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Tackling the ‘Tyranny of the Shoulds’: CBT for perfectionism

Prof. Roz Shafran

Wednesday, 27 March 2024


At the heart of clinical perfectionism is the overevaluation of achievement and striving that causes significant adverse consequences. Such perfectionism is associated with a range of mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, OCD and eating disorders.  A specific cognitive-behavioural intervention (CBT-P) has been developed by Roz Shafran and the Oxford Eating Disorders Research Group, and enhanced by clinical research groups led by Tracey Wade and Sarah Egan in Australia. CBT-P is a brief intervention that can be delivered in a range of formats. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses indicate that the intervention is effective in reducing perfectionism as well as associated psychopathology such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. The workshop will focus on practical skills in the therapy for clinical perfectionism. It will place CBT-P in the context of the broader literature on perfectionism, and will focus on the assessment and therapeutic techniques contained within the intervention. It will also include information about its structure and the therapeutic processes involved in delivery.

The event will be equivalent to 2.3/4hrs of CPD.


The half-day webinar will describe the difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism associated with mental health disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety and OCD. It will describe the core characteristics of clinical perfectionism, information on how to identify it and provide measures that can be used in assessment. Time will be spent on when perfectionism should be addressed in treatment. The workshop will provide techniques to help derive a shared formulation of perfectionism and engage clients in interventions despite them highly valuing what they often perceive to be the benefits of perfectionism. Finally, the role of therapist perfectionism in treatment outcome will be considered. The webinar will assume a high level of knowledge of CBT techniques.

Learning Objectives

• To understand a cognitive-behavioural approach to perfectionism
• To learn how to assess clinical perfectionism
• To be able to work collaboratively with client to develop an individualised formulation
• To be familiar with the cognitive-behavioural strategies used to address clinical perfectionism

Training Modalities

The workshop will be highly interactive and involve videos, and experiential learning alongside didactic teaching and Q&A.

Key References

Egan, S. J., Shafran, R., & Wade, T. D. (2022). A clinician’s quick guide to evidence-based approaches: perfectionism. Clinical Psychologist, 26(3), 351-353.

Egan, S. J., Wade, T. D., Shafran, R., & Antony, M. M. (2016). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of perfectionism. Guilford Publications.

Galloway, R., Watson, H., Greene, D., Shafran, R., & Egan, S. J. (2022). The efficacy of randomised controlled trials of cognitive behaviour therapy for perfectionism: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 1-15.

Shafran, R., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2002). Clinical perfectionism: A cognitive–behavioural analysis. Behaviour research and therapy, 40(7), 773-791.

About the presenter

Roz Shafran is Professor of Translational Psychology at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and co-Director of Bespoke Mental Health. She is founder and former Director of the Charlie Waller Institute. Her clinical research interests focus on the development, evaluation, dissemination and implementation of cognitive behavioural treatments for eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and perfectionism across the age range. She is currently working to understand and integrate evidence-based psychological treatments in young people with mental health disorders in the context of physical illness. She has provided national and international training workshops in her areas of clinical expertise, has over 300 publications, and the lead author on ‘Overcoming Perfectionism’. She has received awards for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology (British Psychological Society), ‘Making a Difference’ (NHS Positive Practice) and ‘Translational Research into Practice’ (Eric Taylor Award from The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health).

Who should attend

Clinicians familiar with CBT approaches who wish to improve their assessment and treatment of perfectionism.

Details coming soon

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