allies, and recognizing the kind of help that’s available.
  • The importance of timing and coming prepared to set yourself up for success.
  • Setting clear goals to improve our own lives and the lives of others.
  • Developing meta-communication and self-determination skills.
  • How flexibility can help us get what we need in the long run.
  • Meeting in the middle to set up a win-win solution.
  • Getting buy-in and setting everyone up for success.
  • Communicating assertively instead of passively or aggressively.
  • The importance of specific, tangible, and direct communication.
  • Setting a clear plan to follow up for success.


Matt’s website

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Sep 26, 2022

I am so thrilled to get to share Dr. Kimberly Douglass’ talk on Decolonizing Neurodivergence!

From Violence to Love

Do you ever wonder why we get into loops on social media platforms when we talk about neurodivergence? We have convinced ourselves this conversation is just about validating each other and understanding the traits of various conditions. The very definition of what it means to be neurodivergent is rooted in colonialist thinking and behavior.
It’s clear to me: we don’t want to talk about the hard changes we have to make to ourselves, to our self-image; the hard changes we should demand from our society.

We keep the conversation at the level of defining a problem; defining ourselves as the problem. We are willing to be the problem as long as we don’t have to challenge ourselves, other people, our families, our employers, our communities, our worlds.

You are not a problem!!! Write this down: YOU ARE THE WAY!!!

But, you know we talk about neurodivergence in ways that allow the powerful to hold on to their power. We are more comfortable with this than risking being disliked, having things taken from us or feeling powerful inside our own skin. Even the word power makes us uncomfortable. These are the ways we have been taught. This is colonization.Regardless of what you have been taught, YOU are the way to transformation for yourself and for others. With guidance on how to think about neurodivergence, we can help see yourself just as you are!

YOU are the way to this new understanding…. for yourself, for your team, for your community.

Let’s discuss here on my weekly blog:

About Kimberly:

Dr Kimberly Douglass is the full-time owner of Kimberly Douglass, PhD, LLC. Dr Douglass and her team are designing a world in which neurodivergent people feel they belong. The team fuses disability advocacy with design thinking. Douglass’ team designs digital and paper content, such as courses, ebooks, journals, workbooks and the Neurodivergently Thinking cards. Also, the team offers premium 1 to 1 coaching services.
Dr Douglass’ signature product is her Decolonizing Neurodivergence course.

Dr Douglass and her team design tools that validate the neurodivergent experience.

The team’s content and services challenge everyday processes that marginalize and shame neurodivergent people. Dr Douglass became a full-time business owner after working as staff, peer-reviewed researcher, faculty and administrator in higher education for over 17 years. She began the advocacy work over 12 years ago, when she became the chief advocate for her Son who is neurodivergent. She has since gotten more in touch with her own neurodivergence. Dr Douglass is married to Dean Tate and lives in Tennessee.

In this episode, Kimberly Shares:

  • Her thoughts on growing up neurodivergent and breaking from the system.
  • Moving from seeking validation to examining systems.
  • Some common threads of neurodivergence.
  • How we are living in a culture of consumption.
  • Why no one wins under the current capitalist paradigm.
  • Creating an agenda to make change.
  • Why neurodivergence often comes with trauma.
  • Examining how do we know what we think we know?
  • The focus on compliance in our schools.
  • Why we accept less, and deserve ease & flow.
  • What neurodivergence Brings to the table.
  • Supporting each other & building relationships.
  • Examining our own systems we live in.
  • Moving away from defensiveness & denial to make positive change.
  • The elements of white supremacy culture.
  • How you can support Kimberly’s work!


Transcript Available on Embracing Intensity's Website

Support Kimberly’s work and receive the first Decolonizing Neurodivergence Book!

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Jun 6, 2022
Taking a little pause to focus on moving & back end stuff.
May 23, 2022

Today’s episode is a recording of our talk with Leela Sinha on the intersection of neurodivergence and gender. This is definitely not an “inside-the-box” topic. You can find the full discussion in the Embracing Intensity community at  

Show Highlights:

  • The overlap between autism and gender diversity
  • How neurodivergence is defined as a very broad umbrella term for the different ways that people’s brains function
  • Why the definition of queerness has changed over time but is still used as an umbrella term
  • The overlap between queerness and neurodivergence
  • How growing up with a different sense of known reality will cause attitudes and moves of self-protection
  • How deconstruction occurs in society and feels “right” to stigmatized people
  • Why identifying as non-binary or trans has become trendy as people have become more aware of their options for exploration
  • Challenges in the non-binary gender spaces because of bias even in inclusion views
  • How a fully nourishing environment helps neurodivergent kids understand their options and feel safe to express themselves
  • How the progression occurs in media representation for queer representation and non-binary representation
  • How pathologizing neurodivergence or queerness can affect a person’s ability to access resources and care
  • Why accessibility is often not accounted for in the help and support spaces




