Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Do you ever feel as if you’re not as smart as others perceive you to be? Do you worry that someday you’ll be discovered as a fraud? Well, you’re not alone. Those thoughts and feelings are known as imposter syndrome, and estimates are that nearly 70 percent of people have them at some time in their lives. And while both men and women experience imposter syndrome, research shows that women—even highly successful women—are more vulnerable. Whether you are a career woman, a stay-at-home mom or a student, overcoming imposter syndrome is possible. Together, you and I will examine your life. We’ll separate thoughts and feelings from facts. And you’ll learn how to combat imposter syndrome when it arises.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Two psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, first named imposter syndrome in 1978. Basically, it’s the sense that you’re not good enough—you’re not up to the job, you don’t belong, you’re a fake, you’ve fooled everyone—and soon people around you will figure that out, too.
Occasionally doubting your ability is normal. We all do that, especially when faced with a new or challenging task. But when you continually think that you don’t deserve your success, that promotion, your partner or the praise you receive, then you may want to consider counseling for imposter syndrome.
Why Do I Experience Imposter Syndrome?
There are several possible reasons for feelings of imposter syndrome. Some research shows there may be a connection between these feelings and anxiety and depression. There also could be a link between imposter syndrome and childhood memories of, say, feeling that your grades in school weren’t good enough or that your brothers and sisters always did better than you. The environment that you work and live in might play a role, too. We all want to feel like we belong, but if something about us is different—our skin color, ethnicity or accent for example—then that can impact our confidence.
How Can Therapy Help with Overcoming Imposter Syndrome?
First, you and I will talk about your thoughts and feelings that are indicative of imposter syndrome. Just breaking the silence can be a step in the right direction. And knowing that imposter syndrome is real and that you’re not alone can give you confidence.
Secondly, we’ll explore why you might be having these thoughts. Why do you see yourself the way that you do? Then, we can separate what you think from reality. Your thoughts do not necessarily reflect the truth. And that goes for everyone. But for someone facing imposter syndrome, knowing and believing the truth can be difficult.
Finally, I’ll give you tools that you can use when feelings of imposter creep into your thoughts. You’ll learn how to think positively, focus on your past successes and accomplishments, and validate yourself rather than look to others for approval.
My goal is not to help you abolish feelings of imposter syndrome. Rather, I want you to have the insight needed to talk yourself out of those feelings on your own. You may still have the occasional imposter moment, but your thoughts will no longer inhibit you.