Are you afraid of being found out?

'Imposter syndrome' is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who seem to have an inability to internalise their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being 'found out'.

Symptoms of this syndrome may include:

  • focus more on what we haven't done
  • convinced we are not good enough
  • tend to discount our success and attribute it to others
  • feel we are not worthy
  • have trouble internalising our success
  • hold ourselves to impossible standards
  • the persistent and enduring feeling that we are a fraud

This syndrome is common and affects both men and women. It thrives on isolation, and is especially common when we move to a new job or new area. It is healthy to feel some level of anxiety in these circumstances as we adjust to our new situation. 

When moving to a new area it takes time to build up supportive networks. 

Sometimes we can lose our own identity and often, we feel powerless to do anything about how we feel. Living in a world of increased mobility, many of us experience feelings of displacement which are often associated with feelings of worthlessness and failure.

Therapy can help identify and correct such faulty thinking with belief patterns such as identifying negative thoughts and reality checking beliefs. It is important to talk about how we feel and to find our own ways of coping as we progress on our journey to becoming our authentic selves. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP(reg),Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert in Clinical Supervision

I offer a supportive, confidential therapy service especially for those living with anxiety and stress. I have acquired considerable expertise and knowledge having worked in the social care field for many years. Having experienced ups and downs myself, I understand life's road can be rocky and therapy often helps us to discover a new way.… Read more

Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP(reg),Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert in Clinical Supervision

Show comments

Find the right counsellor or therapist for you

All therapists are verified professionals.