Connect with our community: 

Connect with Leela Sinha:   Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and  


May 9, 2022

We all have our “beyond our wildest imagination” dreams that we never realistically hope to achieve. This is not true for today’s guest. She truly is living her dream in a place she never thought possible, and she’s teaching others to reach for the unimaginable also. Join us to learn more!

Sadie Smiley created Passive Income Pathways, where she gives expert advice about online businesses and how passive income can help achieve your wildest goals. She pushes people to learn how to make full-time money with part-time work, teaching them to “create, sell, kick ass, and repeat.”


Show Highlights:

  • Why Sadie is intensely passionate about helping people make money beyond their wildest dreams
  • The key to Sadie’s success: networking with others with different superpowers as a trade-off for the things she doesn’t love to do
  • How Sadie’s personal brand of intensity in being “too much” means that she submerges herself 100% into whatever she does
  • Why a time audit color code can be a game-changer for entrepreneurs
  • How to charge your “happy price” and feel good about it
  • How Sadie, with ADHD and autism, was a gifted student with good grades who had problems following rules
  • How Sadie helps clients make money, no matter what barriers they have
  • How Sadie learned where she was “masking” herself and learned to feel loved, cared for, and respected through the love of her husband
  • How Sadie’s intensity has felt out of control many times because of her neurodiversity and personality issues, but she has learned to “grow through” the intensity
  • How Sadie uses her fire for good in channeling her intensity into coaching and helping others
  • How Sadie feels safe in her life now and doesn’t worry about doing things wrong “according to the experts”
  • Why showing up consistently for her family, clients, and readers has helped Sadie manifest everything she has achieved
  • How to focus on something small that is within your control when you feel the “shame spiral”
  • Why Sadie loves helping others identify their passions and interests to give them what they need
  • Sadie’s parting advice: “Work hard on showing up authentically and with consistency. Do something every day to move your business forward, and success will be the only option. Picture your wildest, craziest dream–and then work backward from it to show up every day to make it happen.”



Connect with Sadie at or here to learn about the Passive Income Pathways membership program.

Visit for more information and to learn about future events!

Apr 27, 2022

Today’s episode is a recording from last fall about time management from a neurodivergent perspective. We are joined on the guest call by Emily Roach-Griffin, who is ADHD and gifted, and her insights resonate soundly with many of us. She is a business coach and speaker at BizBFF who loves helping business owners and those with an entrepreneurial spirit to build businesses and lives they love. Join us to hear Emily’s nuggets of wisdom about practical time management strategies!


Show Highlights:

  • Journaling prompts about what’s most difficult about time management
  • Why time management should be thought of as “task management”
  • Why we need to unravel and untether ourselves from much of our traditional thinking about productivity and self-worth
  • The importance of a toolbox of strategies, realizing that different tools may be effective on different days:
    • Tools to help with “time blindness” and time awareness, like a timer and to-do list
    • Tools to help with being on time, like an app 
    • Tools to help with tasks, like breaking large tasks into “baby tasks”
    • Tools to help prioritize tasks, like containers
  • How Emily has “game-ified” her household tasks to change her perspective
  • Why time management is NOT about getting more done in less time
  • How to use a check-in system with your energy level to determine what is possible
  • Why avoiding certain tasks might be our attempts to conceal our pain


Connect with Emily: Biz BFF and Facebook

Why Bother: Discover the Desire for What’s Next by Jennifer Louden

Visit to find the library of all EI guest calls and to RSVP to future events!


Apr 11, 2022

Today’s show carries a timely message for those of us who returned to work or school after the anxiety-ridden shutdown of the pandemic. As we try to move forward, many of us still face anxiety and burnout. My guest’s message of tapping into your intuition and doing things outside the box is relevant to almost everyone. Join us to learn more!


