UNDERSTANDING AND TREATING PERFECTIONISM IN RELIGIOUS ADOLESCENTS

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Abstract

This article discusses issues related to understanding and treating perfectionism in religious adolescents. To do so, the author discusses the distinction between the quest for perfection and the pursuit of excellence, some of the disorders associated with perfectionism and grandiosity (e.g., narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorders), and the underlying affects (shame, guilt). The impact of parenting on perfectionistic tendencies is discussed at length as is the influence of adolescence and of religious beliefs. The unique challenges of treating religious perfectionists and the question of the advisability of a religiously similar therapist are explored. A case example drawn from the author's clinical experience with an Orthodox-Jewish population is presented.

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