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Making Peace with Imperfection


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About the Author

Elliot D. Cohen, PhD, is professor and chair of the department of humanities at Indian River State College, adjunct professor of clinical ethics at the Florida State University College of Medicine, and director of the Logic-Based Therapy & Consultation Institute. Author of numerous books and articles, he is a principal founder of philosophical counseling in the United States, and inventor of logic-based therapy. He writes a blog for Psychology Today, and has been quoted in major media venues, including New York Times Magazine.

Foreword writer William J. Knaus EdD, is a licensed psychologist with more than forty years of clinical experience working with people suffering from anger, anxiety, depression, and procrastination. He is author and coauthor of several books, including The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression and The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety.


"In this highly readable, down-to-earth, and practical self-help book, Elliot Cohen skillfully guides the reader through the process of ridding the emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal ravages of perfectionism. Not a one-step-fits-all approach, this book lays out ten discreet varieties of perfectionism for an individual to self-diagnose, and shows how to use a straightforward, six-step method to bring both relief and peace of mind. As a practicing rational emotive behavior therapist, I will make sure to keep copies available for all my patients."
--Russell Grieger, PhD, clinical psychologist in private practice, organizational consultant, and adjunct professor at the University of Virginia; author of The Couples Therapy Companion, Developing Unrelenting Drive, Dedication, and Determination, and the forthcoming The Serious Business of Being Happy--Russell Grieger, PhD
"Elliot Cohen continues to prove to be the heir to Albert Ellis. In this accessible and instructive new book, Cohen provides hope to those struggling with perfectionism. In extending his logic-based therapeutic approach to combating various forms of obsessionality and self-defeating thoughts and attitudes, he provides a practical six-step method to overcome perfectionistic tendencies and embrace the courage to be imperfect. A classic self-help guidebook."
--Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP, professor in the department of psychology and psychoanalysis at the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto, ON, Canada; and author of Inventing God--Jon Mills, PsyD, PhD, ABPP
"An excellent, exhaustive analysis of perfectionism from the perspective of Albert Ellis's rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Clearly, interestingly, and incisively written, it takes the reader through a guided tour of the various types of perfectionism, the many circumstances under which they occur, their pernicious consequences, and effective strategies for combating them. I highly recommend this book for anyone whose life is diminished by a perfectionistic outlook. You may be surprised by the depth and comprehensiveness of its presence in your own daily functioning."
--Michael R. Edelstein, PhD, clinical psychologist, former training supervisor and fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute, and author of Three Minute Therapy--Michael R. Edelstein, PhD
"Most books on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are written by psychologists; this one is written by a philosopher with a fine grasp of CBT and psychological issues. Standing on the shoulders of philosophical giants, Cohen takes a compassionate view of the human condition and our tendency to ask too much from ourselves and others. He engages us in the wisdom of history's finest thinkers and greatest achievers, inviting us to choose the paths that lead from our personal perfectionism to greater freedom and enjoyment of an imperfect but worthwhile life."
--Irwin F. Altrows, PhD, psychologist in private practice, and adjunct assistant professor in the department of psychology and psychiatry at Queen's University in Kingston, ON, Canada--Irwin F. Altrows, PhD
"A remarkable book, full of helpful techniques for combating the core schema that produce most of the self-inflicted emotional disturbances: perfectionist demands placed on oneself, others, and the world. Especially helpful is the breaking down of perfectionism into the categories of absolutistic needs for achievement, approval, control, and certainty; and how they inevitably produce most emotional disturbances and dysfunctional behavior. The book provides exceptionally helpful rational countermessages for helping people get unstuck from their low self-esteem, depression, anger, anxiety, and low frustration tolerance, as well as techniques to help them better deal with the dysfunctional behaviors that accompany them. Albert Ellis would consider this book as close to perfect as possible in implementing his theory and practice."
--Janet Wolfe, PhD, former director of the Albert Ellis Institute--Janet Wolfe, PhD
"'Nobody's perfect, Dad, ' my then-eight-year-old daughter reminded me decades ago. Alas, many of us make 'perfect' the standard for our own behavior, when 'excellent, ' 'fine, ' or even 'good' would carry the day. We're human. Everyone makes mistakes. Making Peace with Imperfection clearly and systematically addresses the destructive beliefs and behavior patterns that cause perfectionism, offering a six-step procedure for dealing with each of the ten types of perfectionism, integrating philosophical insights with empirically validated interventions from rational emotive behavior therapy, and helping readers devise a personalized approach. This book belongs in the personal growth toolbox of everyone for whom perfect is the enemy of good."
--Robert E. Alberti, PhD, retired psychologist, professor, author, editor, publisher, and coauthor of Your Perfect Right--Robert E. Alberti, PhD

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