250. Anxiety and Perfectionism with Clarissa Ong

Many of us make use of control agendas and get caught up in managing our experiences to be exactly the way we want them. Sometimes this is a good, rewarding type of behavior, but more often than not, perfectionistic behavior can leave you feeling stuck in a cycle of failure. Dr. Clarissa Ong, author of The Anxious Perfectionist, is an expert in the intersection of anxiety and perfectionism. On this episode of POTC, she and Debbie discuss this intersection and explore practical strategies for overcoming problematic, perfectionistic tendencies. Join us in this episode for advice on moving from rigidity into flexibility, practical strategies for distinguishing between helpful and harmful perfectionism, and so much more!

Listen and Learn:

  • Debbie and Jill discuss the double-edged sword of perfectionism
  • Dr. Ong’s personal experiences with perfectionism
  • Practical strategies for distinguishing between helpful and harmful perfectionism
  • The different forms of perfectionism and how they may present themselves
  • The intersection between anxiety and perfectionism
  • Contexts that can nurture or contribute to a person’s perfectionistic tendencies
  • Evidence-based advice for parents who don’t want to water the seeds of perfectionism in their children
  • How perfectionism can be like playing a game
  • What you lose when you’re trapped by perfectionism
  • Expert-approved advice on moving from rigidity into flexibility around perfectionism (and on helping your friends and loved ones do so as well!)
  • Practical advice for incorporating a little self-kindness into behaviors governed by perfectionism


About Clarissa Ong:

Clarissa W. Ong, PhD, is a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. She received her doctoral degree in clinical/counseling psychology from Utah State University, and completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Her research interests include acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), process-based therapy, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), hoarding disorder, and perfectionism. She has contributed to more than sixty peer-reviewed publications and a book. She has also received funding from the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS). She and Dr. Michael Twohig recently published a self-help book on perfectionism, The Anxious Perfectionist

Related Episodes:

Join the discussion

Instagram feed @offtheclockpsych

Instagram has returned empty data. Please authorize your Instagram account in the plugin settings .


Episode 250