It is a long process to become a registered psychologist, which requires potential college members to obtain graduate level education, supervised hours of practice, and a written exam. The final step of the process is an oral examination in front of three registered psychologists who are in good standing. I have been a fully registered psychologist for two years, so I thought I would stretch myself and volunteer for the oral examination committee. While now I can say it was a good learning experience and I’m glad to have been a part of it, leading up to the day I had a severe case of imposter syndrome.
While the term, imposter syndrome, may be new to some of you, it is likely something that you have experienced at one point or another in your career. Imposter syndrome refers to a person’s inability to internalize their accomplishments and results in them feeling like they are a ‘fraud’ and going to be found out. An individual with imposter syndrome will often attribute their achievements to luck or good timing and will often disregard externalize evidence of their competence. Both men and women can experience imposter syndrome though some studies suggest high achieving women may be more likely to be impacted (or maybe more likely to talk about it).
Imposter syndrome is not classified as a mental health disorder, but it is something that can shake you up and cause some grief. It can hold us back from pushing ourselves or taking chances in our career. It is an uncomfortable feeling, but there is also some normalcy to it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when a fellow, more experienced psychologist shared her experience with imposter syndrome. Once you’re aware of what is going on and what these feelings mean, they become easier to challenge. For more information and tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome, check out this article which offers some useful hands on approaches. I will save my own ideas for another day as I’m sure you wouldn’t want to hear from an imposter!