Dear all,

For years it has become clear to me that perfectionism is the impetus for the lack of recovery, deepening of problems and build-up of secondary complaints in addition to a somatic disorder or mild traumatic brain injury.

My area of interest is mainly in the treatment of PCS and being able to give insights to society what PCS is and that it is often an interaction between a) an influence of a displacement of the brain in the skull b) with very typical behavioural traits that were previously deeply present in people’s personalities. In my opinion, PCS is an interaction model between residual complaints, mild traumatic brain injury and deep, typical, learned reactions that give the brain a certain direction, how to think and how to interpret emotions.

Let’s start by explaining what we’re talking about: What really is perfectionism and what behaviours are reflected in perfectionism.


Perfectionism refers to the tendency to strive for or demand that things be perfect. It can have both positive and negative characteristics, depending on the degree to which it is experienced and how the individual copes with it. Here are some characteristics of perfectionism:

High standards:

Perfectionists often set extraordinarily high standards for themselves and others. They strive for perfection in their performance, appearance, relationships, and so on.

Fear of mistakes:

Perfectionists often have an intense fear of making mistakes. They sometimes avoid tasks or challenges for fear of failure.

Self-criticism: Perfectionists are often very self-critical and set strict standards for themselves. They may see themselves as deficient, even if others consider their performance to be excellent.

Procrastination Behaviour:

Because perfectionists fear that they won’t be able to live up to their own high standards, they may procrastinate or avoid tasks.

Difficulties in decision-making:

Perfectionists sometimes have trouble making decisions because they are afraid of making the wrong choice. They want to make the best decision and therefore avoid risks.

Black-and-white thinking:

Perfectionists tend to think in terms of “all or nothing.” They rarely see a gray area and view performance as perfect or completely failed.

Difficulty with satisfaction:

Perfectionists often find it difficult to be satisfied, even when they are successful. They focus more on what can be improved than on what has already been achieved.

Over-involvement in work:

Perfectionists can be inclined to put an excessive amount of time and effort into their work. They have a hard time letting go of tasks because they are always striving for perfectionism.

Influence on well-being:

Perfectionism can have negative effects on an individual’s well-being, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical health issues.

It is important to note that the interaction between perfectionism and post-concussion syndrome can vary individually. People with PCS can benefit from a holistic approach to their well-being, taking into account both the physical and psychological aspects of their recovery. Professional counselling, such as neuropsychological evaluation and appropriate psychological support, can be helpful in dealing with both the physical and emotional aspects of PCS, especially if perfectionism plays a role.

  1. Healthy Perfectionism:
  • Positive motivation: People with healthy perfectionism strive for excellence and quality, driven by positive motivation and the desire to perform at their best.
  • Realistic goals: They set realistic goals and accept that mistakes and failures are part of the learning process.
  • Adaptive perfectionism: This type of perfectionism is adaptive and can lead to personal growth and development.
  1. Unhealthy – Neurotic perfectionism:
  • Negative motivation: Unhealthy perfectionism is often driven by fear of rejection, fear of failure, or a deep-seated need for approval from others.
  • Unrealistic goals: People with unhealthy perfectionism often set unrealistically high goals that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
  • Black-and-white thinking: They tend to think in black-and-white terms, with success being considered perfection and any form of failure being seen as completely unacceptable.
  • Low self-esteem: Unhealthy perfectionism can be accompanied by low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, even in the face of success.

In addition, there are also some specific forms of perfectionism, such as:

  1. Social perfectionism:
  • This focuses on the fear of rejection and negative reviews from others. People with social perfectionism strive for perfection in order to gain social approval.
  1. Self-centred perfectionism:
  • This involves making excessively high demands on oneself. The individual sets the bar high and is often stricter on himself than on others.
  1. Parental Perfectionism:
  • Children of parents with high expectations and perfectionist standards can also develop perfectionist behaviour themselves as a result of this upbringing.

Perfectionism is a complex phenomenon and can vary in intensity and impact on an individual’s well-being. It’s important to recognize that healthy perfectionism can be positive, but unhealthy perfectionism can be detrimental to mental health. Finding a healthy balance is often crucial.

How does perfectionism affect recovery from a somatic disorder or brain injury?

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) refers to a set of symptoms that can occur after a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. It is often characterized by persistent headaches, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and emotional changes. The interaction between perfectionism and post-concussion syndrome can vary depending on several factors:

  1. Stresslevel:

Perfectionism can increase stress levels, and stress on its own can exacerbate the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. Individuals with perfectionist tendencies may have more difficulty coping with the stress associated with the symptoms of PCS

  1. Recovery Processes:

Perfectionism can affect the perception of the recovery process. People who are perfectionists may have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they need to recover or about achieving perfection in recovery, which can affect their psychological well-being.

  1. Self-assessment:

Perfectionism can lead to critical self-evaluation and self-criticism. In PCS, cognitive symptoms such as difficulty with concentration and memory can lead to frustration and self-doubt, which can be amplified in perfectionist individuals.

