. . . perfectionism often comes with a cost.
You see, for many clients, their perfectionistic tendencies can get in the way of their relationships – and sometimes even lead to depression or anxiety.
So how can we work with perfectionism that’s hurting our clients?
Well, check out the video (it’s just 4 minutes) – you’ll hear how one practitioner used ideas from Polyvagal Theory and Stephen Porges, PhD to help her client begin to shift out of a perfectionistic mindset.
Dr. Vigil-Otero: So, I have a case where this is pretty much the poster child of somebody that is very perfectionistic, a very high-achieving individual, really at the top of their career, and really, their hard work and their perfectionistic ways were very reinforced. So, the harder they worked, obviously people really loved all that energy and really going that extra mile. The problem in this case was after years and years of doing that, this female actually really felt like she lost her joy, and so she came in really saying that she really wanted help finding joy. She had spun into a pretty dark depression, that was really the cost of her perfectionism. There was something Stephen Porges said in the NEXT Level Program, where he mentioned that society puts a lot of weight on productivity, and we tend to value that. He mentioned this one idea that’s pretty simple, but it was really helpful in this case. He talked about, “Sometimes, what the world wants from us is very different from what our body needs.” I found that really profound and really shared those exact words with this patient. Something really clicked because this was a patient who not only was hard-working in their work life, but they would go to the gym and not listen to their bodies and work at 200% and actually get injured quite frequently. As we were making progress, the person really did learn to start to value things other than just productivity. One of the days that I knew we were on the right track was the female came in and said, “You know what, I actually really felt I worked too hard the day before, and I listened to my body and I decided instead of doing my regular workout [which she normally would have done], I decided to swim.” It really shocked me because that was something that was so foreign. That was the first time that she really listened to her body and really realized that sometimes, we have to listen to what our body needs. Stephen also mentioned the importance of co-regulation and how that’s a big part of what our body needs, and that often is a cost when we are over-working and over-functioning. So, with this particular individual, I really saw a trickle-down effect, where they started to really spend more time with that co-regulation and really reconnecting with their children and their spouse, even coworkers. They really started to pay attention to, “Yes, I am going to be reinforced if I go the extra mile. However, there’s that cost.” And I really felt that a lot of what Porges shared, as far as, the world is complex, that contrast for what the world asks of us, but what we really need doesn’t always align, and just holding that for this particular patient was really, I think, a key part in making some shifts.
Dr. Buczynski: As Ashley showed us, using that one key idea from Dr. Stephen Porges proved quite powerful for her client. Now, we’d like to hear from you. Is there a new idea that you’ve heard recently that’s been particularly helpful for one of your clients? And if you’re in the NEXT Level Practitioner Program, we’d love to hear if there’s an idea from that program that’s helped spark a change in your work. Please tell us about it in the comments below, and thanks for watching.
In the video above, you met Ashley Vigil-Otero, PsyD – a licensed psychologist in the state of Florida, and a new member of NICABM’s program development team.
Ashley showed us how applying just one essential takeaway from Stephen’s ideas facilitated her client’s healing.
Now we’d like to hear from you. What new ideas have you recently tried that have been particularly helpful for one of your clients?
Please share your comment below.