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Perfectionism is often seen as a desirable trait leading to success and high achievement, however, it can also result in significant stress and mental health consequences making it more challenging to achieve one’s goals. Individuals who struggle with perfectionism strive for unobtainable, high standards and base a significant amount of their self-worth on their achievements. As a result of these impossibly high standards, individuals struggling with perfectionism can become overwhelmed with completing tasks resulting in procrastination, fixating on small details, avoiding school/work, difficulty finishing tasks within a reasonable amount of time, and constantly comparing themselves to others. Common associated mental health concerns are, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.
Therapy can effectively treat perfectionism by allowing individuals to reframe unhelpful thinking patterns, shift negative core beliefs about oneself and use behavioural experiments to challenge perfectionistic rituals and routines. Perfectionism is most commonly treated with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Other effective treatments include Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).