Imposter Syndrome. It might sound silly but it’s SO real and has been a reality for me for the past couple of months. I’m still working on dealing with it, so this is not a “how to get over imposter syndrome” post , but instead I’ll describe what it has been like for me and how I’ve come to deal with it so far.
According to Wikipedia, “Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent interanlized fear of being exposed as a fraud”. On a daily basis at work, I deal with feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and general anxiety about my work performance. These feelings are pretty new for me and that’s because I recently got my first “big girl job”. I got a therapist position right out of grad school and prior to that, I had never had a job in my field of interest or with real benefits lol. What I noticed really quickly after getting the position is that I felt like a fraud. I felt like I wasn’t a REAL therapist and only got the position because of my mentor, not because I deserved it. I wake up worried about how my therapy groups will go. During groups, I worry about if what I’m saying even makes sense. I wonder if my patients think I’m an idiot or a bad therapist. In meetings I worry if other staff think I’m an idiot. I beat myself up over mistakes both big and small. I get annoyed if I don’t know something.
Sounds miserable and exhausting huh? IT IS.
I’ve realized that if I want to be of the best assistance to my patients AND maintain my well-being, then I need to get a handle on imposter syndrome.
One thing that I do to combat my negative thoughts is actually something I have told my patients to do (WOW, look at that, a therapist taking her own advice). Basically, if I think to myself “I’m a horrible therapist”, then I force myself to challenge that thought…
So what evidence is there that I am a horrible therapist?
So what evidence is there that I am a good therapist?
Well…. actually my patients often tell me that I’m very helpful and a good therapist.
What would my manager/mentor say about this thought?
Well… she literally sent me an email telling me how often patients rave about me, so she would probably tell me I’m trippin.
Is this thought based on facts or feelings?
Well… I noticed that I tend to have this thought more so when I’m feeling stressed or when I feel like my group didn’t go the way that I wanted.
After I have gone through these questions or similar questions, I tend to realize how silly that thought actually is.
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome? Share your experience with me! Tell me what you’ve tried or done to get over it. I’d love to hear from you!