Are Perfectionist Therapists Perfect? The Relationship between Therapist Perfectionism and Client Outcomes in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Vickie Presley, Chris Jones, Elizabeth Newton

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The psychological literature suggests that therapist perfectionism is common and potentially detrimental to client recovery. Little is known about the relationship between therapist perfectionism and client outcomes.

AIMS:

This study aimed to measure perfectionism in High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural therapists, and establish any relationships between dimensions of therapist perfectionism, client outcomes and drop-out rates in treatment.

METHOD:

Thirty-six therapists took part in the study; levels of perfectionism were measured using a self-report questionnaire and these were analysed in relation to the clinical outcomes from a sample of their clients.

RESULTS:

The results indicated that therapist perfectionism may be less common than previously suggested. Overall, a number of significant negative associations were observed between aspects of therapist perfectionism (e.g. having high standards for others), treatment efficacy and client retention in treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Therapist perfectionism is associated with CBT treatment outcomes; tentative recommendations for therapists managing their own schema as part of their clinical practice have been made, although further investigation is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages12
Journal Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2017

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Bibliographical note

This article has been published in a revised form in Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1352465817000054 . This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © copyright holder.

Keywords

  • CBT
  • Outcomes
  • Perfectionism
  • Therapist schema

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