ACT for Perfectionism

About the book


  • Do you strive to give your best in everything you do?
  • Do you deeply care about certain things that you want to get things right?
  • Do you spend hours and hours trying to make the perfect decision?
  • Do you always feel responsible of others’ wellbeing even though you don’t have control of their feelings?
  • Are your perfectionistic actions a “pain killer” or a “vitamin?”

If perfectionism and high achieving behaviors are keeping you stuck, let’s clarify that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn to play the workability game, do things your way, according to your standards and without hurting your wellbeing or your relationships.

Most people believe that perfectionism only relates to careers, academics, sports, or creativity. That’s a myth. Being a perfectionist means that you care deeply, and you may do a looooooooot of things to meet your standards in many areas of your day-to-day life.

Perfectionistic actions can morph into every facet of your everyday life: they can show up as people-pleasing actions, pursuing emotional clarity at all times, denying gray areas when looking at moral issues, cooking only your favorite recipes, following rigid routines when completing domestic tasks, or researching relentlessly for the best vacation experience.

It can show up in how we relate to our body, to exercise, to dating, to parenting…friendships…high standards for our friends. It shows up in multiple ways: the friend who doesn’t buy a car because they keep researching about all types of cars and can’t decide between light turquoise or dark blue; the friend that struggles because things don’t go according to the plan; the parent that spends hours making sure that their kids don’t look disheveled; the lawyer that spends hours and hours in the office; or the high school student that spends more time organizing tasks than doing them.

Are you ready to:

  • Do what you deeply care about?
  • Ditch other people’s definition of success to pursue your own?
  • Bring all your expertise to what you do without dealing with negative costs to your wellbeing?
  • Develop a new mindset to do what you deeply care about without negatively affecting other areas of your life in the long run?

This book is vital for anyone who has wrestled with holding themselves to high personal standards while at the same time drowning in the overwork and overwhelm that such high standards bring. It’s a practical guide that digs into why it’s so hard for high-achievers to step back and let go, and how to embrace progress over perfection to live a calmer, less anxious and happier life. It’s a book that I will absolutely recommend to all of my self-confessed perfectionist clients, colleagues and friends.

Ellen Jackson

Workplace and Coaching Psychologist, Podcaster

If you’re suffering from the chronic stress and strain of perfectionism, help is at hand. But this not just any old help. This is wise, practical, realistic help, based not on pop psychology, but solid science. Within these pages, Patricia Zurita Ona will guide you, with great wisdom and compassion, in breaking free from the shackles of perfectionism, and building a life of freedom and fulfilment. You’re in good hands. Enjoy the journey.

Russ Harris

Author of The Happiness Trap

This book is an incredible resource for anyone struggling to balance their drive for high achievement with their wellbeing and relationships. Underpinned by behavioral science, Dr. Z invites you to consider when to follow perfectionistic actions and when to disentangle from them. She shows you chapter by chapter how to play the workability game while building a fulfilling life. This is my go-to text for any person that wants to learn how to make their high standards work for them over the long term.

Jonny Say

ACT and compassionate-focused therapist

This fabulous book teaches you how to live a vital and meaningful life while pursuing the high standards that you find important and without losing yourself in the process. Using Acceptance and Commitment skills, Dr. Z provides you with a compassionate frame to make sense of your perfectionistic actions, keep them in check, and do what works. You will learn to lean into your values and make room for anxieties and fears of being a failure, without losing your drive to achieve.

Kim Rockwell-Evans, PhD.

OCD and Anxiety Specialists of Dallas

What’s inside?

Chapter: Why Bother With This Book?

Chapter: Doing Things Perfectly Makes Sense!

Chapter: Others Are Wrong, You’re Right

Chapter: Flipping the Coin

Chapter: All Types of High-Achieving Actions

Chapter: How Come You Care So Much?

Chapter: The Many Shades of Fear

Chapter: Mistakes, Errors, Flaws

Chapter: A Special Type of Fear

Chapter: Mental Rubrics

Chapter: Personal Narratives

Chapter: The Future of Caring Behaviors

Chapter: What Are Your Precious Values?

Chapter: Important Questions, Important Answers

Chapter: One Year From Now

Chapter: “Doing Things Right” Is the Right Thing to Do, at Times



About Dr. Z.

Patricia E. Zurita Ona, Psy.D., “Dr. Z,” is a clinical psychologist specialized in working with children, adolescents, and adults struggling with OCD, anxiety, and emotion regulation problems.

Dr. Z is the founder of the East Bay Behavior Therapy Center, a boutique therapy practice, where she runs an intensive outpatient program integrating Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) to support clients getting stuck from obsessions, figure out what they care about, and do stuff that matters to them.

Dr. Z. is a Fellow from the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS), member of the OCD San Francisco Bay Area (affiliate from the International OCD Foundation), and a chair of committee for the Anxiety and Depression American Association (ADAA).

Intensive Outpatient Program

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Our intensive program will teach you all skills you need to get unstuck from worries, fears, anxieties, and obsessions and get back into your life.

