Most perfectionists deny that they are perfectionistic.  They like to think that they are striving toward excellence but that isn’t quite true – they want to be perfect and figure  that if they try really, really, really hard, they can get there. Some even secretly think that it is good to be perfectionistic. They don’t realize that they are driving themselves toward an impossible goal and will never be satisfied. Perfectionism is different from wanting to be good, excellent or even superb. 

Perfection is a word, a concept, a star way out there in some other galaxy.  You are never going to get to it.  Keep your eye on the general direction because it steadies your journey but, if you believe that you will reach it, you are setting yourself up for self- hatred and you are setting other people up to feel like they always let you down.

If you are an early career clinician, a professor who teaches interviewing skills, or a clinical supervisor, you will find my newest book, “What Do I Say? The Therapist’s Guide To Answering Client’s Questions” (with C. Waehler, published by John Wiley, 2011) a  practical, useful addition to your library. 


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