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06-01-2017 | Uitgave 3/2017

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 3/2017

A Cognitive-Behavioral-Based Workshop Intervention for Maladaptive Perfectionism

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 3/2017
Marcus T. LaSota, Emma H. Ross, Christopher A. Kearney


Maladaptive perfectionism (MP) can have adverse consequences for mental and physical health and can interfere with treatment success for various conditions. Theoretical conceptualizations of MP largely surround overly rigid and self-critical thinking as well as excessively high standards. Treatment for MP thus often focuses on these cognitive aspects and has been successful, albeit lengthy. The present study evaluated a brief cognitive-behavioral workshop for those with high, moderate, and low MP, which was defined as a composite of perfectionism subscales that included concern over mistakes, doubting of actions, parental criticism, parental expectations, and discrepancy. Workshop components focused on psychoeducation about MP, setting high standards, fearing mistakes and doubting oneself, and preventing distress and maintaining gains. Ratings of MP as well as anxiety, depression, and distress were significantly lower from pre-treatment across post-treatment and 3-week and 3-month follow-up assessments for those with high and moderate MP. Participants with low MP showed no significant change over time, as expected. The workshop thus provided a useful, brief, and cost-effective intervention for MP and related distress. Clinical implications are discussed, including routine assessment of MP in clinical practice, intervention for MP early in the clinical process, specific focus on self-criticism and setting high standards, and implementation in university counseling centers. Recommendations for future research are also discussed, including dismantling of workshop components, identifying treatment mechanisms, expanding to clinical populations, evaluating more diverse samples, and understanding the possible preventative aspects of a workshop approach.

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