Imposter syndrome has become something of a buzzword in popular culture. It’s a term used to describe things like self-doubt, difficulty accepting your own accomplishments, and feeling like a fraud — even when there’s no real reason to have those thoughts.
Psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the term “imposter phenomenon” in 1978, and it’s since evolved into what we now call imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome may affect people at various stages in their lives and oftentimes affects high-performing people who have achieved some level of success. Unfortunately, it can prevent people from enjoying their hard work, decrease their belief in themselves, and may cause significant psychological distress.
At Psychology Beverly Hills, our therapists are familiar with imposter syndrome and work with clients who are experiencing this difficulty to understand what they are going through and to help them find ways to overcome it. We are committed to helping people live their best lives by offering personalized, high quality, evidence based therapy services.
The signs of imposter syndrome
It’s normal to experience low confidence or self-doubt from time to time. These feelings are a natural part of being human, but some people experience negative thoughts more frequently and intensely than others.
If you find yourself worrying that you don’t deserve the things you’ve accomplished, or you believe you got where you are due to luck or some other external factor, you may be struggling with imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is an internal experience, and it affects everyone differently. It can make certain thoughts run through your mind and make you feel like:
- You’re not as competent as those around you
- You're not as competent as others think you are
- You’re a fraud
- You got where you are by chance
- You don’t belong where you are
- You need to work harder to make up for your inadequacies
People with imposter syndrome might be very critical of their performance and drive themselves to achieve perfection. They may strive to overachieve without taking time to realistically evaluate their abilities and performance. At times, they might even feel like quitting because of all the internal pressure placed on themselves.
Imposter syndrome can make people worried that they won’t live up to expectations, and it may even cause them to sabotage their own success. In some cases, imposter syndrome may be tied to feelings of anxiety or depression.
Overcoming imposter syndrome
If these thoughts and feelings sound familiar to you, are distressing, and interfere with your life, seeking professional support can help. Our therapists at Psychology Beverly Hills can help you understand why you feel the way you do and give you tools to start feeling better.
Our therapists get to know each person individually. When relevant and appropriate, we explore each person’s history such as cultural background, childhood experiences, existing mental health conditions or any personal difficulties they have, to help them determine what could be causing thoughts related to imposter syndrome.
Once there is better understanding and people are able to identify reasons they experience these feelings of inadequacy, we help them build the confidence to overcome it. Methods may include talking about fears if they feel doubt creeping in, separating facts from feelings, and learning how to own (and celebrate) their accomplishments.
In the end, our goal is to help people feel more confident so that they can achieve success and reach their full potential.
Don’t let imposter syndrome make you feel unworthy. Talk to our team to learn more about it and learn ways to better build your confidence in both your professional and social life. Call our Beverly Hills, California, office at 424-331-1570 or request an appointment online.