Perfectionism often gets people to expect a great deal from both themselves and others. It may get people to put a lot on their plate and only be satisfied when tasks are completed "just right" or at a very high level. In many ways, perfectionism can serve as a challenge that ends up motivating or "driving" people to do well in life. Some of the most successful people are those who are perfectionistic at heart.
While perfectionism has value, it also can be overdone to the point where it actually makes it more difficult for people to be successful in life. Taking on a lot can slip into taking on too much, making it incredibly difficult to get anything done. Trying to do something perfectly or "just right" can use up so much time and energy that other important tasks that also have get done never get started.
Perfectionism is often a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and it may be usefully addressed for some people using that approach. For others, perfectionism may have a very different meaning. Unlike most of the problems discussed on this page, there have not yet been any therapies specifically developed for addressing struggles with perfectionism when it is not a symptom of OCD. With this said, we have had success using a treatment that makes use of both cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.