Therapy with Perfectionistic People: When Being Good Is Not Enough

Presented by Michael Brustein, PsyD on 08-01-2014 at 9 a.m. Pacific

Almost all clinicians have worked with people who have extremely high standards and cannot tolerate failure or even success. These perfectionistic people may feel slightly content when some goals are met, but overall, they are chronically dissatisfied regarding their performance in their career, social, or personal lives. These people may also be hypercritical if others are not meeting their expectations. What can be most difficult as a therapist is when a person with excessively high standards and perfectionism believes that we are not good enough. They may prematurely leave therapy, withdraw, or become extremely angry.

It is not surprising that perfectionism can lead to numerous disorders, as research illustrates. There is substantial literature on the association between perfectionism and mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, eating issues, and personality disorders. It appears perfectionism is very prevalent in clinical populations and extremely difficult to treat. Very few books or resources really focus on perfectionism in clinical settings. This web conference will address the question: What is the best way to work with perfectionistic people?

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Define and assess adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism (self, social, and other) and how it can lead to other health issues;
  2. Integrate six approaches from psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, and mindfulness techniques to intervene with client perfectionism;
  3. Identify and manage overt and covert conflict with perfectionists to build the therapeutic alliance;
  4. Discuss when and how to give feedback to perfectionists that is most therapeutic.

If you have any questions or concerns about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Attendees who register for this event will log in to the web conference center by using a computer and calling in to the teleconference line. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via computer. Live streaming video and/or document sharing will also be available to participants. Alternatively, attendees may dial in to the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

This event will include lecture and question-and-answer periods. A recording of the web conference will be available to members in GoodTherapy.org's Continuing Education Archives within two weeks. After the live event, a written transcript of the event will be available in the Member's Area. Members of GoodTherapy.org can receive continuing education credits for attending this event by logging in to the GoodTherapy.org Member's Area.

401.5CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content and is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395. 

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.

Event Reviews from Members

I really enjoyed the way Michael "reached for more" when answering questions. He really had an amazing caring for encouraging participation. Also the differentiation of types of perfectionists. I hadn't really thought about these and "labeled" situations quite that way. It was very helpful. - Risa Giordano, LCSW

Dr. B did a great job pulling out the most important concepts and sharing those with us. Then he integrated them flawlessly as he continued through this workshop. - Juliana Petre, MA, LMHCA

Meet the Presenter

Michael Brustein, PsyD

Michael Brustein, PsyD

Michael Brustein, PsyD, is the author of Perfectionism: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals, which is one of the first texts to address how to manage perfectionistic clients. Brustein is also a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York City. He has served as an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein Medical School, and he has taught courses on psychotherapy techniques, abnormal psychology, and group therapy at Brooklyn College, The College of New Rochelle, and William Paterson University. Brustein was an attending psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center and a supervising psychologist at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, where he participated in suicide prevention studies and mentored medical residents and psychology interns.

Currently, Dr. Brustein is working on an upcoming series of self-help books regarding emotional regulation and mindfulness. For more information on Dr. Brustein and his work, please visit www.drbrustein.com.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
  • Logo
    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.