Woman with imposter syndrome feeling like a fraud at work and needs help

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: How Therapy Can Help

Feeling like you don’t belong where you are, or that you’re undeserving of your accomplishments? Well, you’re not alone.

NYC can be a stressful place to live and work, even without imposter syndrome eating away at your self-confidence. But you can defeat this pattern of thinking and begin to live a full life with a little help. After all, you should be happy and satisfied with the work that you do each day. And you deserve to give yourself the space to realize your worth and enjoy the fruits of your labor—no matter where you are in your career.

Here you’ll find a comprehensive overview of imposter syndrome along with the ways that you can get help with imposter syndrome and start living your best life.

Looking for professional guidance and the ability to understand or cope with imposter syndrome? Contact NYC Therapeutics today and begin your journey away from self-doubt!

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is basically a heightened form of self-doubt, often related to the skills needed for a given profession. And that demeaning voice inside your head can be a brutal force at times. Throughout the workday, it might even haunt you.

“You didn’t earn this. You’re not good enough for this position.”

“You’re a phony, a fraud, and you’re just not smart enough.”

“You should just come clean and admit you’re a fake.”

Sounds pretty harsh, right?

Well, believe it or not, this is a familiar voice for many people in every industry you can think of. Whether you’re a secretary, an accountant, designer, an actor, or even a C-level executive, imposter syndrome is a very real threat to your work life—and to your personal life. And without being able to overcome and rise above this pestering voice, your life could suffer tremendously, leaving you in a state of constant stress or anxiety.

Imposter syndrome, sometimes referred to as “imposterism” was first coined by Dr. Pauline Clance through a series of clinical observations as an “internal experience of intellectual phoniness.” As defined, imposter syndrome is essentially an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy in the workplace, or a feeling that your position is undeserved.

Initially, the imposter phenomenon was thought to only affect professional women as they rose through the ranks in corporate environments. But today it’s widely known that imposter syndrome affects a range of people all from differing backgrounds. In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 70 percent of professionals will experience an episode of imposter syndrome at least once.

However, imposter syndrome typically affects more women than men, and it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and your personal and professional life if left unchecked.

How To Identify the Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome

Consider the following scenario: You’re fed up with your job, so you begin sending out resumes all over NYC. An employer contacts you about a position and a role that you’d love to jump right into. You get hired, then you arrive for your first day. But after an hour you begin questioning your worth. You wonder if you’re cut out for the role, or if you measure up to the expectations of the job. You might even think you don’t have the skill development needed to do the job at all.

This is often how imposter syndrome begins. That raging voice of self-doubt becomes louder and louder and before too long, that voice is the only thing you hear. It keeps you up at night, and it gnaws at you while you’re sitting with your coworkers. But imposter syndrome has many other signs to look out for as well.

Consider if you’ve ever experienced the following:

  • Feeling incompetent (despite a high level of competency)
  • Fearing you won’t meet expectations
  • Attributing success to external factors
  • Scrutinizing or berating your own performance
  • Self-sabotaging your success
  • Downplaying your accomplishments
  • Feeling inferior around coworkers

Note that not all the aforementioned signs may be present with each case of imposter syndrome. In fact, they can occur randomly but most often as you begin a new career, or as you climb the ladder and advance into new positions. But the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to suffer in silence, because clinical therapy can help!

An Overview of The Imposter Cycle

The Imposter Cycle Infographic

According to Dr. Clance, the imposter cycle is “one of the most important characteristics of the imposter phenomenon.” Though all “imposters” will show these traits differently, one who suffers from imposter syndrome will likely have touched on two of the key components found within the imposter cycle.

Key Attributes of the Imposter Cycle

How can you tell you are experiencing imposter syndrome in your career? After you’re assigned a new task, there are a few common traits you might notice.

  • You may experience the onset of anxiety or self-doubt
  • You might compensate by over-preparation or procrastination
  • You may experience a brief feeling of relief – but this often subsides and results in the discount of positive feedback
  • You might experience increased self-doubt, anxiety, and even depression

If you are experiencing imposter syndrome, you might also notice some other character traits in your day-to-day life. You might feel pressure to be a “Superwomen” and always compete with your coworkers or attempt to be the very best at any project you decide to take on. You may also notice self-denial when it comes to competence or success, or even a guilty feeling associated with success.

Tools for Success: Getting Help for Imposter Syndrome

Let’s face it, you’ve worked hard to get to where you are. And if anyone can make it this far in NYC, there shouldn’t be any limiting self-doubt to contend with. The good news is that you have help. By partnering with a competent therapist, you can help identify the factors contributing to your imposter syndrome.

By connecting with a therapist who understands imposter syndrome, you can begin implementing techniques and practices that can help you while you begin coping at work. And there are several methods therapists rely on that may help.

Consider the following helpful strategies:

  • Understanding and quieting your inner critic – whose voice is it anyway?
  • Recommending actions to take to help with moving forward
  • Implementation of activities to promote positive reinforcing behavior
  • Teaching how to celebrate success – and enjoy it
  • Recommending self-care regimens
  • Allowing you to share your feelings – and your failures

Those who work with imposter syndrome know that any lifestyle change can induce a bit of anxiety. But therapists are growth partners, and they will work to provide you with the tools you need every step of the way until you’ve mastered that annoying voice within – and silenced it.

Moving Forward: Living Life Your Own Way

You deserve to enjoy your life – and your work. When you get help for imposter syndrome, you’ll be empowered to rise up and breathe freely, instead of drowning in the waters of self-doubt.

Therapy is not easy, but if you stick to it, you’ll soon see the rewards that taking back control over your thoughts can bring. If you want to see real, lasting change in both your personal and professional lives, the time you spend in therapy can bring about a level of growth that you may have thought unattainable before.

Remember, there’s no sense in falling victim to your nagging inner critic and not being able to fully step into the benefits of your hard work and success. You deserve to feel empowered and proud of yourself and your work!

We’re here to empower one another and to make each other better in every way. And this is the role that a therapist can play in your life as you navigate the waters of imposter syndrome and learn to leave self-doubt and burnout behind in your professional life.

Ready to leave imposter syndrome behind and take the first steps toward living your best life? Contact NYC Therapeutic Wellness today to lean which therapist is the perfect fit for you!