Imposter syndrome is the name given to the psychological phenomenon wherein successful and accomplished individuals do not feel that they have truly earned their place. They have the distinct impression that they are frauds who could be found out at any moment and are simply faking their way through their career or talents. This can greatly impact both mental health and job satisfaction, as always feeling as though you are not truly good enough to have earned your place can certainly take a toll. Imposter syndrome can come in many forms and its impacts on the individual can vary greatly. One of the best ways to overcome the debilitating mental stumbling blocks created by imposter syndrome is to speak with one of the licensed counsellors at Horizon Plymouth in order to work through your feelings in a healthy manner.

Impacts of imposter syndrome

Because the internal thoughts surrounding imposter syndrome differs with each individual, the actual impacts of the phenomenon are highly varied. Someone may suffer from all of the following issues or only a few (and this list is certainly not exhaustive). The important thing to remember is that no matter how many or how few “symptoms” you have, your feelings and experiences with imposter syndrome are valid and counselling can help you overcome them.

  • Anxiety: Often the stress of feeling as though you don’t belong or that you will be discovered at any moment causes crippling feelings of anxiety. Anxiety has been shown to have an enormous effect on the body and, if left unchecked, could develop into depression.
  • Decreased productivity: Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the immense stress that is caused by imposter syndrome takes an enormous mental toll on an individual, ultimately decreasing their productivity and creativity and increasing feelings of mental burn-out.
  • Psychological distress and mental exhaustion: Constantly feeling as though you are a fraud and need to make up for your deficits causes many individuals to work two or three times as hard to compensate. This creates a deep mental burden that can have detrimental physiological effects.
  • Impacted relationships: Overworking and stress can negatively affect your personal relationships, and the feelings of fear surrounding “being found out” are incredibly isolating within the work environment. This decreased social support tends to exacerbate the negative effects of imposter syndrome.

How counselling can help

Although the friends and family of individuals who are suffering from imposter syndrome will gladly tell them that their thoughts are baseless and make no sense (“of course you deserve your job, you are so accomplished and brilliant, they are lucky to have your expertise!”), these comments will likely not help the individual. With imposter syndrome, the internal feelings of self-doubt and inferiority are so strong that they override any attempt at logic. Some people even feel as though “faking it” is the only thing that they are actually any good at. If you or someone you know is struggling with imposter syndrome, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with a counsellor at Horizon Counselling Plymouth.

Working with an experienced and expert therapist can help an individual explore their feelings of self-doubt and get to the root of what is causing the mental block. Counselling can help uncover and resolve any deeper feelings of inadequacy, as well as provide a safe place for the individual to combat the isolation that those with imposter syndrome frequently feel. Enlisting the aid of a trained professional can help you to work through why you feel the way that you do in order to begin diminishing those intrusive thoughts that are preventing you from truly enjoying your work and accomplishments.

Imposter syndrome is unfortunately incredibly common, especially among highly educated professionals, but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out to Horizon Plymouth today to schedule a consultation with a counsellor and begin the journey towards regaining a sense of satisfaction regarding your work, your accomplishments, and your life.

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