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Health Implications of Perfectionism and How to Overcome It

Perfectionism is when you believe that everything you do must be without any mistakes or errors. You might feel bad about yourself or like you’re a failure when you make a mistake. If you’re a perfectionist, you’re always trying to be perfect, believing that imperfection is not acceptable. This way of thinking can be harmful to your health.

What Are the Signs of Perfectionism?

Many people are perfectionists, often in a specific area in their lives. If you always want to achieve perfection in everything you do, you might be a full-time perfectionist. Here are the clear-cut signs of a perfectionist:

  1. You procrastinate a task until you’re sure that you can execute it flawlessly.
  2. You fall behind others when completing the exact same task.
  3. You believe that the results are the most important part of the task.
  4. You don’t consider a task done unless it is perfect in your view.

What Mental Health Issues Are Linked to Perfectionism?

Perfectionism can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression can be caused by the pressure you put on yourself to complete a task or to meet a goal. Anxiety and depression can also be caused by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt you may have when you cannot complete a task or meet a goal.

How Is Perfectionism Treated?

Perfectionism is a difficult thing to deal with on your own. However, there is help available in the form of therapy. A therapist will work with you to find the root cause of your perfectionism and help you to manage it. This will involve using the multidimensional perfectionism scale to assess your perfectionism.

Here are three therapies used to help people overcome perfectionism:

1. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy that helps people change their thinking patterns and behaviours. This type of therapy can be helpful for people who have perfectionistic tendencies. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people learn to accept errors and not to let perfectionism stand in their way.

2. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can help people with perfectionism by teaching them how to manage the all-or-nothing thinking that often goes along with this condition. Hypnotherapy can help people learn to see mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures. This can help perfectionists become more flexible and less anxious.

3. Family Systems Therapy

The family unit is often explored in therapy to see how perfectionism developed and impacted the individual. In many cases, perfectionism can be traced back to early childhood experiences and messages received from parents or other family members.

For example, a child constantly told that they needed to be perfect to be loved or accepted by their family may grow up to be a perfectionist. This need to be perfect can lead to many problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders.


Perfectionism can have several negative health implications, both mentally and physically. However, it is also clear that there are ways to overcome perfectionism. If you are struggling with perfectionism, therapy can be a great way to explore the root causes of your perfectionism and learn how to let go of these unrealistic standards. By increasing self-compassion, developing a more flexible outlook, and learning to accept mistakes, perfectionists can start to improve their well-being.

Virtuous Circle Counselling is your Calgary counselling and therapy resource for Perfectionism. Our focus is to provide excellent information, understanding, and treatment for those needing perfectionism counselling. Using the most up-to-date resources and research, we can help you explore your options for therapy in Calgary. Get in touch with us today!

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We at Virtuous Circle Counselling acknowledge Moh’kinstsis, the lands where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet, in what we currently call Calgary. We acknowledge that we are visitors on Moh’kinsstis and acknowledge the Blackfoot are those who named this area as Moh’kinsstis. In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize the ancestral territories, cultures, and oral practices of the Blackfoot people, the Îyarhe Nakoda Nations, the Dene people of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.