Cam Werley-Gonzales is an intuitive, living visionary, gifted embodiment expert, and intuitive unschooling catalyst. She is the owner of the Cambria Institute, a company that celebrates learning and living fully outside the proverbial education “box.” With over 25 years as an expert educator, it is Cam’s deepest conviction that while learners can engage with some success in typical schools, they are optimally served by alternate learning pathways, most notably “unschooling.” The Cambria Institute supports gifted families to embody their giftedness in all areas of life. The truth is that we get to learn, friend, work, love, parent, hobby, and enjoy all the things that come along with this intense and massively phenomenal gifted life with ease and alignment, uniquely in our own way. 


Show Highlights:


  • Why Cam is intensely passionate about unschooling and her family’s unconventional life of travel and location independence as digital nomads
  • How Cam opened an alternative-style brick and mortar school in Pasadena in 2019–right before the pandemic chaos began
  • Why the Cambria Curated Community (CCC) was formed as a community of unschooling families
  • How Cam’s personal brand of intensity means big feelings and big emotions–all the time
  • How Cam’s intensity affected her in childhood with the need to hide her true self and be a people-pleaser in her family
  • How Cam learned “to play the school game” really well as a kid but was traumatized, in part because of Pragmatic Language Impairment
  • Differences in Pragmatic Language Impairment (PLI) and autism
  • How Cam noticed communication differences the most in relationship with her spouse, who comes from a different cultural background
  • How Cam learned to tone down and tune herself out in her professional career as a teacher and just follow what she was told to do
  • How Cam’s intensity got out of control when she was homeschooling her oldest son
  • How Cam uses her fire for good to help families learn unschooling and live intuitively
  • How unschooling is defined: “Trusting that each person will intuitively be drawn to learn all the things they need to learn in their lifetime to tap into who they are as individuals so that their learning caters directly to them. The focus is on self-direction in learning.”
  • How our intuition relates to our authenticity as a unique person and promotes emotional intelligence
  • How Cam harnesses the power of her intensity by tuning into her happiness and joy with her life, family, and work
  • Why Cam adopted the personal habit of giving herself the gift of “slow mornings” 
  • How Cam helps others use their own fire by teaching people to tap into their true intuition and authenticity
Mar 28, 2022

Today’s episode is the Embracing Intensity Community Call with guest speaker Alexandra Loves. The topic is Drama vs. Passion, which is highly relevant to intense people. I’m excited to share this with you! You can find the full discussion at

As I’m working hard to finish out this school year, I am busy behind the scenes with some great projects planned for this coming summer and fall, and I’ll be sharing more about those later. Enjoy the call with Alexandra!


Show Highlights:

  • How Alexandra defines the concept of drama vs. passion: “Passion is an intense desire or emotion sourced from within from a loving place. Drama is a chaotic, ungrounded emotional desire that comes from a place of fear and is sourced from ‘out there’.”
  • A personal example of a conversation Alexandra had recently with someone about their passion–but it felt manipulative 
  • What it feels like when someone says, “You are being dramatic.”
  • How Alexandra has learned to look for clarity and mutual trust in relationships
  • Why your passions are worth protecting with high standards and boundaries
  • How to deal with intense emotions and discern between drama and passion


Connect with Alexandra and claim a free download, Unstuck: Remedy for Internal Toxicity:

Find her Woke Wisdom Podcast

Join our community:  

Mar 14, 2022

Imposter syndrome is something that most people have felt at some point or another. Intense people may feel this in magnified ways, as the world tells them they are not welcome as they are. Join us on this guest call to learn more!

Kate Arms is a return guest to the show, and I’m thrilled to welcome her back for this guest call. Kate is a classic overthinker, high achiever, and multipotentiality who exudes intensity. Her career has spanned being a lawyer, arts administrator, coach for gifted and twice-exceptional adults and parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, and an Agile Coach in a high-tech company. She is the author of several books and has experience in coaching, leadership development, and psychology. Kate is here to help us understand imposter syndrome and how to reduce our suffering within it by building more connections. 


Show Highlights:


  • Kate defines imposter syndrome as “a group of symptoms clustered together to make us feel like we don’t belong”
  • How symptoms can include anxiety, hypervigilance self-consciousness, self-sabotage, perfectionism, and a sense of hiding who you really are
  • How these symptoms pair with suffering to make us feel awful and ashamed
  • How symptom relief and root-cause relief work together
  • Why imposter syndrome boils down to belonging, connection, and a feeling of, “They won’t want me if they know who I really am.”
  • How we are programmed (especially intense people) to think we are not welcome as we are because of childhood shaming, being told to “tone down,” and being too much or too sensitive
  • How the “mismatch” occurs and how to address it
  • How the process of learning happens when we start out blissfully ignorant
  • The difference between identity and character vs. skills and experiences
  • Why we must to learn to be comfortable in being ourselves–even if it makes others uncomfortable
  • Why it’s hard to risk having the courage to overwhelm others with who we really are
  • How we can build our sense of belonging through building our community
  • How feeling connection with at least three people in your group will foster your feeling of belonging



Hear the follow-up conversation with Kate: 

Feb 28, 2022

Today’s show focuses on the twice-exceptional experience. As with so many people in this line of work, my guest looks to provide for students and families the help and support that he needed–and didn’t have as he grew up. Join us to learn more!


