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Face-to-Face Training

ACT FOR PERFECTIONISM: Addressing perfectionistic patterns, fear of failure, and self-criticism with acceptance and self-compassion. (Sydney)

Jennifer Kemp
7 Hours
Product Code:
Media Type:
Face-to-Face Training - Also available: Live Webcast
Not Applicable
Chatswood, NSW
Available Dates:


 Perfectionism is a trans-diagnostic process that causes, maintains, and exacerbates a wide range of mental health disorders including generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder (Egan, Wade and Shafran 2012) and suicide (Smith, et al. 2018). Perfectionism has been increasing in prevalence in western society in recent decades (Curran and Hill 2019) and both client and therapist can struggle with unhelpful perfectionistic behaviour patterns such as setting extremely high and rigid standards, fear of failure, self-criticism, procrastination, and avoidance. These behaviours can also directly undermine the effectiveness of therapy.

Viewing perfectionism as patterns of behaviour rather than a part of your personality, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) provides an opportunity to transform problematic perfectionistic behaviours into more helpful behaviour patterns and in doing so, support valued living. This workshop offers an innovative and evidence-based approach to treating perfectionism by integrating ACT with mindfulness, and self-compassion.  

The presenter will start by exploring perfectionism as a trans-diagnostic process and how it is related to many common mental health disorders. Participants will be given a concise formulation that outlines the key processes that define unhelpful perfectionism and explains how perfectionistic behaviours develop and persist despite negative consequences in the long-term.

The remainder of the workshop will then be focused on skills development using practical exercises, demonstrations, self-reflection and small-group discussion. Participants will learn specific treatment strategies to target the core processes of unhelpful perfectionism. These will include how to:

  • Address entrenched and unhelpful behaviour patterns such as procrastination, checking, and avoidance
  • Tackle the fear of failure that narrows the client’s behavioural repertoire and drives unhelpful avoidant behaviours
  • De-escalate perfectionistic self-criticism by responding to it in more compassionate and flexible ways

Throughout, participants will also have opportunities to reflect on their own unhelpful perfectionistic habits and how these can interfere with their therapeutic practice and contribute to anxiety, stress, and burnout.

At the end of the workshop, participants will have the skills needed to help clients unhook from unhelpful perfectionistic behaviours, build psychological flexibility, and develop the skills of self-compassion, and in doing so live their best (yet ‘imperfect’) lives. They will leave the workshop with templates, scripts, and handouts that they can use immediately with their clients.

This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of unhelpful perfectionism and give you the specific skills you need to treat this problem in your clients, improving their ability to achieve their goals and live a meaningful and valued life. - Jennifer Kemp


Many psychologists and helping professionals struggle with perfectionism, fear of failure and self-criticism. Some participants may therefore find that the content of this workshop triggers self-reflection and analysis of their own difficulties with perfectionism and unhelpful habits. Participants will have opportunities to explore their own unhelpful habits throughout the program and may like to seek out additional professional support should they need additional support in implementing changes as a result of the workshop.

There are no known risks to adding this information and methodology to client work. The approach is simple, empowering and respectful, as well as evidence-based for a wide range of client presentations and mental health problems.

This content of this program is designed primarily for work with older adolescents and adults. The information provided will be relevant to children, but the program will not provide specific strategies to adapt the approach to work with children (e.g. play-based approaches).


Jennifer Kemp's Profile

Jennifer Kemp Related seminars and products

Adelaide Behaviour Therapy

Jennifer Kemp is a privately practicing Clinical Psychologist based in Adelaide, Australia. She sees adults struggling with perfectionism, eating disorders, body image problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), weight management, and chronic illness, seamlessly applying acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), behaviour therapy and compassion-focused therapy approaches. Jennifer balances this with writing, presenting, and providing consultations to professionals seeking to deepen their therapeutic practice and application of ACT.

Jennifer is the author of “The ACT Workbook for Perfectionism: Build Your Best (Imperfect) Life Using Powerful Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Self-Compassion Skills”, launched by New Harbinger in December 2021, as well as and several e-books including “The Perfectionistic Therapist: Striving to Help and Never Fail”. Jennifer is a highly sought-after speaker, trainer, and podcast guest, regularly presenting to local and international audiences on the topic of perfectionism, self-criticism, and self-compassion as a therapist. She is delivered several professional workshops for the Clinical College of the Australian Psychological Society, Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) World Conference, and International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) Online World Conference.

Additional Info

How will you benefit from attending this training?


  1. Participants will have the ability to identify unhelpful perfectionistic patterns in their clients and understand how these patterns cause and maintain the person’s mental health problems
  2. Participants will be able to develop a treatment approach that addresses the client’s unique challenges with perfectionism
  3. Participants will have specific treatment strategies that can help clients to unwind unhelpful habits, build greater psychological flexibility and develop greater self-compassion

Registration Details

Face-to-Face registration
Fee:  $249
         $29 to purchase and keep the recording of this event. 

