What???? Allied health professionals can have imposter syndrome?!? The answer to this is an absolute and resounding YES!!!
If you are a health professional and have experienced imposter syndrome, or don’t even know what it is, then this read is for you.
Some of my most accomplished colleagues, friends, supervisees and associates have stories roaming around in their minds that can go a little like this; “you don’t know what you’re doing”, “you’re a fraud, an imposter”, “You shouldn’t get paid for THAT”, “You’ll get laughed at, found out”, “You don’t help anyone”, “You’re not good enough, destined to fail”. And so on, and so on………..
As a psychologist in private practice, I have had the honour and privilege of supervising and supporting GP’s, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers and nurses. The nature of their work requires regular supervision to prevent burnout, enhance professional development and, of course, provide a safe and confidential space for self-reflection and internal learning.
One topic of conversation that often comes up – from new graduates to highly experienced therapists - is that of the “imposter syndrome”. As noted above, the Imposter Syndrome refers to that internal self-critic, sometimes experienced as maladaptive thinking that focuses on professional identity and fears of self-doubt and inadequacy.
Imposter syndrome can present in many a guise and shows up in unique ways for those I work with. For some it can be an annoying self-doubt, niggling away in the back of their mind, whilst for others it can be professionally debilitating and lead to great emotional distress. The imposter syndrome has the potential to stop a person from reaching their full potential, dreams and goals, can lead to chronic burnout, poor relationships and career self-sabotage. When the self-critic flares up, it can create a mental barrier to confidence, self-esteem, joy and professional fulfillment.
So……... here are my top tips for managing the imposter syndrome.
Know that you are not alone in experiencing the “imposter syndrome”. It is common and it’s a thing. Working on understanding, raising consciousness and moving through the layers is possible with practice and persistence.
Rebecca Pearce is a psychologist with over 20 years of experience, a board-approved psychology supervisor, and the practice owner of a private mental health practice, Berwick Psychology & Hypnosis. She has a passion for supervising other therapists working with adult mental health and wellbeing and has a special interest in the areas of eating disorders, health psychology, behaviour change, alcohol and drug addiction and personality disorders.