4 Ways to Conquer Perfectionism as a Therapist

As therapists, we are trained to help others manage their mental health challenges. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune to facing challenges ourselves…

Such as struggling with perfectionism:

An excessive and unhealthy drive to achieve perfection or to meet extremely high standards, often at the expense of our own well-being and happiness. 

Therapists may struggle with this in a variety of ways, such as feeling:

  • The pressure to be perfect in their work 
  • The need to have all the answers
  • The demand to always be available for clients

The problem with this?

It can lead to anxiety, burnout, and even other mental health issues…

So how do mental health therapists deal with their own perfectionism? 

Here are a few key strategies:

1). Seek supervision and support: 

Mental health therapists often work with a supervisor or mentor who can provide guidance and support. 

This can be a valuable resource for therapists who struggle with perfectionism, as it allows them to process their own feelings and challenges in a safe and supportive environment.

2). Practice self-care:

Taking care of oneself is crucial for mental health professionals, as it allows them to recharge and manage the demands of their job. 

This may involve setting boundaries, taking breaks, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

3). Seek therapy: 

We know mental health therapists are trained to help others, but they may also benefit from seeking therapy themselves. 

Working with a therapist can provide a safe space to process and manage their own mental health challenges, including perfectionism.

4). Be mindful of perfectionistic thinking: 

Mental health therapists may find it helpful to become more aware of their own perfectionistic thoughts and behaviors. 

By noticing when they are setting unrealistic standards for themselves or feeling overwhelmed, they can take steps to challenge these thoughts and feelings in order to adopt a more realistic and healthy approach.

Overall, mental health therapists play a crucial role in helping others manage their mental health challenges, but they must also take care of their own mental health and well-being. 

By seeking support and practicing self-care, therapists can manage their own perfectionism and continue to provide effective and compassionate care to their clients.

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