In Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy for Perfectionism Over Time, Dr. Martin M. Antony demonstrates his approach to working with clients wrestling with issues surrounding maladaptive perfectionism. Perfectionism can be defined as a tendency to set standards that are unreasonably high, and to measure an individual’s worth in terms of their ability to meet these standards. Typically, these perfectionistic standards are applied to oneself. Perfectionism is sometimes associated with anxiety or related disorders, and therefore resolving a client’s anxiety may result in a decrease in more debilitating manifestations of perfectionism.
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In this series of six sessions, Dr. Antony works with a young woman who is completing a graduate degree in psychology. She strives for perfection in many areas, including her school work and her family life. She is overly concerned with organizing, planning, and succeeding at everything she does, and also has occasional panic attacks and issues concerning her body image. In these sessions, Dr. Antony helps her to challenge thoughts about not meeting her goals and to learn to deal with the resulting stress rather than giving in to her drive to be perfect.