Barry Gelston is the president of GHF, Gifted Home Education Forum. They do amazing work with gifted and twice-exceptional families. Barry is an educator through “Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse,” an online homeschool program focused on providing individualized educational services for gifted and 2E learners. In this episode, we enjoyed discussing how being 2E ourselves led us to the work of helping and supporting 2E families. 


Show Highlights:

  • Why Barry is intensely passionate about making a difference by being a positive activist who loves his family and tries hard to be a good person in the world
  • How Barry’s personal brand of intensity shows up with constant focus and rumination about one topic at a time and being aware of sensory overload
  • How Barry grew up totally dysregulated as an underachiever with social and emotional issues from being in a divorced family
  • How Barry approached his problems with his attempt at executive functioning skills to become a good student and make more of his life
  • What Barry would say to the adults in his life “back then”
  • Why Barry’s work today revolves around what he needed as a 2E child
  • How Barry learned to overcome his reading struggles and dyslexia to become a voracious reader
  • Why wonderful things are happening in strengths-based approaches with 2E students
  • How Barry’s cultural identity formed largely around growing up in a Jewish family in Queens
  • Why Barry always felt like he had to tone himself down or tune himself out as he grew up and learned the art of conversation
  • How Barry’s intensity felt out of control in early adulthood because of social pressures
  • How Barry uses his fire for good through teaching and his work, trying to fix for others what he wishes would have been fixed for him
  • How mindfulness, meditation, self-centering, and 2E awareness have helped Barry harness the power of his intensity
  • How creating systems and structures has helped with executive functioning for Barry–and how he uses it to help students
  • How Barry helps others use their own fire through connecting and learning from each other



Connect with Barry:  GHF Learners and Mr. Gelston's One Room Schoolhouse


Feb 14, 2022

Today’s show looks at the differences and overlap of giftedness, twice-exceptionality, autism, and ADHD within the overexcitability framework. Join us to learn more!


Chris Wells is a writer, therapist, and researcher on all things Dabrowski. She has a nuanced take on the concept of overexcitability, a topic on which she has focused much time, energy, and study. Chris is our first three-time guest on the podcast, having appeared most recently to discuss positive disintegration. Let’s hear more from Chris!


In this episode:

  • How Chris came to overexcitability in 2014 on her quest to learn more about twice-exceptionality
  • How Chris was identified as gifted as a kid but felt more disabled and mentally ill
  • How Chris felt broken and emotionally intense by the time she was 40
  • How overexcitability turned around her perceptions of herself as problematic and defective
  • How Chris became hyperfocused on understanding overexcitability
  • How Chris found Dabrowski’s early work, which identified four types of overexcitability: psychomotor, imaginational, sensual, and emotional
  • How the gifted education world has finally accepted overexcitability as a characteristic of giftedness
  • Why overexcitability is an umbrella term that brings together all the elements of neurodivergence
  • Why Chris says autism and ADHD are “clearly neuro-cousins”
  • Why there are so many misunderstandings about overexcitability in gifted education
  • How overexcitability brings a whole different reality to those who have it
  • How Chris’s imagination would take her to another place and another reality when she was growing up–and overexcitability gave her the answers for it
  • The problem in learning to live with overexcitability
  • Why giftedness is a meaningful difference, even in adults
  • How we can best support those with overexcitability in light of the knowledge we now have and the labels we use
  • Why we struggle as a whole to figure out the right language to use


Check out our calendar of upcoming events:


Jan 24, 2022

Today’s show introduces you to a difference-maker in the world of neurodivergence. Her collective endeavors to advocate for kids, parents, and families are truly making a difference. Join us to learn more!

Debbie Reber is an author, speaker, and parenting activist. In 2016, she founded Tilt Parenting, a website, top podcast, and online community aimed at helping parents raise differently wired kids from a place of confidence, connection, and joy. Debbie’s most recent book is Differently Wired: A Parent's Guide to Raising an Atypical Child with Confidence and Hope.


