In today’s review, we’ll take a look at Dr. Debbie Troxclair’s Perfectionism Revisited. Dr. Troxclair currently teaches in the Department of Counseling and Special Populations at Lamar University. She has been following the research on perfectionism for the past 40 years. Due to this, and her experience as a teacher, Dr. Troxclair provides a knowledgeable presentation rich in information and resources for educators who are working with gifted students.
So, why perfectionism? Is it important to GT education?
Many of us, to our delight or frustration, could easily identify several of our gifted and talented students as perfectionist. While scholars are divided as to whether or not perfectionism is a requirement for giftedness, as teachers, we know it is a common trait in G/T students.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines perfectionism as ‘having a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable and a perfectionist is one that demands or works to achieve perfection.”
How the experts define perfectionism
- Scholar Anne Marie Roper says “Perfectionism is a personality trait and a perfectionist is a person who does not give himself permission to fail anything undertaken especially when it’s within his/her field of competency.”
- Author Wendy Roedell says “Perfectionism is a developmental vulnerability of gifted individuals.” and “An inner drive to accomplish tasks coupled with unrealistic expectations of ability and results in completed projects being assaulted by the inherent well-developed critical thinking skills of gifted individuals.”
- Dr. Miriam Adderholdt Elliot in her book, What’s So Bad About Being Too Good says: “Perfectionism is due to social learning that occurs during childhood and produces a drive which results in worry, guilt and workaholic behavior.
Perfectionists: for better or for worse
I don’t know about you, but I certainly hope my optometry surgeon is a perfectionist, and I would estimate that the engineers who design bridges and space shuttles have perfectionist tendencies. Disciplines that are very exacting usually attract perfectionists. We NEED good engineers, artists, mathematicians, doctors, surgeons, musicians, and composers (just to name a few!) with this characteristic.
Just as it is important, it can also be frustrating. For instance, individuals who are perfectionists often “experience discouragement and frustration because of high levels of self-criticism.” Additionally, Dr. Troxclair says “perfectionists usually have problems maintaining good interpersonal relations as others fail to maintain high standards that are imposed by the gifted individual.”
“If you’ve got children in your classroom that are perfectionists, you really need to teach them about this –ism because without a level of awareness, depression and immobilization is really not too far behind.”
What’s an educator to do?
There are MANY things we can do as educators to teach a healthy understanding of perfectionism. As well as how to deal with setbacks. Dr. Troxclair gives a thorough list. Here is a quick sample:
- Help perfectionist learn to set realistic goals.
- Accept setbacks as part of the learning process.
- Show healthy examples of other perfectionists expressing their growth and self-acceptance.
- Model positive self talk and how to deal when things don’t go perfectly.
There’s a lot more in this course
Dr. Troxclair’s knowledge of perfectionism is extensive. Along with the full list of strategies, you will also learn about:
- Eric Ericson’s three stages of perfectionism
- Ann Marie Roper’s five characteristics of perfectionism
- How perfectionism develops in children.
- What to expect when children with perfectionist tendencies grow up in a dysfunctional home.
- A rundown of 10 negative traits and how perfectionism plays into them.
- How to turn negative outlooks into positives.
- The beliefs upon which perfectionism is based.
When you purchase Dr. Troxclair’s Perfection Revisited, you will receive all this information plus ALL of her resources, references, an publications. You will have access to her contact information in which you may send Dr. Troxclair any questions, concerns, comments, or a simple note saying “Thanks”.