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Mental Health

Brief Assessment and Referral Coordinator

Karin Rogers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She earned an MSW from the University of Washington School of Social Work in 2003 and a JD from the University of Washington School of Law in 2009. Before coming to Hall Health, she worked in the crisis department of a community mental health organization. Her clinical focus has been on crisis intervention, clinical assessment, and helping people to navigate the mental health system. Karin’s clinical approach is empathic, collaborative, and solution focused. She enjoys supporting people as they identify their challenges, strengths, and goals, and working with them to access the internal and external resources that will support them along their paths. (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, license # LW60145809).

Are you someone who:

  • Feels like what you accomplish is never quite good enough? 
  • Feels you must give more than 100 percent on everything you do or else you will be mediocre or even a failure?
  • Often puts off turning in papers or projects, waiting to get them just right?

If so, rather than simply working toward success, you may be trying to be perfect, and there exists quite a difference between aiming for a successful life and trying to achieve perfection.

What's the difference between a perfectionist and a "healthy striver"?

Perfectionist Healthy striver

Sets standards beyond reach and reason

Sets high standards, but just beyond reach

Is never satisfied by anything less than perfection

Enjoys process as well as outcome

Becomes dysfunctionally depressed when experiences failure and disappointment

Bounces back from failure and disappointment quickly and with energy

Is preoccupied with fear of failure and disapproval — this can deplete energy levels

Keeps normal anxiety and fear of failure and disapproval within bounds — uses them to create energy

Sees mistakes as evidence of unworthiness

Sees mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning

Becomes overly defensive when criticized

Reacts positively to helpful criticism

Perfectionism: How does it feel?perfectionism_grouptx.jpg

Of course we all want to be successful and produce good work in our everyday lives. Setting high expectations can be motivating and quite healthy. However, when taken to the extreme, our productivity can actually decrease. Perfectionists frequently experience many of the symptoms listed below:

  • Fear of failure. Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth or value.
  • Fear of making mistakes. Perfectionists often equate mistakes with failure. In orienting their lives around avoiding mistakes, perfectionists miss opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Fear of disapproval. If they let others see their flaws, perfectionists often fear that they will no longer be accepted. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to protect themselves from criticism, rejection, and disapproval.
  • All-or-none thinking. Perfectionists frequently believe that they are worthless if their accomplishments are not perfect. Perfectionists have difficulty seeing situations in perspective. For example, a "straight A" student who receives a "B" might believe, "I am a total failure."
  • Overemphasis on "shoulds." Perfectionists' lives are often structured by an endless list of "shoulds" that serve as rigid rules for how their lives must be led. With such an overemphasis on shoulds, perfectionists rarely take into account their own wants and desires.
  • Believing that others are easily successful. Perfectionists tend to perceive others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few errors, emotional stress, and maximum self-confidence. At the same time, perfectionists view their own efforts as unending and forever inadequate.

The vicious cycle of perfectionism and self-esteem

If you are a perfectionist, it is likely that you learned early in life that other people valued you because of how much you accomplished or achieved, meaning you may have learned to value yourself only on the basis of other people's approval. Thus your self-esteem may have come to be based primarily on external standards. This can leave you vulnerable and excessively sensitive to the opinions and criticism of others. In attempting to protect yourself from such criticism, you may decide that being perfect is your only defense. Below is a cycle that perfectionists often find themselves experiencing and some other consequences of perfectionism.

  1. First, perfectionists set unreachable goals, failure is inevitable.
  2. They fail to meet these goals because the goals were impossible to begin with.
  3. The constant pressure to achieve perfection and the inevitable chronic failure reduce productivity and effectiveness.
  4. This cycle leads perfectionists to be self-critical and self-blaming which results in lower self-esteem. It may also lead to anxiety and depression.
  5. Perfectionists may give up completely on their goals and set different goals thinking, "This time if only I try harder I will succeed." Such thinking sets the entire cycle in motion again.

Consequences of perfectionism

  • Depression
  • Performance anxiety
  • Test anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Writer's block
  • Obsessiveness
  • Compulsiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loneliness
  • Impatience
  • Frustration
  • Anger

What to do about perfectionism

The first step in changing from perfectionistic attitudes to healthy striving is to realize that perfectionism is undesirable. Perfection is an illusion that is unattainable. The next step is to challenge the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that fuel perfectionism. Some of the following strategies may help:

