A new way to eliminate impostor syndrome
Imposter Syndrome (IS) or Imposter Phenomenon concerns the difficulty in internalizing success due to feelings of being fake or inauthentic, despite evidence to the contrary. Individuals with IS believe they do not deserve their achievements and may experience a wider range of mental health issues, including impaired psychological functioning (eg, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, burnout, somatic symptoms, social dysfunction and reduced work capacity). satisfaction and performance).
The Challenge of Imposter Syndrome
Recent meta-analytic research has revealed that IS affects up to 80% of the population, is widespread among men and women, trans and non-binary people, and several ethnic groups, and is exacerbated in professional settings. Despite these far-reaching negative consequences, to date there are no clear treatment guidelines or specific recommendations for treating IS. Therefore, effective interventions are urgently needed.
This lack of guidelines is due to the diversity of opinions, researcher perspectives, and corresponding factors believed to be associated with IS (eg, personality characteristics, environmental and contextual factors, and family history).
Unsurprisingly, many posts offer many strategies on how to overcome feelings of impostor and stop undermining your accomplishments. Some of the most common methods include acceptance, learning the facts, sharing your feelings, remembering all your accomplishments, celebrating your successes, letting go of perfectionism, practicing self-compassion and sharing your failures.
These strategies seem useful. In reality, they only provide short-term relief and the illusion of effectiveness. This is because they work at a very superficial level of the brain and are unable to properly deconstruct the deep-seated mental mechanisms of action that cause IS. What is really needed to completely eliminate the SI is to deconstruct the patterns that are responsible for it, which are deeply rooted in the deep structures of the brain.
A new approach could enable the elimination of the IS. This new model incorporates two evidence-based approaches: (1) change immunity and schema therapy.
Immunity to Change (ITC) is a learning process developed by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, professors at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Drawing on 30 years of research on adult development, ITC is taking on the challenge of behavior change that is usually difficult to achieve. Using the psychological dynamics of “competing commitment,” ITC proposes that the inability to achieve personal goals is due to activation of the “emotional immune system,” which is designed to protect individuals from negative consequences. personal change (e.g. shame, disappointment), rather than lack of determination or willpower.
Another key concept in Immunity to Change is that of “Grand Assumptions” – the assumption(s) underlying the stories or beliefs that people accept as fact or treat as truth and continue to perpetuate their immunity to change. The challenge for most people is to discover their big assumptions. This is when Schema Therapy comes into play. The notion of “schema” corresponds to the notion of a grand hypothesis in ICT. Therefore, the term “life pitfalls” – a pattern that begins in childhood and reverberates throughout life, is also used to refer to patterns. Similarly, Grand Assumptions are deeply ingrained beliefs people have about themselves and the world that they have held close, since childhood.
In short, this new approach works because it:
- Discover the processing of information that escapes mental awareness
- Unbox, deconstruct and fully disable the immune system that maintains your Imposter Syndrome, unlocking your unique “lifetrap combination code”
You can find out more about how this new approach works, including a client-therapist vignette, in the article “A New Model for Treating Impostor Syndrome and Associated Conditions.”