  • Tea and coffee are included. Food may be purchased on the ground floor or from the many surrounding cafes.
  • You will need to sign in on arrival to be eligible for an Attendance Certificate. 
  • Your attendance certificate for 7 hours of face-to-face, active training can be retrieved on completion of your evaluation via your login account.
  • A hard copy of notes and resources will be available to buy at checkout.
  • If for whatever reason, you are unable to attend this live event on the day,  your registration will be transferred into the live interactive webcast of this event with three month's access to the recording. 

N.B. Face to face participants are required to comply with COVID safety measures as outlined by the venue and PDP. 
Details of the measures current at the time and in line with public health orders will be advised in your pre-event reminder/information emails.
The venue and PDP reserve the right to deny entry to any participant who chooses not to follow COVID safety plans. 

Venue information

Our venue is registered with Service NSW as a 'Covid Safe' venue. 
You will be required to checkin via our QR code and to abide by the safety  measures current at the time and in line with public health orders. These will be advised in your pre-event reminder/information emails.
In the interest of everone's safety, PDP reserves the right to deny entry to any participant who chooses not to follow the current COVID safety plans. 

This venue offers wheelchair access from the Brown Street entrance.  

4 minute walk from Chatswood train/metro/bus interchange

Links to reasonable early-bird parking close to the venue:

All day tea, coffee and chilled water are provided.
If you have not ordered lunch with your registration, we have a fridge and two microwave ovens should you wish to bring your own food. 
The venue has a cafe on the ground floor and is surrounded by cafes and restaurants including an extensive food hall above the Chatswood Interchange.

Mantra Hotel is next door to the venue: website here
Meriton Suites is a 4 minute walk from the venue: website here


  1. Diagnose unhelpful perfectionism in their clients and themselves, creating a clear and concise formulation within functional contextual behavioural framework
  2. Distinguish between helpful and unhelpful perfectionistic patterns including the differences in how unhelpful patterns develop and are maintained despite long-term unwanted consequences
  3. Demonstrate several treatment strategies that build psychological flexibility and self-compassion in people struggling with perfectionism, including strategies that help people:
    • Modify entrenched and unhelpful behaviour patterns such as procrastination, checking, and avoidance
    • Respond to perfectionistic self-criticism in more helpful and compassionate ways
    • Develop a more flexible sense of self that extends beyond being ‘perfect’

This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of unhelpful perfectionism and give you the specific skills you need to treat this problem in your clients, improving their ability to achieve their goals and live a meaningful and valued life. - Jennifer Kemp


Morning Session (3 hours with a morning tea break)

Part 1: Understanding Perfectionism from a Contextual Behavioural Perspective (1.5 hours)

Setting up the program & learning environment

Understanding perfectionism

The five processes of unhelpful perfectionism

Identifying perfectionistic processes in clients


Part 2: Creating a foundation for change (1.5 hours)

Building a Case for Change Using Creative Hopelessness

Identifying the targets for your intervention

1. Contextual factors that keep perfectionists stuck

2. Avoidant loops that offer short-term relief


Afternoon Session (3 hours with a morning tea break)

Part 3: Transforming Self-Criticism Using Self-Compassion + Action (1.75 hours)

3. Self-criticism that undermines valued action

Introducing the Passengers on the Bus Metaphor

Understanding what’s important using values

Introducing the Self-Critical Passenger

How do you respond to self-criticism?

Introducing compassion for the Self-Critical Passenger

Strategies to build self-compassion


Part 4: Becoming More than Perfect (1.25 hours)

4. Building a flexible self

Helping Perfectionists Achieve Lasting Change

Becoming More than Perfect

Living Your Best (Imperfect) Life

Wrap-up & time for questions

Target Audience

  • Experienced and early career psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Professional practicing counsellors/therapists
  • Mental health nurses
  • Executive/leadership coaches

 Details of assumed knowledge / experience required of potential seminar participants:

This workshop is designed for people trained in psychological science and it is expected that participants will have a basic understanding of behavioural principles. This program does not teach Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) from the ground up (please attend an introductory ACT workshop for this) rather, it explores the application of ACT principles to unhelpful perfectionism and self-criticism. If you have training in ACT this workshop will deepen your understanding and broaden your ability to apply ACT in a range of contexts. A basic knowledge of ACT and behavioural principles may be helpful but is not essential to benefit from this program. All concepts used within the workshop will be explained at the time.


Morning Session
  9:00am - 12:30pm (includes 15 minute break at 10:30am)

Lunch Break
  12:30pm - 1:00pm

Afternoon Session
  1:00pm - 4:30pm (includes 15 minute break at 2:45pm)


PDP Sydney Training Room

Level 1, 10 Help Street, Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia
+61 1300 887 622

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