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While sometimes viewed as a positive trait that leads to success, perfectionism can in fact create self-defeating thoughts or behaviors that actually decreases the likelihood of achieving one's goals. Those who strive for absolute perfection due to feelings of failure or inadequacy typically find that speaking to a therapist is a helpful step in easing stress and excessively self-critical thoughts. Perfectionism is often measured using the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. This scale provides mental health professionals with insight into the precise causes of perfectionism, as one might be a perfectionist in one area but not another. This helps experts to pinpoint the specific problem in order to better help the client recover.
Therapy is frequently helpful in treating perfectionism as it assists sufferers in re-framing their thoughts, usually through cognitive behavioral therapy, in a way that helps the client realize that perfection is not the answer to successfully completing a task. Perfectionism therapy is slightly different than most forms of treatment as experts tend to avoid focusing on the high standards that those in therapy typically hold themselves to. As an alternative, therapy concentrates on treating the issues that likely led the client to develop perfectionistic qualities, whether it be fear of failure, a longing to be loved and admired, or a desire to please one's parents.
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