Counselling for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is a term that therapists use to explain the psychological condition of those people who feel unable to acknowledge their accomplishments, who feel as though they are a fraud, ‘not good enough’ or that they are ‘being given credit for something they don’t feel they deserve’. Counselling for Imposter Syndrome seeks to look at why they are unable to accept their ‘skills’, ‘talents’ or ‘worth’ and seeks to build up self-worth and self-belief.
The anxiety that you will one day be ‘found out’ or exposed is a constant presence in your life. This syndrome can also be known as ‘imposter phenomenon’ or ‘fraud syndrome’.
Often the feeling of being an ‘imposter’ or ‘waiting to be found out’ is work or career related and is often associated with high achieving individuals, but this is not always the case, indeed for many the feeling of being ‘unworthy’ or ‘undeserving’ of their personal life or good fortune is quite common.
Why do I feel I’m not good enough?
Imposter syndrome is more common than you may think, and is a frequent concern that arises in counselling.
The difficult aspect of imposter syndrome is that your internal self-doubt overrides any form of logic, evidence or fact. Self-doubt will win any argument or challenge you present it with, leaving you with the notion that your ability to deceive others and create this ‘fraudulent’ character is the only thing you’re actually good at.
Feeling like a fraud at work, feeling like a fraud in academic institutions and feeling like a fraud amongst peers are common areas where this syndrome arises, but it does not just exist in relation to these things.
Imposter syndrome has been said to be more prevalent and effect more women and that they experience imposter syndrome more frequently than men, particularly in relation to feeling like a fraud in their career.
However, the reality seen in counselling is that imposter syndrome in men is just as common.
How can counselling help me stop feeling like a fraud?
This syndrome does not arise out of nowhere and is linked to deeper emotions around feeling as though you are not good enough.
It can also be linked to a need to protect oneself for a reason. The Idea that you are a ‘fake’ or a ‘fraudster’ can be about feeling that the ‘real you’ is something others will not accept or that you feel unable to reveal the ‘real you’ to others, and the ‘fake’/ ‘fraudster’ you becomes a form of a mask.
Counselling first and foremost is a space to realise that you are not alone. Imposter syndrome can feel very isolating particularly when the syndrome plays on thoughts such as “everyone else is meant to be here but me” or “I’m going to be found out”. The idea that you are “keeping a secret” from everyone else can be a very desolate and lonesome place. Taking the steps to discuss it with someone can be the beginning of diminishing the syndromes sense of power and dominance over you and the beginnings of changing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Counselling for Imposter Syndrome – A safe space to open up
Counselling is also a space where you can begin to explore these feelings, begin to check them with reality, but also to understand where the feeling of ‘not being good enough’ has come from. In understating this, you are able to challenge the syndrome.
Using your awareness of where these negative self-thoughts or self-doubts began, can also be used in relation to cognitive behaviour therapy for Imposter Syndrome. This can help you to cope with the feelings and thoughts of being undeserving when they do come up – to challenge automatic thoughts such as “everyone else is smarter than me” or “I don’t belong here”. Again, it is the realisation that you do not have to live with these thoughts, that you can challenge and overcome them rather than feeling that they control you.
Take the first step to overcoming the feeling of never being good enough and contact Rachel to discuss Counselling for Imposter Syndrome & feeling like a fraud
Useful Advice & Further Information About Imposter Syndrome
An amusing article on suffering Imposter Syndrome
21 Proven Ways To Overcome Impostor Syndrome
An inspirational TED Talk about confidence and self belief and how we can, to a degree, learn the skills. About 16 mins in Amy talks about Imposter Syndrome.
Fake It Till You Become It:
The School Of Life:
This website is a great resource for life skills and here they explain ‘Imposter Syndrome’