Calgary Therapy for People Pleasing and Perfectionism

“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.”

Brene Brown

Perfectionism and people pleasing often go hand in hand, interacting with and reinforcing one another. They both have great benefits to them, but these upsides often have a cost.

Some signs that it may be time to seek out counselling for perfectionism or being a people pleaser are:

  • You fail to take risks out of fear of not being able to perform perfectly or that you may upset others.

  • You avoid making decisions out of fear of making the wrong one.

  • You're experiencing burnout.

  • You find yourself constantly seeking for reassurance from others.

  • You have difficulty saying "no" to others.

  • You avoid feedback from others out of fear of it being negative.

  • You find yourself procrastinating on tasks and it is impacting your wellbeing, work, school etc.

  • You have persistent thoughts of fearing being judged, making mistakes, or letting others down.

  • It takes you an excess amount of time to complete a task, due to wanting to avoid mistakes.

  • You're never (or rarely ever) prioritize yourself.

Research shows that people pleasing behaviours can lead to increased anxiety, insecure relationships, and low satisfaction.

Both perfectionism and people pleasing have roots in anxiety and childhood events.

In a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for treating clinical perfectionism, it was found to be a helpful approach. Study participants reported increased wellbeing, reduced distress, and less impairment in functioning.

How can counselling help for perfectionism recovery and overcoming people pleasing?

  • Determine the root cause of the perfectionism or people pleasing and bring awareness to the specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that are associated with it

  • Shift the rigid beliefs that maintain these behaviours

  • Learn how to cope with the discomfort that arises when making a mistake or upsetting someone

  • Practice committing to actions that are aligned with how you want to show up (which may mean challenging the perfectionistic and people pleaser traits)

My clients tell me that through engaging in therapy, they are finally able to prioritize themselves, can set healthy boundaries, and have developed a practice of self-compassion rather than harsh self-criticism. This helps them to live a more meaningful, fulfilling life.

A group of men prioritizing mens mental health and working on recovering from perfectionism
A group of men prioritizing mens mental health and working on recovering from perfectionism