  1. Treatment:

Perfectionism can also affect a person’s willingness to seek treatment and the way they respond to therapy. Perfectionist individuals may have high demands on themselves, including their recovery process, which can affect the therapeutic relationship and the effectiveness of treatment.

It is important to note that the interaction between perfectionism and post-concussion syndrome can vary individually. People with PCS can benefit from a holistic approach to their well-being, taking into account both the physical and psychological aspects of their recovery. Professional counselling, such as neuropsychological evaluation and appropriate psychological support, can be helpful in dealing with both the physical and emotional aspects of PCS, especially if perfectionism plays a role.

In our treatment centre in Helmond and the new location in the Cap de Creus – Mas dels Arbres, we tried to reduce the strength of perfectionism and to disconnect it from the effects caused by the brain trauma. This creates a new balance in which people can recover – improve. This is because the brain is plastic and when stimulus processing is delayed, this system relaxes and recovers. When stimulus processing is accelerated, the exact opposite happens.

Perfectionism Part II

It is very important to let neurotic-negative perfectionism diminish in strength. Below is an explanation of why.

Mankind has existed for 250,000 years and like face, timbre, fingerprint everyone differs from each other in terms of mindset. For 250,000 years, all DNA variations have occurred, so we can say that you are a unique product of mother Earth.

However, environmental influences can affect the human mind in such a way that we no longer differ from each other, but that we develop the same thoughts and behaviours. This is a very unhealthy situation for the species, but also for the individual. We can say that neurotic perfectionism is a harbinger of misery that will manifest itself in burn out, anxiety disorder and depression. This is due to the constant overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, causing us to develop complaints and develop the same behaviours and thoughts. Earlier we stated that there should be a strong alternation between turning on and off the nervous system.

Negative perfectionism can be detrimental to both an individual’s well-being and performance. Here are some reasons why it’s important to break negative perfectionism:

Mental health:

Negative perfectionism is often accompanied by self-criticism, anxiety, and stress. People who strive for unrealistic perfection often set the bar very high for themselves and experience constant pressure to live up to unattainable standards. This can lead to anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health issues.


Negative perfectionism can affect a person’s self-image. The constant feeling of inadequacy and the pursuit of perfection can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of self-esteem.

Hindrance to performance:

Paradoxically, perfectionism can also be a barrier to effective performance. People can be so afraid of making mistakes that they avoid risks and don’t fully exploit their potential. This can lead to missed opportunities and stagnation in personal and professional growth.

 Interpersonal Relationships:

Negative perfectionism can also affect the way people interact with others. They may have high expectations of others and experience difficulties in accepting mistakes of their own and others. This can lead to tensions in relationships.

Creativity and innovation:

Perfectionism can hinder creativity and innovation. Fear of mistakes can cause people to stick to familiar methods and avoid exploring new ideas or approaches.

Quality of life:

By breaking through negative perfectionism, a person can experience a better quality of life. Reducing the pressure to be perfect gives room for personal growth, fulfilment, and a healthier life perspective.

Breaking through neurotic perfectionism

Breaking through negative perfectionism often goes hand in hand with developing healthy coping mechanisms, learning to deal with mistakes, and setting realistic goals. It promotes resilience, well-being, and a more positive outlook on life.

As stated earlier, negative perfectionism can lead to anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem. Here are some suggestions that we also apply in our program at Mas dels Arbres to tackle negative perfectionism – neurotic perfectionism:


Recognize and acknowledge that your perfectionism is a problem. Identify specific situations in which your pursuit of perfection affects your well-being.

Set Realistic Goals:

Set goals that are challenging but achievable. Learn to accept that no one is perfect, and it’s normal to make mistakes.

Learn from mistakes:

See mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, not evidence of inadequacy. Try to take positive lessons from each experience.

Break down tasks:

Break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. This can reduce overwhelm and make it easier to progress.

Focus on the process, not just the outcome:

Focus on the process of learning and growing rather than just the end result. Appreciate the efforts you make.

Be kind to yourself:

Talk to yourself as you would to a friend. Avoid harsh self-criticism and embrace self-compassion.

Set Realistic Standards:

Realize that perfection is unattainable. Set realistic standards for yourself and others.

Use positive affirmations:

Repeat positive affirmations to reinforce yourself and counteract negative thoughts.

Seek Support:

Talk to friends, family, or a professional about your feelings and challenges. Sometimes sharing your experiences and hearing other perspectives can help.

Develop healthy coping mechanisms:

Learn healthy ways to cope with stress, such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, or creative expression.

Change Perfectionist Beliefs:

Examine and challenge negative beliefs about perfectionism. Ask yourself where these beliefs come from and if they are realistic.

Professional Help:

If negative perfectionism is having a serious impact on your well-being, consider professional help from a therapist or counsellor.

  • Remember that addressing negative perfectionism is a process that requires time and consistency. It’s important to take small steps and allow yourself to grow.


