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William Macaulay Counselling Perth

Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth WA

Phone 0401 316 977

for enquiries or appointments

Perfectionism Counselling

A perfect sunset

What is Perfectionism

Are you constantly striving for flawlessness and setting impossibly high standards for yourself and others? If so, you might be grappling with perfectionism. Perfectionism is a personality trait that can lead to harsh self-judgment and adversely impact your overall well-being.


Perfectionism is not to be confused with high achievement, setting ambitious goals or striving to be your best, all of which are beneficial for success in life. It's an internal need to prove your self-worth through achievements and obtain approval and validation from others. This relentless pursuit of perfection often leads to an ongoing cycle of unrealistic expectations, self-criticism, and a fear of failure.


Impact on Health and Wellbeing


Perfectionistic behaviour can take a toll on your physical and mental health, leading to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, depression, chronic fatigue, low self-esteem and even eating disorders.


Recognising Perfectionistic Behaviours


Perfectionists typically engage in some of the following active and avoidance behaviours.


Active behaviours:

  • Repeatedly checking for flaws or mistakes

  • Excessive planning, organising and list-making

  • Not knowing when to stop

  • Correcting others

  • Fixating on achieving a flawless end result

  • Reassurance seeking - asking others to check their work to ensure it is acceptable

  • Engaging in excessive self-criticism

  • Slowness - taking an excessive amount of time to complete tasks in comparison to others


Avoidance behaviours:

  • Giving up easily

  • Avoiding situations in which one's performance is tested

  • Procrastinating - not wanting to begin a task until they know they can do it perfectly


Impact on Various Areas of Life


Perfectionism can impact multiple areas of your life, from work and study habits to personal relationships and physical appearance. Acknowledging these areas can be the first step toward positive change.

Causes of Perfectionistic Behaviours


Perfectionistic behaviours can arise from various factors, including:

  • External validation: Perfectionists may have grown up receiving conditional praise or approval from their parents based on their achievements, leading them to associate their worth with success.

  • Fear of judgement: Perfectionists may fear judgement and criticism from others, leading them to strive for unattainable perfection to avoid disapproval. A typical assumption may become entrenched: "If I'm perfect, I won't be rejected, ridiculed, or criticised. I'll be loved and accepted."

  • Low self-esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may believe that perfectionism is the only way to gain acceptance and validation from others.

  • Parental modelling: Having a parent who models perfectionistic behaviours or expresses disapproval when the child's efforts do not result in a perfect outcome.

  • Historic high achievers: People with a history of high achievement sometimes pressurise themselves to continuously achieve these prior high standards.

Counselling for Perfectionism in Perth

If your perfectionistic tendencies are causing distress in your life, seeking professional help is essential. As your therapist, I can support you in developing healthier thought patterns, standards, and behaviours. Through therapy, you can address excessively high personal standards and critical self-evaluations, leading to positive changes and improved well-being. I offer cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), an evidence-based approach to challenge and replace irrational thoughts with healthier ones. I can also provide you with a range of practical tools and techniques to help you eliminate perfectionistic thinking and behaviours.


Contact me today to schedule your first session and take the first step towards breaking free from the burden of perfectionism and embracing a more fulfilling life.

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