Overcoming Perfectionism^- Roz Shafran, Sarah Egan and Tracey Wade

During one of my CBT sessions, my therapist referred to a model in this book and, as it looked helpful, I bought myself a copy. As I've mentioned many times, perfectionism is a real problem for me and underpins all of my issues with anxiety so I was hopefuly that this book would help give me some tools to deal with it.




Overcoming Perfectionism
is part of a series of self-help guides that cover issues ranging from gambling and alcoholism to low self esteem and insomnia. This edition, written by three experts in CBT and clinical psychology, mixes theory and case studies with practical activities to experiment with. Although the chapters can be read in any order, it made sense to me to read them chronologically as it opens with an explanation of perfectionism, before leading into activities such as behavioural experiments and challenging thinking styles.





OK, I'm going to reveal myself to be insane now. Although the book was published in Great Britain, and written by a mix of British and Australian* authors, the spelling was American. For a book on perfectionism, this drove me mad, especially as the word "behaviour" was used frequently. Why would they do that? Why?


That aside, I did find some aspects really helpful. There were a number of quotes that suddenly made everything very clear to me- the reason why I'm so indecisive, why everything in my life is either a success or a failure (this is called dichotomous thinking- there's a fact for you!) and why I find it perfectly acceptable for other people to make a mistake but will beat myself up about it for days when I do. 

The activities and experiments listed are practical, especially in terms of procrastination. This is one of the biggest issues I have and I found this chapter helpful. It stated that many people with procrastination wait for the "right" time to start a task, rather than just going for it. I know it sounds simple but it's difficult to get out of that frame of mind. I forced myself to just start a task, telling myself I can quit after 5 minutes if I'm not feeling it and I discovered that actually, just making the first step can lead to me feeling more motivated.

Unfortunately, I forgot a lot of the activities as soon as I closed the book but that lesson is one that has stayed with me. If you suffer from perfectionism, it might well be worth picking up a copy.



Although the book was helpful while reading, the fact that it wasn't too memorable has lessened the impact and, for this, I give it five out of ten.


*I have it on good authority that British spelling is usually used in Australia, although there is some movement towards American conventions.

^ Affiliate links have been used in this post


1 comment:

  1. It's a shame that it wasn't particularly memorable, as when you're absorbing information from a book which should be *helping* to understand CBT, the very basic thing you want from it is to be able to remember and apply the thoughts, theories and practices from it. Hopefully you'll find something else which you rate better!

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