Perfectionism can be characterised by the relentless striving for extremely high standards, mainly for yourself but sometimes others too. It involves judging your self-worth based largely on your ability to strive for and achieve such unrelenting standards, which can often leave you feeling pretty rubbish if you don't reach your goals.

Perfectionists often experience negative consequences of setting such demanding standards, yet they continue to go for them despite the huge cost to them. Being a perfectionist isn't the same as being a high-achiever - yes it's true that perfectionists are often high-achievers, but there's a difference between healthy striving and unhealthy perfectionism.

The first step to overcoming perfectionism is to understanding what perfectionism really is, the signs of perfectionism, how cbt for perfectionism works, and how perfectionism therapy can help you.

What is Perfectionism?

Avoiding things in case you fail, and often getting stuck with procrastination, because of an all-or-nothing approach to everything you do (i.e. it's got to be perfect otherwise it's rubbish).

Other people describing you as a perfectionist, perhaps because you struggle to relax or you try to meet your standards even if it means missing out on things.

Judging yourself on your ability to achieve high standards, and repeatedly checking how well you're doing at meeting your standards (i.e. comparing performance with others).

Focusing on what you haven't achieved rather than what you have achieved, often falling into self-criticism and feeling like a failure.

Unrelenting high standards and pushing yourself really hard to meet your goals, and sometimes raising standards because you think they're too easy.

Here are the most common signs of perfectionism I see in my clients:

Signs of Perfectionism

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Perfectionism begins with understanding how your perfectionism developed, how it presents itself, and what maintains it.

We then work on reducing perfectionist behaviours and challenging perfectionist thinking using a variety of CBT tools and techniques (and I can include Mindfulness and Compassion Focused Therapy techniques too if useful).

And lastly we focus on adjusting any perfectionism rules and negative core beliefs, to get you to a place where you can  stop fearing failure and live a life with more balance.

CBT for Perfectionism


Learn how to stop procrastinating and putting things off


Overcome all-or-nothing thinking so that you can find more balance in your life


Break bad habits and learn how to stop falling into the burnout trap


Get over imposter syndrome and finally believe that you're good enough


Learn how to shift from unhealthy perfectionism to healthy striving


Stop self-criticism and start being kind and compassionate towards yourself

Benefits of Therapy for Perfectionism