It is extremely important to recognize the origin of neurotic perfectionism:

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of negative perfectionism:


Parenting plays a crucial role in the formation of personality traits, including perfectionism. If parents or caregivers constantly have high expectations and criticize mistakes, the child may develop the belief that mistakes are unacceptable.

Ambient pressure:

Social and cultural pressures can contribute to negative perfectionism. If the society in which a person lives strongly values achievements and disapproves of mistakes, it can lead to the development of perfectionist tendencies.


People with low self-esteem may be at a higher risk of negative perfectionism. They may try to boost their self-esteem by pursuing extraordinary achievements and avoid making mistakes.

Fear of rejection:

Some people are afraid of rejection or condemnation by others. This can encourage them to perfectionism to avoid being criticized. They may believe that perfection will protect them from negative judgments.

Fear of failure:

A deep-seated fear of failure can fuel negative perfectionism. People can be so afraid of failure that they put enormous pressure on themselves to be perfect in everything they do.

Competitive Environment:

Participating in a highly competitive environment, such as academic competitions, sports competitions, or demanding work environments, can lead to developing negative perfectionism. The urge to always be the best can promote unhealthy perfectionist patterns.

It is very important to discover the origins of neurotic perfectionism, to think about it and to talk about it with others. In Mas dels Arbres you can learn to break through a negative trend, to come to your own individual thoughts and to get to know inner calm and to become part of your lifestyle.

Perfectionism Part III

Through upbringing and environmental influences, people develop a representation of their world and order things the way they think they should be ordered.

Now, however, it is extremely difficult in the conversations with my patients to explain what a healthy representation is, which forms the basis of your entire thinking. Due to numerous circumstances, your thinking can be so distorted that you think that setting the bar very high is the representation that is good, or you are constantly running out of steam for someone else that you think is a good representation of life.

A lot of psychologists and doctors don’t take into account what the actual representation of their patients’ lives is. However, these thoughts are crucially important to achieve health and to understand burnout, anxiety and depression.

When you always set the bar high because you think you have to, you constantly stimulate your sympathetic system in the brain, which leads to sympathetic overdrive so that you can’t recover from a whiplash, concussion or Covid 19 infection, for example.  When you always take care of others, you don’t get to rest yourself, which also puts you in a sympathetic overdrive. When you’re constantly worried about what others think of you and you have trouble judging, you won’t be able to find an internal peace. When you are insecure, you are always in suspense about whether you are doing things right and the internal motor is also constantly on.

These things are crucial in realizing that you can achieve internal peace – mental health. I have been thinking about what guidelines there should be in people’s thinking – the representation – in order to arrive at a healthy representation.

In summary, we come to the following conclusions.

A healthy representation for mental health involves several aspects. Here are some key elements:

Emotional well-being:

People need to be able to recognize, understand, and deal with their emotions. This includes the ability to manage stress, be resilient in the face of adversity, and maintain positive relationships with others.


Healthy mental health involves accepting oneself, including strengths and weaknesses. This helps people to set realistic goals and not constantly compare themselves to others.


It’s important to strike a balance between work, personal time, and social interactions. Too much stress or one-sided focus on one area of life can be detrimental to mental health.


Taking time for self-care activities, such as getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet, contributes to a positive mental state.


Having goals and meaning in life contributes to a sense of accomplishment and contentment. This can range from personal accomplishments to contributing to something bigger than oneself.

Social Connectedness:

Maintaining healthy relationships and social connectedness is crucial. Strong social support systems can help cope with stress and provide a sense of community.

Seeking help when needed:

It’s important for people to know that it’s okay to seek help if they need it. This can range from talking to friends or family to getting professional help from a therapist or counselor.

Breaking Stigma:

A healthy representation of mental health also means breaking the stigma around mental health issues. Open communication and understanding contribute to a supportive society.

It’s essential to remember that mental health is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Healthy mental health is dynamic and requires constant attention and care.

In Mas dels Arbres, we take a cognitive journey to see which representations you do or do not use. It is extremely important that the basis of your thinking is healthy and that you can switch well between internal turmoil and rest. We are originally predators and we really need to be ‘on’ during the day, but predators also need a lot of rest and we need to be able to experience internal peace for a large part of the day.

The above representations give you a guideline on how to achieve internal peace and an internal representation to be able to change course towards a deep sense of persistent mental health. Again, 75% of people are completely cured of a concussion. It lies in the combination with perfectionism that prevents 15% of humanity from succeeding.

It is a complex interaction that takes place as a result of which the symptoms are maintained, maintained and can even worsen. Recovery starts with changing how you look at the world and coming to a deep realization that there is interaction, that you understand this interaction and that you need to change a core representation of what you find important in life.

This path leads to healing and a creative and happy life filled with contentment.

Information about Mas dels Arbres google:

Dr. J.T. Erik Matser , clinical neuropsychologist

Polikliniek neuropsychologie Helmond – the Netherlands

Mas dels Arbres – Cap de Creus – Catalunya – Espana.