Perfectionism in perspective

How to deal with perfectionism - for PhD's

Perfectionism is often mistaken for ‘being perfect’ or ‘doing something perfectly’. Many people assume that it must be a good thing. Other people think of being a perfectionist as being something negative and embarrassing. So is it a good or a bad thing?

Perfectionism involves putting pressure on ourselves to meet high standards which then powerfully influences the way we think about ourselves. Researchers have shown that parts of perfectionism are helpful, and parts are unhelpful. This course is focusing on identifying and working on the unhelpful parts, so that you get satisfaction from your achievements and lead a more fulfilling life.

This will involve setting appropriate goals and standards for yourself, making it more likely you’ll achieve your goals and experience a sense of fulfilment, rather than feeling frustrated and blaming yourself all the time for not getting things ‘perfect’. In four sessions we help you to put your perfectionism in perspective.

This course suits you well if you:

  • Tend to feel unsatisfied after most working days
  • Feel guilty if you are not working – and thus overwork!
  • Procrastinate in such an amount that it influences your daily functioning
  • Feel like a failure if you do not meet your own standards
  • Postpone your work as a way of not dealing with thoughts such as “It will never be good enough"

Practical information

Date:8, 15, 29 March, 12 April, and 10 May 2021 


Duration:4 x 2 hours (+ optional: 1 x 2 hours) 
Location:Online / Microsoft Teams
Costs:Free of charge
Target group:PhD's
Other:You will receive a certificate after a participation of at least 80%.
  • Through both theory and practical exercises we help you understand the mechanism of perfectionism and how you can change the mechanism in a functional one. The programme requires time and dedication to work with the assignments both in and outside the sessions, as only then true change is possible.

    The program consists of five sessions of two hours.

    Session 1)           Perfectionism: concepts, triggers

    Session 2)           Changing unhelpful perfectionistic behavior

    Session 3)           Changing unhelpful perfectionistic thoughts

    Session 4)           Putting it all together

    Session 5)           Follow up (non-obligatory)

  • The training will be given by Iris Bergwerff-van der Giessen, psychologist, who focuses mainly on (work)stress related issues. Within the EUR she works as a psychologist for PhD’s who are dealing with psychological problems.