Perfectionism can be conceptualized as rigid adherence to unrealistically high standards and experiencing significant distress—usually in the form of self-criticism—when standards are not met (Shafran & Mansell, 2001). It is a transdiagnostic presenting concern that has been associated with disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and OCD (Egan et al., 2011; Limburg et al., 2017). In addition, perfectionism has been found to interfere with treatment outcomes (Egan et al., 2011), making it an important target of treatment.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an acceptance- and mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy that is designed to improve psychological flexibility and the ability to be open to difficult thoughts and feelings while acting in the service of personal values. Given that rigidity is a hallmark of perfectionism, ACT targets exactly the process maintaining perfectionism and could be a useful treatment in theory.
Findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) provides empirical support for using ACT to treat problematic perfectionism Ong et al (2019). Attendees will learn more about the ACT protocol used in this RCT and be introduced to effective delivery of ACT for perfectionism.
Following this presentation, participants will be able to:
Clarissa Ong, Ph.D., obtained her Ph.D. degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology at Utah State University. She is completing post-doctoral training currently at the Center for Anxiety Disorders at Boston University and CBTeam. She will be an assistant professor at the University of Toledo starting in the fall of 2022. Her research focuses on developing, evaluating, and disseminating effective interventions based on ACT and process-based principles. She has co-authored a self-help book for perfectionism, The Anxious Perfectionist: https://www.newharbinger.com/9781684038459/the-anxious-perfectionist/.
This presentation is intended for mental health professionals and advanced graduate students with some clinical experience. The instructional level of this presentation is beginner.
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