TPP 362: Dr. Chris Wells Explains the Theory of Positive Disintegration

TILT Parenting: Raising Differently Wired Kids

Feb 20 2024 • 38 mins

I have such a fascinating conversation for you today. A few months ago, I heard about something called the Theory of Positive Disintegration — a theory created by K. Dabrowski, whose name I was familiar with because of his bringing attention to the idea that gifted children have inborn traits known as overexcitabilities – and I was instantly curious. Positive Disintegration – what does that mean exactly? It sounded complicated, and good, but also messy. So I wanted to know more. That’s when I learned of the work of Dr. Chris Wells, who is the founding president of the Dąbrowski Center and who is dedicated to sharing knowledge and resources about this profound theory and the psychology of giftedness. I invited Chris on the show to explore the Theory of Positive Disintegration with us, and fortunately for all of us, they said yes. And I will just say upfront — there is a lot that goes into understanding this theory and the implications it has for our differently wired children. So in today’s episode, we are only scratching the surface of this theory. But I am so excited for the opportunity to share this conversation because I believe this fascinating framework has the potential to offer a new perspective on neurodivergence and mental health that is important for families in our community to explore. One last thing, this episode includes mention of suicidality and suicide attempts, so if those are trigger topics for you, please take care of yourself while listening.   About Chris Wells Chris Wells, PhD, LSW, is a neurodivergent writer, social worker, and Dąbrowski scholar with a passion for studying and applying the theory of positive disintegration. As the founding president of the Dąbrowski Center and co-host of the Positive Disintegration Podcast, Chris is dedicated to sharing knowledge and resources about this profound theory and the psychology of giftedness.Chris provides specialized consulting services to clinicians and educators internationally, delivering deep insights into positive disintegration and its practical applications. They also offer their unique blend of lived experience and professional expertise as an advocate and speaker for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Chris lives with their partner and teenage son in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.   Things you'll learn: What the Theory of Positive Disintegration is and how it offers an alternative perspective on mental health struggles What the five domains of Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities How the connection between overexcitabilities and the autonomic nervous system can provide insights into nervous system regulation How the Theory of Positive Disintegration fits in with traditional therapeutic modalities How anxiety and depression might be signs of growth and development   Resources mentioned: Chris Well’s substack Positive Integration The Dabrowski Center The Positive Disintegration Podcast Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities “Mellow Out,” They Say. If I Only Could: Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright by Michael Piechowski Michael Piechowski Adults with Overexciteabilities Facebook Group Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults edited by Dr. Susan Daniels and Dr. Michael Piechowski Welcome to Positive Disintegration (Positive Disintegration Podcast) Depression and Anxiety in Development (Positive Disintegration Podcast) Positive Disintegration in Children and Adolescents (Positive Disintegration Podcast) Disintegration and Neurodivergence (Positive Disintegration Podcast) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit