In extreme cases, this condition can lead to chronic self-doubt, low self-esteem and an almost painful loss of control over events in your life. Imposter syndrome counselling will help you foresee doubts and find adequate coping mechanisms with factual arguments and a system which will not allow your mind to derail and give away the right over your successes to somebody else external to you.
What is imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which you are unable to internalise your accomplishments or acknowledge your success as truly deserved. In your eyes, your role in what you achieve looks completely different to how other people see you. You are powerful and creative, yet you, on some level, feel like a complete fraud, a scam artist, a nobody..
The most common symptoms are:
Feeling not good enough
You might feel like you don’t deserve the position you have, or that people are more talented than you. This can make it hard to perform at your best, which makes things worse and adds to the sense of failure. You may also feel like some of your colleagues are smarter than you and know more about their jobs than you do—even if this isn’t true in reality! Even a natural genius can feel like an imposter at times.
Feeling like a fraud
Imposter syndrome is a feeling that you are not good enough for what you have achieved, despite evidence of your success. You may feel like a fraud or wonder if others will find out the truth about you and your work. Impostor syndrome is very common among people with high-achieving careers as measuring a long-run of achievements systematically is difficult, especially in a world where sharing successes is looked upon in a negative light.
Imposter syndrome can also affect you if you are from lower socioeconomic background or belong to minority groups (such as members of the LGBTQ community, people of colour or immigrants).
What does imposter syndrome feel like
A raise? But why are you getting one if all you did was the required? You never overachieved, according to your understanding.
Your partner is ideal – caring and thoughtful, providing warmth when you feel cold, reasons to smile when you are overwhelmed, and a back rub when stress is getting to you. Yet you are not doing enough to deserve this.
You finally saved enough to buy that home, a dream home for your family. It has been years of hard work, limitations, and compromises, but you’re finally there. But it would have been more deserved by someone like your mother, who lived in much more complicated times or your neighbour who is suffering from a health condition.
Impostor syndrome is not a logical occurrence; it is based on fear and doubt. Although facts say that you deserve your present, your doubt and fear send signals to your brain that, in fact, you are much lower in the food chain than your achievements show.
How do you know if you have imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome can be difficult to identify, but there are a few signs that might help you recognise this condition:
What causes imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is just a name for a set of psychological phenomena. The main cause is a misunderstanding of your own mind; starting to understand your internal processes can make you take yourself way less seriously. Imposter syndrome will disappear on inspection of its roots in reality. ‘Educating’ through social media, where everything is edited and prerecorded, is also aiding in the rise of people feeling unrightfully successful. When you cannot personally follow their journey, when they only show the right side of their lives, it creates a skewed view of life. All you can do is internalise the difficulties while the others spread misinformation. But this can happen outside of social media, too. When meeting people occasionally and all you get are highlights of their endeavours, the achievements but not the bumpy road that lead to them, you compare your difficulties to their highlights.
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How to deal with imposter syndrome
The first step is to recognise that you are not alone. Impostor phenomenon can happen to anyone including people in long-term relationships, graduate students, manages and CEOs. It can begin at any stage in their life and career. What’s important to remember is that everyone feels like an imposter sometimes. Controlling these feelings will bring you forward and let you live your life free of doubt and fear.
If you have impostor syndrome, it doesn’t mean that you are an imposter or fraud. It means only that your understanding of self-esteem is lower than deserved and needs some attention. The next step is to ask for help. If your work or personal life suffers as a result of your current understanding, then this is worth addressing with a counsellor or therapist. We can help you manage these thoughts.
Learning how to be kinder towards yourself and recognise all the good things will let you get back the self-worth which has been lost in this cycle of negative thoughts regarding your capability at work and in life in general.
How to overcome imposter syndrome
Setting realistic goals is one example of an easy win against this feeling of being unrightfully successful. If you have the pre-recognition that your goal is realisable, you will not feel like you achieved the unachievable.
Another method we can discuss during our imposter syndrome counselling sessions is tracking your successes through a schedule, a milestone chart or in another easy-to-handle and follow way.
Discussing your achievements with like-minded people would help you feel more at ease when sharing and not as though you are supposed to feel guilty about ‘bragging’ and ‘looking arrogant’ as many communities nowadays consider this kind of sharing. Group sessions can help you achieve this.
What is most important is to get an understanding of your own mind and how the creation of the illusion of an imposter appears, which will allow you to counter it. This is what we do here in therapy; we start to unpack and free you from the beliefs you have created that become paralysing.
How common is imposter syndrome
People experience impostor syndrome, but it’s not something that people tend to talk about. In fact, many people who experience imposter syndrome aren’t even aware that they have it until they’re in therapy or coaching sessions with someone who helps them identify their feelings and beliefs around their work.
Imposter syndrome counselling and therapy
If you are suffering from impostor feelings, counselling and therapy can help. In therapy, you will work with us to discover the root cause of your imposter syndrome and help you overcome it.
You will learn how to understand your imposter syndrome so that it does not affect you as much, in fact you will be free, and there will be much more important things on your mind.
How can counselling help me with imposter syndrome?
Counselling will help you undo the emotional chains that imposter syndrome puts on your mind by understanding the phenomenon and reflecting on why you have these feelings. Upon inspection of the internalised reasons for your thoughts and beliefs, you will work towards unravelling the root causes and solving any unsolved issues from the past.
Counselling can also help you improve your mental health and teach you to manage your negative feelings so that they don’t control your life or hold you back from achieving what is important to you. You can learn new ways of dealing with problems via a different understanding of yourself and your own mind.
Question & Answers
IMPOSTER SYNDROME - FAQ
What is imposter syndrome at work?
Imposter syndrome at work is where you feel you are in the wrong job, and you are about to be found out from someone senior to you, you may experience humiliation and shame in the process of being found out, it’s often not unlike physical anxiety and tension in the body, but it is of the same source as any imposter syndrome, our own mind, it is not a real thing, but we do help people see it differently.
Why is imposter syndrome so common?
Quite simply, because people become overly identified with the story they live out in their own mind and don’t see their true nature, who they are.
Does imposter syndrome need a diagnosis?
Is there medication for imposter syndrome?
We don’t get involved in these if there are, you would have to ask a psychiatrist, doctor or advanced nurse practitioner who would know more, you can come to therapy with or without medication.
All labels are just that, they are not explanations of behaviour but descriptions of behavioural experiences, they cannot be related or caused apart from conceptually, this is not a helpful place to look.
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I had therapy with Jason over the period of 9 months while struggling with a relationship break up. Jason helped me understand myself, my cravings and the darkness I experienced which has really helped me move on and feel free in my life, cannot recommend enough.
Jason really helped me with my eating disorder, I had been struggling my whole life and tried so many other ways to find help but they were all temporary solutions. Jason helped me see how much I contributed towards my own misery, and that I could live a life free of these struggles now.
This was a miraculous experience of seeing a deeper dimension of life. I saw myself as having the weight of the world on my shoulders and it only took a moment to see that it was all just imaginary, I saw myself in a new light, life got easier and more fun immediately.