In this episode:

  • Get to know Debbie, who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 17-year-old neurodivergent child; they lived in the Netherlands for several years prior to moving back to the US
  • Why Debbie is intensely passionate about learning, being curious about everything, writing, helping kids and families, and running
  • How Debbie’s personal brand of intensity comes through in her inability to stop doing things and not being able to stop or rest
  • How Debbie grew up as a misunderstood child and class clown who channeled her energy into sports because it was the one area in which she was competent
  • How Debbie, as a high school student, worked just hard enough to get by and didn’t care about applying herself
  • How cultural factors affected Debbie: her family didn’t prioritize academics and didn’t teach her to value herself; there were strict religious rules that she wasn’t allowed to question
  • How Debbie’s best friend’s family w
  • ere the ones who introduced her to museums, travel, and a world outside her small Pennsylvania town
  • How Debbie learned to tone herself down during her college years because she wanted to be perceived in a certain way to achieve her “means to an end”
  • Why Debbie felt close to burnout during COVID and learned to prioritize what’s really important to her
  • How she has learned to enjoy her life more and not work so much
  • How Debbie uses her fire and drive to help people and make a difference
  • How making things sparks her and fulfills her
  • How Debbie has learned to be really organized from her beginning with poor executive functioning skills and is constantly hacking her own systems and processes
  • Why Debbie’s discipline around exercise and fitness is the key to mental and emotional health for her
  • How Debbie helps others use their fire by helping them create the lives they want
  • Why Debbie began Tilt Parenting almost six years ago because there were so few resources for parents of neurodivergent kids
  • How more and more adults talking about their neurodivergence is helping to “fuel the movement


Connect with Debbie:


Books by Debbie mentioned in this episode:



Jan 10, 2022
Welcome to 2022! In today’s solo episode, I’m reviewing some of our most downloaded episodes from 2021 and sharing our upcoming guest speaker series and topics already scheduled for this year. It’s going to be a great year, so come along for the ride with me!

Show Highlights:

The countdown of our top ten most downloaded episodes from 2021:

#10: Ep. 231 Intuitive Flow with Kari Betton
Our July Guest Call was on Intuitive Flow and Creativity. Kari is a coach and mentor for highly sensitive and twice-exceptional people, and she has a passion for helping them find their innate sense of intuitive flow.

#9: Ep. 239 Perspectives in Giftedness with Gail Post
Being gifted can complicate many situations in life. It is wonderful to know that empathetic and supportive professionals are dedicating their lives to advocacy for these individuals. Learn more with psychotherapist Gail Post.

#8: Ep. 229 Thinking Patterns
I have seen a lot of posts about the overlap and similarities between ADHD and Autism, and it got me thinking about some observations I’d made both personally and professionally testing neurodivergent kids over the years. I also asked for feedback from neurodivergent people on social media about the patterns they related to most.

#7: Ep. 235 Playing with Your Inner Critic with Jeff Harry
This show allows you to listen to our recent group call with Jeff Harry of Rediscover Your Play. Jeff provides tips, insights, and interactive exercises to learn more about “Playing With Your Inner Critic.” Find the full discussion in the Embracing Intensity Community.

#6: Ep. 202 Chipping Away at Societal Conditioning with Julia R. Wild
This show focuses on highly sensitive people. My guest loves helping HSPs uncover the layers of conditioning put on them by society and bloom in their uniqueness. Julia R. Wild is a bestselling author, spiritual teacher, and trauma educator with a Master’s degree in psychology. She is also a writing, creativity, and life coach.

#5: Ep. 207 “But I’m Not Really THAT Smart”
I’ve heard a lot more comments lately along the lines of, “I relate to your work, but I’m not really gifted.” In this episode, I discuss why gifted folks might not recognize their own gifts, along with some resources to explore if you suspect that you might be gifted.

#4: Ep. 236 Gifted and 2E Assessment
This solo episode is about a topic that I’ve thought about for a long time, so I’m happy to bring it to you. We will discuss getting an assessment as a gifted or twice-exceptional adult, so I hope you find my thoughts and tips helpful.

#3: Ep. 208 Coaching and Mentoring Neurodivergent Adults with Dr. Kimberly Douglass
I found this guest in the most unusual place: TikTok! I first noticed her work with gifted and twice-exceptional people, and I knew I had to have her on the show. Dr. Kimberly Douglass is president and CEO of Remote Learning Solutions.

