Apr 15, 2016
Welcome! My guest today is Sharon Martin, LCSW, a
psychotherapist in San Jose, CA. Sharon writes the blog “Happily
Imperfect” for Psych Central. Our topic today is
Perfectionism—something so many of us struggle to overcome.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- Sharon’s private practice focuses on perfectionism,
co-dependency, people-pleasing, and anxiety—she tells us how they
are all intertwined.
- Sharon works as a clinical supervisor, both independently and
for a non-profit; she enjoys working with new social workers.
- In her 20+ years in this field, Sharon has had to learn to
focus on self-care, knowing when to say “yes” and when to say
- “It can’t just be about making everybody else happy.”
- Sharon says that some total failures can be re-labeled as
- Change requires that you experience some amount of
- Co-dependency is a relationship dynamic where two people are
dependent on each other in different ways. One takes on the role of
caretaker, rescuer, or fixer in this lopsided relationship.
- In co-dependency, anger and resentment build up over time and
the relationship becomes out of control.
- Perfectionism and co-dependency have some common
characteristics, like not wanting to upset or displease and wanting
to be “in control.”
- Perfectionists have a strong need to be liked and accepted;
they need constant validation that they are “enough.”
- “There is no possible way to succeed at being perfect.”
- Perfectionists tend to be very self-critical and critical of
- Perfectionism is often mistaken for a quest for excellence and
- Many high school students feel this pressure, which can lead to
depression and suicide.
- The solution lies in our ability to accept ourselves for who we
- “My purpose is to be ME, and not be a clone of everyone
- In her therapy practice, Sharon uses the following techniques
with her clients:
- Get in touch and be more aware of the negative self-talk in
- Reframe ideas about making mistakes.
- Find out how to let ourselves off the hook and forgive
- Move past negative thoughts toward acceptance and
- Ask, “What’s good about me and my life?”
- For perfectionists, there can be 99 positives, but a
perfectionist focuses on the ONE negative thing.
- Sharon shares gratitude practice tips and how to make them work
- The mindfulness approach can help us learn to enjoy the small
things and the basic experiences in life.
(Sharon is writing a workbook on Overcoming Perfectionism. She is
offering a free sample chapter to download for TC listeners!)