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What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is the belief that everything must be perfect all the time. A perfectionist sets impossible goals, and feels crushed when they are not achieved. Alternatively, someone who strives to do their best sets challenging but achievable goals.

Those with perfectionistic tendencies are often resistant to change, believing these tendencies are a strength. Digging deeper, they find that perfectionism contributes to a number of problems, including procrastination, stress, anxiety, and depression.

The What is Perfectionism? handout explains the difference between perfectionism and a healthy level of hard work, along with other helpful information. Using this worksheet, clients will gain insight into perfectionism, and learn to differentiate between reasonable and unreasonable expectations.

Following psychoeducation, therapeutic interventions such as recognizing strengths and CBT may be used to promote change.

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