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PERFECTIONISM

Is it OCD, OCPD, or What?

3.10.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Grace is obsessed about order and having things “just so.” She is constantly checking for symmetry in her surroundings. The time she spends ordering and organizing her things is disrupting her life. She spends excessive time on details and often gets stuck while doing or undoing things until she feels “right” about the situation. This causes her a great deal of distress. Her motivation in doing her rituals is to decrease anxiety and uncertainty about her feared consequence (having a panic attack). Does Grace have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Patrick needs things to be perfect and orderly. He is a perfectionist and is preoccupied with details and making lists. His perfectionism

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

8.21.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready. Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation. Deciding when to talk to school staff. There are various types of OCD and severity will

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

4.1.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Four-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he was seven, the demands on himself and others were still troubling him and his family. His parents were frustrated. Are your children inflexible? Do they set high standards that overwhelm them? Do they complain of not having friends and feeling isolated? Do they procrastinate often? Do they go from one extreme to the other with certain behaviors, such as being studious and responsible academically to not caring at all? Do they beat themselves up and feel like a failure whe

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding Perfectionist

3.28.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] I once met a young man who had had many successes in his youth. He was intelligent and outgoing. He had always been the star in high school and had enjoyed the praise he received from others, but something was amiss. As we talked, I discovered that his perfectionism was getting in the way. He was feeling depressed and exhausted. He couldn’t keep up with the demands he had set for himself. He said, “My teachers think I’m gifted. They have no idea how much time I spend on each of my assignments. Now, I have to keep up with those expectations. I don’t think I can do this anymore!” Sometimes parents are unable to recognize the signs and later lament themselves. They wish they had noticed t

Be yourself!

11.4.13

I love this quote.  I found it recently by reading Brené Brown’s “The Gift of Imperfection.”  She quotes E.E. Cummings and she talks about the need to be authentic and how we need to embrace who we are.  She says: Choosing authenticity means: Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; Exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough. She goes on by saying:  “Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the

OCD & Perfectionism

10.18.13

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Patty was feeling frustrated and depressed. No matter what she tried, she felt she was stuck. As a young child, she remembers she would come unglued if anyone walked in her room and messed up her belongings. She would arrange and rearrange things until they felt just right. When going to school, she remembered asking her mom if her hair looked perfect. Her mom would say, “You look beautiful!” Patty didn’t believe her. She would ask her mom to fix it better, or she would try to do it herself until it felt right. She wanted to be the best at everything she tried, but when things didn’t go as she expected, sadness and depression ensued. Her all-or-nothing thinking was getting in the way

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