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Obsessive Compulsive Personality Traits

Has perfectionism gone too far?

Here are the diagnostic criteria for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder according to the latest edition of the DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition, Text Revision)

A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost.

2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met).

3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity).

4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification).

5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value.


6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things.


7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.


8. Shows rigidity and stubbornness.

Take the OCPD self-assessment.

Valid psychological assessment tools can help you learn more about yourself and help inform your decision about starting therapy.

Click here to take the Pathological Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Scale, developed by Dr. Anthony Pinto, a leading expert in the area of OCPD.

Looking for info about OCD?

If so, click here! OCD and OCPD are two different concerns, but it is possible to have both!

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Does this sound like you?

Whether or not you meet full criteria for a diagnosis of OCPD is less important than whether or not obsessive compulsive personality traits are causing you undue suffering.

Are obsessive-compulsive traits taking a toll on your wellbeing or relationships? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy could help you discover the flexibility you never knew you had, while holding firm to your standards and values.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy does NOT try to change who you are.

I mean it! People with obsessive-compulsive personality traits often experience a high degree of conflict in their lives and are misunderstood. You may have even had negative experiences in therapy in the past. ACT is different.
I believe that your personality is your superpower, and self-acceptance will be the foundation of our work together.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy DOES help you to...

Clarify who you are and what’s important to you, especially in life domains beyond your education/career

Reflect on what’s working in your life and how you can be most effective


Spend more of your life living in the present moment rather than thinking about the future


Reflect on pressures and factors in your history and current life that might be reinforcing patterns you don’t like


Tune into your own emotional experience and the emotional experiences of your loved ones


Mitigate the impacts of procrastination and perfectionism on your task completion

Like any form of therapy, ACT doesn’t guarantee any particular outcome for any specific person. But if you tried a therapy other than ACT before, and you identify with a lot of the information on this page, it’s very possible that ACT could open up new doors in your life that other forms of therapy didn’t.

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