Meet therapist, coach and founder of Fundamental Health Lindsey Paoli, MFT-Intern.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
You’re working on completing a big project for work and suddenly, self-doubt creeps in: Is this the best way to do this? Does this make any sense at all? This is it, this is going to be the moment that everyone realizes I have NO IDEA what I’m doing here. I’m going to lose my job, and everyone will realize I’m a fraud. These fears that you’re experiencing is what is called Imposter Syndrome.
It is not a diagnosable condition, but it can certainly impact your mental health, damage your self esteem and progress in various aspects of life if it’s not under control. The good news is that if you’re experiencing it, you’re in GREAT company! Allow me to explain.
Origins of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome was first coined in 1978 by two female researchers, Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes in an article for Psychotherapy Theory, Research, and Practice. Their research studied a group of 150 women from Georgia State University who were all highly regarded experts in their field, some with PhDs, and all who had been recognized for academic excellence. All of them had a secret belief that they had “conned the system” in some way or another to get their accolades and that at any moment everyone would realize they were a phony. Sound familiar?
Who is Affected by Impostor Syndrome?
It has since been estimated that approximately 70% of American adults experience this phenomenon at some point, but women tend to experience it more frequently. Imposter Syndrome affects those who are high-achieving, perfectionists, continually striving to improve, and are eager for approval from superiors—all often positively reinforced characteristics to most employers. However, if not dealt with, people who struggle with Imposter Syndrome can experience burnout, anxiety, and depression.
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