You can learn cutting-edge skills 1-1, in a personalized program, with a flexible schedule, and under the care of expert hands.

Online courses

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) skills for
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


Obsessions + compulsions + avoidance = restricted life

I'm afraid of hitting someone in the street if I don't pay attention when driving. I cannot let go of this awful feeling that comes when I don't share everything with some people. If I don't hear from others that I didn't do anything cruel to my kitty, I cannot leave the house. Would I feel love when I die? 

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Why our clients love working with us


"I am very grateful for finding Dr Zurita. She is responsible for teaching my son skills that have changed his life socially and enabled him to leave home and attend an out-of-state university. This was the dream of a lifetime for him and it would not have been possible without her help. Her guidance has also made it possible for him to live a much richer life, full of experiences he would have never considered, prior to his time meeting with Dr. Zurita.

I encourage parents to start this process much sooner, if they sense their child is having difficulty at a social level. Had I understood what he has been going through all of these years, I would have started the process much earlier, so that his prior social experiences and especially those in school, would have been much fuller ....

"Working with Patricia Zurita Ona has changed and saved my life. I have struggled off and on for years with sever anxiety disorder and OCD . I have been to therapy throughout the years and have found some helpful but nothing really got to the core of the problem. I often felt crazy and that my incredible fear and my phobias would remain with me thorough my life, I would not drive on the freeway, eat certain things and had constant catastrophic thinking, thus creating a lot of depression.

I needed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I saw advertised on many therapists’ websites. When I would call most of them they said they offered it and specialized with Anxiety Disorder/ OCD which was not the case. I had felt alone, hopeless and frustrated for the past 9 years. Never feeling like I was getting the help I needed. It was not until I started meeting with Patricia that I actually started to feel better and feel as if I had control over my life and started to live again ...

“Patricia and her team have completely changed my life! I cannot express my gratitude enough.

She helped me craft values and goals I wanted to have in my relationships, and walked me through each step of how to get there. Her methods are simple, manageable, and make sense when you are upset. I’ve been to therapists who have told me to take deep breaths, visualize calming colors, rip paper, go for a walk or scream in to a pillow when im angry. But in the moment, when im soooo angry, none of these world work. I would forget to do them, or I would already be so angry, that they were ineffective to help me calm down. Patricia’s methods are not only EXTREMELY effective, but they are easy to do, they make sense in the moment, and they bring about radical change when you apply them ...


“I do not know how it reflects on my credibility should I happen to brag about being a seasoned vet when it comes to therapists and mental wellness pursuits. Regardless, I am. And on top of that, I also happen to be a health care practitioner myself. This means, for the purposes of a review, that when I walk into a new Doctor’s office, there is an additional dimension of critiquing for me to process. I would never willingly put myself under the guidance and care of a Doctor who did not 1) Impress me as a capable and honest caregiver and 2) Impress me as a professional colleague.

– Empathy
– Knowledge
– Professionalism
– Respect

I think that these are the basic bulletpoints that strike me when I consider why I think so highly of Patricia. Dr. Zurita takes NOTHING more seriously than the pursuit of her profession. Except possibly you, the patient.

Some therapists really care.

Other therapists are extremely knowledgeable.

Very few therapists are both. Patricia Zurita Ona is one of those very few.”

"I have referred several of my most challenging patients to Dr. Patricia Zurita-Ona, and been extremely impressed both with her clinical skills and humanity. I recommend her most highly. John Melbourne McGraw, M.D."

“Dr. Patricia Zurita Ona truly cares about her clients. Behavior therapy with her has benefited myself and my husband regarding my obsessive compulsive behavior. She has a gentle and kind approach and I would recommend her to others.”

“I was referred to Patricia Zurita Ona from my son’s psychiatrist for cognitive behavioral therapy treatment of his obsessive compulsive disorder (ocd) and anxiety which rose to a level which was out of control. Dr. Zurita Ona is very skilled at working with teens who suffer from anxiety, especially related to academic success and test anxiety. She helped my son learn coping mechanisms and stress reducing strategies to control his level of anxiety. Dr. Zurita Ona introduced my son to a great stress relieving app which involves deep breathing and meditation. She has an amazing ability to connect with teens and get them to open up about their struggles, create realistic plans of attack and create goals so they can lead joyful lives and not be so burdened with their stress. We saw her weekly for about 1-2 years and my son’s sessions with her were very beneficial to not only him, but our entire family as his stress was causing tension for us all. Dr. Zurita Ona explained to me why my son had certain behaviors and ways to help him learn new strategies to cope with his anxiety. If you have a teen who needs help to learn how to manage and control stress and anxiety, schedule a session with Dr. Zurita Ona! I highly recommend her services!”

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Are your striving actions a vitamin or a painkiller?


In this book you will learn Acceptance and Commitment Skills to:

- Harness the power of high-achieving, perfectionistic and striving actions without losing yourself. 

- Give your best and push yourself without sacrificing your well-being.

- Care for others without postponing your needs.



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