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Social Anxiety and Perfectionism: Clinical Tools to Let Go of Unrealistic Standards and Build Real Connections

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Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP
6 Hours 17 Minutes
Audio and Video
Jan 19, 2024
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Digital Recording
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Your clients with perfectionism are in a no-win situation, and it can feel like you’re stuck there with them.

When perfectionism exacerbates social anxiety, your clients struggle to stand up for themselves – to assert their needs in high-stakes situations – and seek assistance from others. Their lives are one missed opportunity after another.

When your clients fail to meet their own unachievable standards, they maintain that being hard on themselves is necessary for success – despite your attempts to soften their self-criticism and educate them on how it impairs performance.

When you highlight their victories, they reset the bar and insist that the standards weren’t demanding enough in the first place.

The toolbox for social anxiety treatment that you already have is incomplete if it doesn’t have strategies to shift perfectionism.

Watch distinguished expert Dr. Martin M. Antony for this unique one-day training that provides practical, step-by-step, evidence-based strategies for helping clients overcome perfectionism-driven social anxiety. You will learn to:

  • Deliver concrete cognitive strategies tailored to create positive change for clients who struggle with unreasonable social standards
  • Overcome common roadblocks to exposure therapy and utilize exposure exercises to increase social interaction
  • Connect clients with their values as a source of motivation for shifting both their perfectionistic mindset and their social behaviours

Your clients need your help to address unrealistic standards and build real connections. Get the cutting-edge strategies you need to make a difference in their lives. All with our 100% Satisfaction guarantee. Purchase today!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP's Profile

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Toronto Metropolitan University

Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP, is a clinical psychologist, professor in the department of psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University. He received his PhD in psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Previously, he was founding director of both the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic and the Psychology Residency Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and he was provincial clinical and training lead for the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and a past president of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Dr. Antony has published 34 books and over 300 scientific articles and chapters in areas related to cognitive behavioral therapy and anxiety-related disorders. He has given more than 425 presentations to audiences across four continents, and has been interviewed, featured, or quoted more than 450 times in various print, radio, television, and online media outlets, including The Atlantic, BBC, CBC, Chatelaine magazine, CNN, CTV, Globe and Mail, National Geographic, National Post, The New York Times, O (The Oprah Magazine), Prevention Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Scientific American Mind, Time, Toronto Star, USA Today, The Washington Post, WebMD, and many others.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Martin Antony has an employment relationship with the Toronto Metropolitan University and receives a consulting fee from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is a national speaker and receives royalties as a published author. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-Financial: Dr. Martin Antony is a member of Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the American Psychological Association (APA). Martin Antony receives royalties as a published author.

Additional Info

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  1. Evaluate the relationship between social anxiety disorder and perfectionism to inform clinical interventions.
  2. Conduct interview-based, self-report, and behavioural assessments of social anxiety and perfectionism to inform the clinician's choice of treatment interventions.
  3. Practice three cognitive therapy strategies targeting distorted thinking patterns relevant to social anxiety and perfectionism.
  4. Differentiate effective versus ineffective principles for designing exposure assignments to alleviate symptoms of social anxiety and perfectionism.
  5. Employ mindfulness practices to help clients shift from a control-focused state to an acceptance-focused state to improve treatment outcomes.
  6. Construct effective strategies to defuse resistance to change and improve client engagement.


What Does Perfectionism Have To Do With Social Anxiety?
The Survival Value of Fear and Fitting In
  • Myths and realities of social anxiety
  • The transdiagnostic nature of perfectionism
  • Best practice assessments for social anxiety and perfectionism
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social anxiety
So, Should I Help My Clients Lower Their Standards?
Implementing Cognitive Strategies
  • Common core beliefs, underlying assumptions, and automatic thoughts of socially anxious perfectionistic clients
  • How to catch distorted thinking:
    • Probability overestimations
    • Catastrophic thinking
    • Double standards
    • Overgeneralizations
    • Should statements
    • Selective attention
  • Cognitive restructuring done right – thought records and pie charts
  • How to design behavioural experiments and surveys that challenge clients unhelpful thought processes
  • Imagery rescripting to revisit and resolve painful social memories
  • Avoid common cognitive therapy mistakes and troubleshooting for common issues
  • Adaptations for working with children and adolescents
Help Clients Confront What Scares Them
Facilitating Successful Exposure
  • Common client and therapist misconceptions about exposure-based strategies
  • Principles of effective versus ineffective exposure
  • How to choose and plan the best exposure modality for socially anxious perfectionistic clients
    • In-vivo exposure
    • Simulated exposure and social skills training
    • Virtual reality
    • Imaginal exposure
    • Interoceptive exposure
  • The latest inhibitory learning approaches to maximize exposure therapy
  • Avoid common exposure therapy mistakes and troubleshooting for common issues
  • Adaptations for working with children and adolescents
Fostering Non-Evaluation
Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Approaches
  • Cultivate clients’ self-compassion and willingness to have internal experiences that are “negative”
  • Strategies for facilitating clients’ mindfulness skills
  • Facilitate behavioural change in line with clients’ core values
Motivational Interviewing for Socially Anxious Perfectionistic Clients:
Honouring Clients’ Ambivalence While Helping Them Change
  • How to monitor for and facilitate change talk in clients’ stories of social anxiety
  • Effective rolling with the resistance of perfectionism
  • Strategies for responding to discord in the therapy relationship
  • Tips to improve out-of-session assignments
Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks

Target Audience

  • Counsellors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counsellors
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Other mental health professionals


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