Perfectionism and self-sabotage

In my clinical practice, I have worked with many clients that – at one point in their lives – they have found themselves stuck in a vicious circle.

People who have been high achievers for most of their life and something suddenly triggered their way of perceiving their ability to cope when challenged.
I am referring to those people who have always succeeded academically or in their careers as they have learnt that effort, concentration and precision – were the keys for success. People who have become accustomed to rewards and expect recognition for their value and merit.

What happens if a gifted student one day gets a negative mark? What if a famous football player confident at scoring goals – fails in an important match? What if a manager does not meet the company targets?
When people who are not “trained to fail” fall from a high position without a safety net, their confidence is dramatically hit.
Like a car at high speed hits a solid surface – for some people it can be quite traumatic.
They would try to re-establish their role adopting a “past successful strategy” which no longer serves their cause as the current situation is different. They will adopt the “old strategy” as it worked in the past –increasing their effort, concentration and self-consciousness which often lead to a performance block.
Their reactive-perceptive system becomes progressively rigid with an intense self-observation stopping to achieve their goal.
When these clients decide to seek support they often feel demoralised and frustrated and they start thinking they have never really been successful.
When I see my clients, I adopt a brief strategic intervention of 10 sessions – sometimes less – and I use specific strategies to help them becoming more aware of their coping strategies when facing triggers.

“ The Brief Strategic Therapy” is a model focussed on breaking the vicious circle through specific strategies and has had over 89% of positive outcomes. It was developed in USA – (G. Bateson, J. Weakland, P. Watzlawick, J. Jackson – Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto) and Italy by Professor G. Nardone who has created specific protocols of treatments for specific mental health problems.