#2: Ep. 226 Asynchronous Development in Gifted Adults with Tiff Choumm
Our June Guest Call was on Asynchronous Development in Gifted Adults. Asynchronous development is a hallmark of the gifted experience, when we may have developed far ahead of our peers in some areas and have fallen behind in others. This can continue into adulthood, especially for those who are also twice-exceptional, and it can impact many aspects of our life experiences. Find the full discussion in the Embracing Intensity Community.

#1: Ep. 205 Twice Exceptionality–When Giftedness Meets ADHD
Last year, I participated in an event called Camp ADHD, where folks around the world shared talks and discussion on topics related to ADHD. I spoke about twice-exceptionality, specifically as it relates to ADHD, and the topic seemed to resonate with many, so I decided to share my talk on twice-exceptionality on the podcast as well.

I’m super excited to announce our 2022 guest speakers and general topics! (Specific details are subject to change.) You can find the schedule listed in the events calendar on the Embracing Intensity Community, and it will soon be on the 2E Connection and Embracing Intensity website calendars!

January 22–Leela Sinha, from Ep. 7: The Intersection of Queerness and Neurodivergence

February 19–Alexandra Loves, from Ep. 67: Passion vs. Drama

March 19–Boontarika Sripom, from Ep. 177: Play

April 16–Cosette “CoCo” Leary, from Ep. 181: Building Confidence and Resilience

May 21–Aileen Kelleher, from Ep. 241: Perfectionism

June 18–Mara McLoughlin, from Ep. 230: Neurodivergent Social Connection

August 20–Dr. Kimberly Douglass, from Ep. 208: Navigating Systems as a Neurodivergent

September 17–Dr. Matt Zakreski, from Ep. 240: Self-Advocacy

October 15–Nadja Careghetti, from Ep. 198: Tidying Up Your Brain (Marie Kondo-Style)

November 19–Julia Wild, from Ep. 202: How to Heal


Find more information at

Jan 10, 2022

Today’s guest has wonderful Instagram posts, many of them covering her work with twice-exceptional adults. I’m a fan of hers, and she’s a fan of the podcast, so it’s exciting to introduce her to the Embracing Intensity audience!


Aileen Kelleher is a licensed clinical social worker, therapist, and coach. Her therapy practice in Chicago specializes in helping gifted and twice-exceptional children build social-emotional skills, self-compassion, and confidence to recover from anxiety, depression, and other mental health difficulties. Her international coaching practice focuses on helping gifted and 2E women harness their talents to help them find fulfillment and fun in their personal, professional, and social lives.


Show Highlights:


  • Why Aileen is intensely passionate about working with 2E people and sharing tools and resources
  • How Aileen’s personal brand of intensity manifests in her passion and her ability to embrace conflict and argumentative engagement; she appears intimidating to others and feels emotions deeply
  • Growing up, Aileen experienced bullying from her peers that put her “on guard” with anxiety and fear where there was the capacity for negative emotions; she also had an early sense of social justice
  • How Aileen identifies now as a 2E person who has anxiety, depression, and some ADHD characteristics
  • In school, Aileen was a student who was eager to please her teachers and experienced solid support from her mother; she struggled to fit in and be accepted with peers
  • How, as she grew older, she began challenging authority, rebelling, and calling out injustice
  • How being from a large, Irish Catholic family trained her to use direct bluntness that not everyone accepts
  • How Aileen learned to tone herself down and tune herself out by escaping in reading books and watching TV; in later life, she numbed herself through substance abuse to “check out” from reality
  • How Aileen experienced her out-of-control intensity through raging at people as a young person and now uses writing, exercise, and art as ways to maintain control
  • How Aileen has learned not to be “the biggest voice” in the room but to lift up and make room for the voices of others in community and collaboration
  • How Aileen uses her fire for good by being helpful and learning all that she can about what she feels passionate about; she has also learned to admit her mistakes and keep going
  • How Aileen helps other 2E adults find meaning, joy, and purpose in their lives
  • How relationships with family and friends have helped Aileen learn to reach out for help and trust herself
  • Why Aileen likes helping others define and find their personal values
  • How ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) helps gifted kids figure out what they care about beyond simply proving how smart they are

Parting words from Aileen: “You are OK just the way you are, even if you feel like you don’t belong in a certain situation. That doesn’t mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with you, and it’s OK to ask for help if you need it. Gifted and 2E can have full and satisfied lives, and the fact that we are different shouldn’t stop us from pursuing what we want--and what everyone else gets to have.”



Find Aileen on Instagram or at Her work with kids is at