`Healthy Perfectionism' is an Oxymoron!

Greenspan, Thomas S.
June 2000
Journal of Secondary Gifted Education;Summer2000, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p197
Academic Journal
Perfectionism, with its harshly negative self-talk, is felt to be a burden by most people who experience it. Despite this a body of literature asserts that some perfectionism is healthy, even though a critical review of this literature finds no factual or theoretical basis for such a claim. The commonly asserted belief in a dichotomy between healthy and dysfunctional perfectionism is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of perfectionism, in part confusing the concept with striving for excellence, and has apparently arisen from uncritical acceptance of early work on the subject. Perfectionism is discussed as an interpersonal and intersubjective phenomenon, involving the perfectionist's experience of other people's expectations and judgments. Implications for treatment are discussed.


Related Articles

  • A religiously oriented group counseling intervention for... Richards, P. Scott; Owen, Laura // Counseling & Values;Jan1993, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p96 

    Describes a group counseling intervention model which was used with devout Mormon college students who were struggling with issues of perfectionism. Several theories about the origins of perfectionism; Evidence that perfectionism is associated with depression and shame.

  • Do the right thing: A lesson in dangers of perfectionism. Basile, Frank // Indianapolis Business Journal;8/29/94, Vol. 15 Issue 22, p15A 

    Discusses the drawbacks of perfectionism. Examples which illustrate that doing the right thing is more vital than doing things right; Procrastination and indecision; Distinction between striving for excellence and the pursuit of perfection; Time wastage; Toll of managerial perfectionism on...

  • Is perfectionism holding your career back? Raudsepp, Eugene // Supervision;Aug90, Vol. 51 Issue 8, p3 

    Discusses information about perfectionism in a career. Admirable qualities of a perfectionist; Healthy pursuit of excellence; Basis of excellence and perfectionism; Reason why perfectionist seldom end up with good jobs; How perfectionist deal with people; Dr. David Burns' suggestions to keep...

  • Reactions to mistakes among subjects high and low in perfectionistic concern over mistakes. Frost, Randy O.; Turcotte, Theresa A. // Cognitive Therapy & Research;Apr95, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p195 

    Studies the perfectionistic concern over mistakes and the reactions of persons high and low in perfectionistic concern over mistakes. Definition of perfectionistic concern over mistakes; Use of a high-mistake-frequency-task and a low-mistake-frequency task; Differences in reaction as based on...

  • Perfectionism and components of state and trait anxiety. Flett, Gordon L.; Hewitt, Paul L. // Current Psychology;Winter94/95, Vol. 13 Issue 4, p326 

    Examines the association between dimensions of perfectionism and state and trait anxiety in three studies. Findings of each study; Socially prescribed perfectionism as the dimension related most closely with components of state and trait anxiety; Discussion of the results in terms of the need...

  • An Investigation of the Dimensions of Perfectionism in College Students. Suddarth, Barbara H.; Slaney, Robert B. // Measurement & Evaluation in Counseling & Development;Oct2001, Vol. 34 Issue 3, p157 

    Investigates the dimensions of perfectionism in college students. Measurement of negative psychological attributes; Factors affecting perfectionism; Correlation between depression and anxiety.

  • What's better than perfection?  // Marriage Partnership;Fall95, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p69 

    Reports that perfectionism leads to various illnesses and reduces performance, according to a researcher. Tendency to spend more time on projects than is necessary; Illnesses range from headaches and chest pains to impotence.

  • The energy drain of perfectionism. Lau, Barbara // Management Quarterly;Spring90, Vol. 31 Issue 1, p24 

    Discusses the negative side of perfectionism. Perfectionist detector test; Uncovering the limiting aspect of perfectionism; Loss of time and energy as drawback of perfectionism; Two cures for perfectionism.

  • The Authors' Dialogue. Greenspan, Tom S.; Parker, Wayne D.; Schuler, Patricia A. // Journal of Secondary Gifted Education;Summer2000, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p209 

    Presents a dialogue about the differences in the authors' perspectives regarding perfectionism. Multidimensional perspective of perfectionism; Focus of the criticism on interpretation; Difference between healthy and unhealthy perfectionism; Results of hierarchical structure analysis; Parental...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics