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PORCELAIN DOLLS A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Breaking Through Perfectionism and People-Pleasing In Women Dr. Carly LeBaron, LMFT.

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Presentation on theme: "PORCELAIN DOLLS A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Breaking Through Perfectionism and People-Pleasing In Women Dr. Carly LeBaron, LMFT."— Presentation transcript:

1 PORCELAIN DOLLS A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Breaking Through Perfectionism and People-Pleasing In Women Dr. Carly LeBaron, LMFT

2 PRESENTATION OUTLINE  What is a Porcelain Doll?  Perfectionism  Definition  How it presents  People-Pleasing  Definition  How it presents  Contributing Gender Issues  Socialization  Cultural roles, rules, & expectations  Compassionate CBT Treatment Approach

3 PORCELAIN DOLLS  What do they look like?  Demographics  What do they do?  Common behavioral signs  What are their presenting problems?  Depression, anxiety, EDs, low self-esteem, body image issues, etc.  Don’t get taken in by them!  They will very frequently be some of your favorite clients (even though we don’t play favorites, right?). Why?

4 PERFECTIONISM  Definition  Setting excessively, sometimes impossibly, high performance standards accompanied by overly critical self- evaluations and fears of others’ evaluations of them.  How it Manifests  High functioning perfectionists  Strong achievement orientation  Highly Successful (straight A’s, scholarships, rapid job promotions)  Pedestals, golden children  Low functioning perfectionists  Lack of follow-through  Failing out of school  Quitting before completion  Losing jobs  The Core of Perfectionism  If people see who I really am, how flawed I really am, they will reject me and/or abandon me.

5 PERFECTIONISM  The Benefits of Perfectionism  Get things done  Lots of praise/reinforcement  Achievements  Protection from being real  The Costs of Perfectionism  Paralysis  Exhaustion  Never feeling good enough  Ride the high of one achievement, but it never lasts  Constantly seeking external sources of self-esteem

6 PERFECTIONISM  Why is perfectionism so difficult to treat and hard to beat?  Reinforced in our culture (capitalism, individualism)  Friends, family members, professors, church leaders  Perfectionists serve a purpose for the rest of us  LDS context  Be ye therefore perfect…  People love a perfectionist  Why?

7 PEOPLE-PLEASING  Definition  An intense focus on behaving only in ways that please others, regardless of personal wants/needs/opinions/thoughts and an overwhelming concern with how others perceive you.  How it Manifests  The Yes Woman  Don’t rock the boat  Undifferentiated  Don’t get angry  Always be nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Did I put enough exclamation points?!...)  Oh, yeah, and always checking to see if what they say/think/feel is okay  The Core of People-Pleasing  I have to go out of my way to please people or they won’t like me  I have nothing else to offer but to please others, so if I don’t please them, they won’t accept me

8 PEOPLE-PLEASING  The Benefits of People-Pleasing  Others respond positively to you  You make people happy  You avoid confrontation  You avoid hurting people’s feelings  The Costs of People-Pleasing  Your needs get ignored  You can become a doormat  You develop resentment  Tend towards passive-aggressive to get needs met  When people refuse to be pleased, it must be your fault  People lose respect for you  You sacrifice self growth and genuine relationships

9 PEOPLE-PLEASING  Why is it so difficult to treat and hard to beat?  Reinforced by conservative, traditional cultures  Reinforced by most people in our clients’ lives and our own lives  People like it when they get what they want and people-pleasers deliver!  People pleasers are convinced that to do things any other way would be “mean,” “creating contention,” or “un-Christlike.”  Counteracting years of gender socialization

10 GENDER ISSUES  Women as relationship monitors  Women garner their self-esteem from success in relationships  Success in relational roles  Socialized to be more attuned to social cues, social control, especially from other women  Relational aggression  Mean girls, Queen Bees and Wannabes  Comparison (upward and downward)  What else can you think of?

