ACT for perfectionistic, high-achieving and striving behaviours

Introductory level skills workshop to working with clinical perfectionism

3 hours (3 CE credits)

Course Description

What’s a perfectionist?

There is a group of people out there who absolutely love to do things the in the “right” or “perfect” way. They are constantly, relentlessly thinking about how to be better. They may struggle when they ‘drop the ball’ and are petrified at the very idea of making a mistake. These people often judge others by the same stringent standards to which they hold themselves, which can damage their professional and personal relationships.

Consider these examples:

  • a basketball player who practices day and night throwing the ball hundreds of times hoping for the perfect shot
  • a politician that reads her speech over and over and over to make sure she has it mastered before delivering it to her audience
  • your neighbour that prepares before a date by rehearsing every step, trying to create a perfect impression
  • the digital marketer who spends hours late at night in front of the screen searching for the right algorithm in Google

All of these people could be defined as “perfectionists” on some level.

Challenges to changing perfectionist behaviour

Clients who exhibit these traits are often told that these perfectionistic, high-achieving and striving behaviours need to change, because they can be harmful to their lives, their health, and their relationships. However the feedback they get from their peers contradicts this. These same behaviours are socially reinforced. The perfectionists’ past experience is that their impulses are not only workable but rewarded, even when they come at a great price.

ACT provides a solution for perfectionists

What if, instead of demonising perfectionistic behaviours, we teach clients to check whether perfectionistic behaviours are likely to make their lives better or more miserable? How can we coach them to sit with the terrible discomfort that comes with living in an imperfect world? Can they put into action acceptance skills to handle the internal messiness they go through when things go wrong?  Can they learn how to make room to accept themselves as they actually are, instead of as they wish to be?

Because individuals struggling with perfectionistic behaviours often overthink, experience self-doubt, have high standards about their performance, and get hooked on evaluations, experiential exercises are key to undermining these language-based processes. This is precisely why ACT is highly effective for these individuals, which the research literature supports (e.g. Ong 2019).

In this workshop you will learn:

  • An ACT formulation of perfectionistic behaviours that fosters flexible behaviour
  • How to encourage flexible living when considering personal values
  • Acceptance-based interventions to hold core fears the drive striving behaviours
  • Acceptance exercises to handle those harsh, criticising and negative narratives that show up when dealing with perfectionistic behaviours
  • Three micro-skills to live in an imperfect and unpredictable world: decision-making, getting things done without losing one’s self, and finding a sustainable rhythm to do what matters

Who is this workshop for?

This is an introductory level workshop to the topic of perfectionism. It is expected that you already have a working knowledge of the ACT model and have either completed an introduction to ACT workshop or read an ACT textbook.

For those seeking an introductory ACT course, you’ll find an on-demand course  presented by Joe Oliver  here.

If you are interested in an intermediate/advanced level course on perfectionism, you may be interested in our Treating Perfectionism workshop presented by Jennifer Kemp starting on 9th May 2024.

 

Group booking discounts

Contextual Consulting offer discounts for groups of people from the same organisation e.g. an NHS Trust that does not have a contract arrangement with us.

Please email us here  to arrange a group discount or find out more about our CPD contracts here.

If you have disability and require adjustments or accommodation, please email us at to discuss your needs and we will do our best to help you.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • An ACT formulation of perfectionistic behaviours that fosters flexible behaviour
  • How to encourage flexible living when considering personal values
  • Acceptance-based interventions to hold core fears the drive striving behaviours
  • Acceptance exercises to handle those harsh, criticising and negative narratives that show up when dealing with perfectionistic behaviours
  • Three micro-skills to live in an imperfect and unpredictable world: decision-making, getting things done without losing one’s self, and finding a sustainable rhythm to do what matters

This program is sponsored by Contextual Consulting and is approved for CE credits for psychologists. To find out more, including attendance requirements and how to access your certificate, go to our continuing education information page.

ACT for perfectionistic, high-achieving and striving behaviours

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