Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough, despite evidence of your accomplishments and abilities? Do you feel like you’re a fraud, and that you don’t deserve to be in the position that you are in? If so, you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where an individual doubts their abilities and achievements and has a persistent fear of being exposed as an “imposter” or fraud (Harvey, 1981). Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome include feelings of self-doubt, a fear of failure, and a belief that one’s success is due to luck or other external factors. People with Imposter Syndrome also tend to discount their accomplishments, even when they have achieved a significant level of success. They may also be perfectionists and have a fear of making mistakes.  It is common among high achievers and often affects people who have achieved significant success in their careers or personal lives (Bravata et al., 2019).

Imposter Syndrome and Mental Health

Imposter Syndrome often coexists with depression and low self-esteem, and shares similarities with anxiety disorders, as described in the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). Specifically, it shares similarities with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). GAD is characterised by excessive worry and anxiety about a variety of topics, while SAD involves a fear of social situations and a fear of being judged or evaluated by others. Imposter Syndrome has similar themes of anxieties about one’s abilities and accomplishments, and the sense that others will catch them out in their lie.

While there are individual differences in those who experience Imposter Syndrome, there are also important contextual factors, such as negative stereotyping of minorities in positions of power, which are increasingly understood to affect imposter feelings (Feenstra et al., 2020).

Imposter Syndrome and Getting Help

If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome, it is essential to seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can help you identify the underlying causes of your self-doubt and help you develop strategies for managing and overcoming these feelings. Therapy can also help you learn to accept your achievements and feel confident in your abilities.

In conclusion, Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that affects many high achievers. It shares similarities with anxiety disorders, specifically GAD and SAD. If you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. At the Centre for Clinical Psychology, we offer a range of services to help you manage Imposter Syndrome and other mental health concerns. To book an appointment, please call us at 03 9077 0122 or visit our website at


American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).

Bravata, D. M., Watts, S. A., Keefer, A. L., Madhusudhan, D. K., Taylor, K. T., Clark, D. M., et al. (2019). Prevalence, predictors, and treatment of impostor syndrome: A systematic review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 35, 1252–1275.

Harvey, J. C. (1981). The impostor phenomenon and achievement: A failure to internalise success (Publication No. 8210500) [Dissertation, Temple University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.Feenstra, S., Begeny, C.T., Ryan, M.K., Rink, F.A., Stoker, J. I., & Jordan, J. (2020). Contextualising the Impostor “Syndrome”. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-6.