11 GENDER ISSUES  GIRL RULES:  Be Nice!  Don’t call attention to yourself.  Put others needs first.  You can do better than that.  Indirect queries to get needs met  Manipulation, subversive  Mind-reading  Emphasis on looks, image  Other rules you can think of?  Both implicit and explicit rules

12 SELF-OF-THE-THERAPIST  Why do I love working with this population so much?  Mary Poppins  My externalization  Once a compliment, now an insult  What about you?  Self-check  Perfectionism  People-pleasing

13 TREATMENT APPROACH  Cognitive process

14 TREATMENT APPROACH  Core Beliefs  Positive and Negative  Okay to have both, need balance  Messages from FoO, other memorable instances  Cognitive Distortions (Burns, Feeling Good)  AoNT  Ov  MF  DtP  JtC  MR, FT  M&M  ER  SS  L&M  Pe

15 TREATMENT APPROACH  Fight back against CDs  Reality Checking (All)  “Is that really true?”  Living in the Gray (AoNT)  Empowerment (O)  The Lawyer Technique (MF)  Reinforce PCBs (DP)  10 Possible Alternatives (JtC)  Apples to Apples, Oranges to Oranges (M&M-Comp)  Relaxing Rigidity (SS)  The Confessional (ER)  Would a Teenage Girl Say This? (L&M)  I Have the Power! (P)

16 TREATMENT APPROACH  STOP, It’s Narrative Time!  The importance of EXTERNALIZING  The Mask Activity  What Perfect Looks Like/Feels Like,  What Real Looks Like/Feels Like

17 TREATMENT APPROACH  Practicing Imperfection (aka Deperfectifying)  Start with little things:  Spill on purpose, don’t clean it up for 10 minutes  Paint every fingernail but one  Q-tip example  Move on to bigger things  Be late to a lunch date with a friend  Deliberately flub a few words during a presentation or while talking to coworkers  Don’t wear makeup for a whole day out  Dare to be Average and the Mediocre Bucket List  Forget the 5- and 10-year plans, let’s get mediocre!  The Velveteen Rabbit  Encourage them to read it. Just do it. You’ll thank me later.

18 TREATMENT APPROACH  Assertiveness Training  Step 1: Convince her that assertiveness=/= being mean  Teach difference between passive, assertive, and aggressive  Step 2: Repeat step one until you are blue in the face  Step 3: Practice real life situations with her using role plays  Switch roles so she learns to be both voices  Step 4: Give her homework to practice in real life  Learning to say “No”  “Let me check my schedule…”  The Backlash  Some people will NOT respond well to your client’s changes  Prepare her in advance  She will feel mean initially, validate her  Others may even tell her she is being mean, process that  Remind them: “That’s more about them than it is about you.”  Authority figures will be the most difficult to be assertive with

19 TREATMENT APPROACH  Self-Compassion and Self-Forgiveness  The crux of successful treatment with this population  Spend lots of time here  Model self-compassion, self-disclosure  The Best Friend Technique  The Internal Cheerleader (or Therapist)  WWCS?  Permission to temporarily internalize my voice until it can become their own  Forgiveness is a process  “Will the world end/anything spontaneously combust if I do X?”  “Will this matter in a year? 6 months? 2 Months? Next week? Tomorrow?”  Only give it as much power as it deserves

20 TREATMENT APPROACH  Homework  Let’s talk about strategery…  The cool part about every homework you EVER give a perfectionist: THEY CAN’T FAIL!!!...or is that bad?  Imperfect practice makes imperfect!  Test the waters  Be ready for them to come back unhappy, in pain, scared  Provide support and encouragement  Allow them to be imperfect with you  Catch them in people-pleasing with you  Give them permission to disagree, be angry, etc.  Carly Voodoo Doll

21 QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS Contact Information: Dr. Carly LeBaron, LMFT Utah Valley Counseling 2230 N. University Parkway, Suite 11D, Provo, UT (801) (Feel free to grab one of my cards with my contact info!)


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