Imposter Syndrome

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Most of the successful people suffer from imposter syndrome, which is a mental confusion about self- achievement. Often some high achievers feel rather confuse about their situation in life, it may in regards of about their social respect or position they hold or respect they achieved. In extreme condition, these types self-doubt become a psychological issue and individual suffers from a feeling of fraud or get afraid of being exposed in front of everyone. This psychological condition is known as imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome

In short, imposter suffers feels that they are not actually a genius, but situation impose them and alteration of situation depict their actual capability.


Imposter syndrome is divided into three subtypes depending on the feelings of the sufferer.

Feeling of fake

Someone achieve job success and hold a higher position may feel that he does not deserve the position and someway it will deceive. the feeling of this often leads to cause a fear generation in regards of unmasked or expose in front of everyone. Often they used to provide the statement ‘ I am not that much competent to hold this position” or ” soon the time will come which unmask my capability” etc.

Success obtains by luck

Imposter syndrome sufferer also has a tendency to feel and showcase their success as obtaining through luck. Therefore, the internal ability is not the cause of any success. In this regards, statements are “This success is not mine, it is just my luck”, ” This time I got this by chance” etc. All these statements show the self-doubt about next time success.

Mark down Success

No self-appreciation and achievers try to mark down success and discount it. The statements usually obtain are ” this success does not require any highlight”, ” whatever I achieve is not that much important” or ” My task is so easy that this success is not a big deal” etc.

Generally, people have Imposter syndrome do not realize this, but friends or relatives may often discover this. Though there is no definite findings or assurance that confirms the person suffering from imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome Vs low self-esteem

The classic feature of imposter syndrome is self-doubt is not same as low self-esteem, though both the term is confusing to understand. But low self-esteem is not same as self-doubt. Low self-esteem is generated due to incapability to achieve success, but imposter syndrome mainly occurs in high achievers. Achiever usually does not possess low self-esteem, but may have a feeling of an impostor. Previously, it had been thought that only women suffer from imposter syndrome, but now it has identified that a similar number of men also suffer from imposter syndrome.


  • Not opt for further success like a promotion or other betterment and even stop to apply for a further prospect.
  • Not presenting any presentation in conference
  • Does not submit any paper to journal
  • Does not showcase their skill or experience in public speaking or understating their qualification in their profile.
  • the feeling of hesitation to provide a self-introduction
  • Feeling like cheater
  • Highly stressed
  • Over-preparation for any provided tasks
  • Attributing success by chance


Different psychotherapies are investigated to treat imposter syndrome. The aim of the psychotherapies is same and that is to provide realization to suffers that no one is perfect and try to change their feelings. psychotherapies also assist in recognizing the patient’s expertise. All these factors motivate suffer to cope up with the situation. These are as follows:

Group or individual psychotherapy

Often affected individual require a group or individual counseling to gradually clear his/her doubt about whatever achievement he/or she achieves. During discussion often individual disclose his/ her feeling about success and related fears. Proper counseling assists to clear out all the doubts.

Group or individual or both psychotherapy require for the patient is depends on upon the patient condition. Initially, a person wants to maintain secret about their feeling, but continuous counseling or sometimes group session or multi-modal therapy assist in opening up the patient. In a group of similar type of patient share their feelings and can understand that others are also having the same type of feelings.


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  2. Kirsten Weir; Feel like a fraud?; American Psychological Association; Retrieve from:
  3. Pauline Rose Clance, Suzanne Imes; The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention; Psychotherapy Theory, Research and Practice; Volume 15, #3, Fall 1978; Retrieve from:
  4. Broverman, I.K.; Vogel, S.R.; Broverman, D.M.; Clarkson, F.E. & Rosenkrantz, P.S. Sex role stereotypes: A current appraisal. Journal of Social Issues. 1972. 28, 59-78.
  5. Deaux, D. Sex and the attribution process. In J.H. Harvey, W.J. Ickes & R.F. Kidd (Eds.). New directions in attribution research. Vol. 1. New York: Halsted Press Division, Wiley. 1976. pp. 335-352.
  6. Horner, M.S. Toward an understanding of achievement — related conflicts in women. Journal of Social Issues. 1972. 28, 157-175.
  7. Maccoby, E.E. Woman’s intellect. In S. M. Farber and R. H. L. Wilson (Eds.). The Potential of Woman. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1963. 24-39

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