How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome


Imposter Syndrome is also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism. It is a Psychological phenomenon that affects millions of people world-wide. It affects people regardless of their age, gender, or professional status. It influences individuals in any case of their age, sex, or proficient status. Nearly 70% of the populace encounters signs and side effects of the Syndrome at slightest once in their life. It is when someone believes they do not deserve what they have achieved, despite the contrary evidence. People with imposter syndrome view themselves as undeserving, inferior, inadequate, lacking.

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Regardless of the reality that they might actually possess certain qualities that have brought success to them, they are engrossed in self-doubt and fear of getting exposed. They are afraid that the world might consider them as a fraud once they realise who they truly are- undeserving. The external evidence, however, is proof of their competence and success. For students who enter a new academic environment, the Imposter Phenomenon is not uncommon. In relationships, they often feel they do not live up to the expectations of their friends or loved ones.

In this article, we will explore evidence-based strategies to help individuals overcome Imposter Syndrome and regain confidence in their abilities. The strategies contain scientifically based evidence aimed at addressing the underlying thoughts and behaviours associated with Imposter Syndrome.

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you’re not as good as people think you are, even if you’ve achieved success. You might question your capacities, think you’re a fraud, or accept that luckiness, not expertise, lead to your achievements and accomplishments. It’s like feeling you don’t belong or aren’t worthy, even when evidence says otherwise. Many people experience this, but it’s important to recognize it and know that you’re not alone. It’s fundamental to recognize its signs and side effects. Common markers include:

  • Persistent self-doubt
  • Overachieving to prove one’s worth
  • Fear of failure or making mistakes
  • Discounting success as luck or timing
  • Difficulty accepting praise or recognition

Five Types of Imposter Syndrome

There are five main types of imposter syndrome, according to Valerie Young, an expert on imposter syndrome and co-founder of the Impostor Syndrome Institute:

  • Perfectionists: This type of imposter syndrome means believing that as long as you’re not perfect, you can get better. You feel like an imposter because your perfect attitude makes you believe that you are not as good as others think you are.
  • Expert: Experts feel like frauds because they don’t know everything there is to know about a topic or topic, or they don’t know every step of the process. They don’t feel like they’ve reached the “expert” level because they still have a lot to learn.
  • Natural genius: In this imposter syndrome, you may feel like a fraud because you don’t believe you are smart or talented. If you don’t get it the first time or it takes longer to master, you’ll look like a fraud.
  • Soloist: You may also feel like an imposter if you have to ask for help to reach a certain level or status. You question your ability because you can’t go it alone.
  • Superman: This type of imposter syndrome involves the belief that you must be the hardest worker or achieve at the highest level, and if you don’t, you are an imposter.


Psychotherapies are the most common way of dealing with imposter syndrome. Several psychotherapeutic techniques can be effective in treating imposter syndrome.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps identify and challenge all the negative thinking patterns associated with imposter syndrome. By examining evidence that supports their abilities and accomplishments, people can reframe self-defeating beliefs and develop healthier self-awareness.
  2. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT focuses on accepting unpleasant thoughts and feelings while taking action consistent with personal values. This helps people shed self-limiting beliefs about their abilities and success and promotes greater psychological flexibility.
  3. Psychodynamic therapy: Psychodynamic therapy explores the unconscious thoughts and feelings that contribute to impostor syndrome. By exploring patterns of relationships and early experiences with oneself and others, people can gain insight into their underlying insecurities and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  4. Mindfulness-based therapy: Mindfulness-based therapies, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), promote awareness of the present moment and open-minded acceptance of thoughts and emotions. By developing self-compassion and reducing rumination, people can alleviate symptoms of impostor syndrome.
  5. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal and communication skills, which is especially helpful in dealing with feelings of inadequacy and fear of judgment in social or professional settings. can be.
  6. Schema Therapy: Schema therapy targets the deep-seated beliefs and behaviors that contribute to impostor syndrome. By identifying and challenging maladaptive schemas related to competence and self-esteem, individuals can develop a more balanced and realistic self-concept.
  7. Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy brings imposter syndrome to the surface by treating it as a separate entity rather than its own characteristic. By reconstructing personal narratives and exploring alternative perspectives, people can reduce the impact of imposter syndrome on their self-esteem and identity. These psychotherapeutic approaches can be tailored to suit individual needs and preferences and provide effective strategies for combating impostor syndrome and building confidence and resilience.

Although it is not a recognized psychiatric disorder and is not featured in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual nor is it listed as a diagnosis in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Outside of the diagnostic realm, it is a widely discussed topic.

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How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome

Apart from therapeutic interventions, below are certain ways to deal effectively with the Imposter Syndrome.

1. Self-Compassion Practice

Self-compassion practice involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially when you let yourself down or fail. Studies have shown that people with high levels of self-compassion have less imposter syndrome and greater psychological well-being. Techniques such as self-compassionate writing, mindfulness, and self-motivation exercises can promote self-acceptance and reduce self-judgment.

2. Health Services and Support

Seeking support from friends, family, mentors, or colleagues can help people overcome feelings of inadequacy by providing reassurance and validation. Connecting with others who have had similar experiences with imposter syndrome can also reduce feelings of isolation and normalize the phenomenon. Research shows that social support plays an important role in increasing self-esteem and fostering a sense of belonging.

3. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Setting achievable goals and acknowledging progress can help people gain self-confidence and tackle personal development; This is a similar situation in people with imposter syndrome. By focusing on personal growth rather than comparing themselves to others, people can develop a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

Related: Human Psychology Theories on Personality Development

4. Celebrate successes

Recognizing and celebrating successes, even small ones, can increase self-esteem and eliminate feelings of inadequacy. Writing down achievements and thinking about past achievements can be a reminder of one’s talent and perseverance. Through positive feedback and awareness of their involvement, individuals can gradually rebuild their self-esteem and overcome imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is a problem that affects many people, but it cannot be ignored. By using proven strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, self-compassion, social support, goal setting, and taking action, people can gradually overcome self-doubt and develop a sense of self. Recognizing that imposter syndrome is a common experience and reproducing negative stereotypes are important steps in building confidence and improving your abilities. With patience and self-compassion, people can overcome imposter syndrome and succeed in their personal and professional lives.

References +
  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2005, July 6). Impostor syndrome. Wikipedia.
  2. Cuncic, A., MA. (2024, January 19). Imposter Syndrome: Why you may feel like a fraud. Verywell Mind.

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