  • Set realistic and reachable goals based on your own wants and needs and what you have accomplished in the past. This will enable you to achieve and also will lead to a greater sense of self-esteem.
  • Set subsequent goals in a sequential manner. As you reach a goal, set your next goal one level beyond your present level of accomplishment.
  • Experiment with your standards for success. Choose any activity and instead of aiming for 100 percent, try for 90 percent, 80 percent, or even 60 percent success. This will help you to realize that the world does not end when you are not perfect.
  • Focus on the process of doing an activity not just on the end result. Evaluate your success not only in terms of what you accomplished but also in terms of how much you enjoyed the task. Recognize that there can be value in the process of pursuing a goal.
  • Use feelings of anxiety and depression as opportunities to ask yourself, "Have I set up impossible expectations for myself in this situation?"
  • Confront the fears that may be behind your perfectionism by asking yourself, "What am I afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen?"
  • Recognize that many positive things can only be learned by making mistakes. When you make a mistake ask, "What can I learn from this experience?" More specifically, think of a recent mistake you have made and list all the things you can learn from it.
  • Avoid all-or-none thinking in relation to your goals. Learn to discriminate the tasks you want to give high priority to from those tasks that are less important to you. On less important tasks, choose to put forth less effort.

Once you have tried these suggestions, you are likely to realize that perfectionism is not a helpful or necessary influence in your life. There are alternative ways to think that are more beneficial. Not only are you likely to achieve more without your perfectionism, but you will feel better about yourself in the process.

Additional resources

Source: Some content used with permission from University of Michigan Counseling Center.


Are you concerned that your symptoms could be ADD/ADHD?

Symptoms commonly associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are also caused by a variety of other illnesses and conditions. These symptoms include:

Consulting Psychiatrist

Thomas H. Lampe, MD is a Board-certified Psychiatrist with added qualifications in Geriatric Psychiatry (through 2021).


1968 - 1972 BA, Political Science, Northwestern University
1973 - 1977 MD, Indiana University School of Medicine

Postgraduate training

1977 - 1981 Psychiatry residency (including internship), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral  Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Faculty positions

07/90 - 03/31/12 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of   Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
12/13 - Present Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of   Washington School of Medicine, Seattle


In 1981, during his year as Chief Resident, Dr. Lampe rotated for several months as a Psychiatrist-in-Training at Hall Health Center at the University of Washington. Dr. Lampe recalls his Hall Health Rotation as one of the most clinically valuable and enriching rotations of his psychiatry residency.

In 1982, Dr. Lampe accepted a full-time position with the Veteran's Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System (VA) at its American Lake (Tacoma) Division.  The position involved a focus on clinical research of Alzheimer’s Disease. Upon Dr. Lampe’s retirement from VA Puget Sound, in March, 2012, his VA career had spanned more than 30 years of continuous federal service. During the last half of his VA career, Dr. Lampe was primarily involved in addressing the mental health needs of combat veterans. Dr. Lampe was also particularly involved in addressing the mental health issues of men and women veterans who had deployed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At this point in his professional career, Dr. Tom Lampe is is pleased to have an opportunity to return to Hall Health Mental Health Center.  As a Consulting Psychiatrist, Dr. Lampe invites and fosters an active and collaborative relationship with the individuals with whom he is working.

Your guide to staying in tip-top physical and mental condition


Just as regular maintenance is health insurance for your car, it is also health insurance for your body. Maintaining your health now will prevent you from needing major "repairs" later. Making healthy choices now will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

recovery.jpgGroup therapy for relapse prevention

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention is a University of Washington developed, evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be helpful for individuals who are currently in recovery for addictive behaviors.

Learn how to:

  • Develop awareness of triggers and craving and learn new ways to respond rather than react to them.
  • Learn how to tolerate discomfort and practice skills for relating to challenging emotional and physical experiences.

  • Engage a mindful approach toward yourself and your experiences and learn tools that support long-term recovery.

Group details

  • Where:  Mental Health Clinic at Hall Health Center
  • Session length:  8 weeks
  • Cost: Free
  • More information: If you would like to enroll, contact the Mental Health Clinic at (206) 543-5030.


Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Carey DeMartini received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy from Antioch University Seattle in 2002. She became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) by the state of Washington in 2006 and has been a Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) since 2007. In addition to her training in mental health counseling and art therapy, Carey is also trained in yoga instruction and yoga therapy. She has worked in the mental health field in a variety of settings. She is grateful for a wide range of experiences in working with people of all ages individually and in groups facing together life transitions, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, multicultural issues, stress management, trauma, addictions, and eating disorders.  Carey works collaboratively with her clients. She believes it is important to listen to her clients’ goals and intentions for coming to therapy, explore past experiences as they relate to their situation, and problem-solve in a non-judgmental, safe, and compassionate therapeutic environment. Her theoretical approach to therapy is eclectic and guided by psychodynamic and humanistic theories as well as person-centered, strengths-based and mindfulness practices. Foundationally, she believes in each person's intrinsic capacity to learn, heal, grow, and thrive.

(Licensed mental health counselor, license LH00010362)

Legal in Washington but not on campus

Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is legal in Washington State for those over the age of 21.  However, you may not smoke pot anywhere on the University of Washington campus.

How can I help a friend whose alcohol use may be harming them?

The most obvious signs that a friend has a drinking problem include:

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