Imposter syndrome refers to a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments, fear being exposed as a fraud, and attribute their success to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities. Despite external evidence of competence and achievements, those experiencing imposter syndrome often feel like they don’t deserve their accomplishments and fear being exposed as inadequate.

Several factors can contribute to the development of imposter syndrome:


Perfectionists often set excessively high standards for themselves and believe that anything less than perfection is a failure. As a result, they may discount their achievements and constantly strive for unattainable levels of success, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Early experiences

Childhood experiences, such as excessive criticism, parental pressure to excel, or a lack of validation, can contribute to the development of imposter syndrome. Children who grow up feeling like their worth is contingent on their achievements may internalise feelings of inadequacy and struggle with self-doubt later in life.

Cultural and societal factors

Societal expectations of success, coupled with cultural attitudes towards achievement and worth, can exacerbate imposter syndrome. In cultures that prioritise individual achievement and competition, individuals may feel pressure to constantly prove themselves and fear falling short of expectations.

Attributional styles

Individuals with imposter syndrome tend to attribute their successes to external factors, such as luck or timing, rather than their own abilities or efforts. They may downplay their achievements and believe that they were merely in the right place at the right time, rather than acknowledging their own skills and hard work.

Comparison with others

Constantly comparing oneself to others can fuel feelings of inadequacy and contribute to imposter syndrome. Individuals may perceive their peers as more talented or successful, leading them to question their own abilities and accomplishments.

Counselling when you have imposter syndrome

For overcoming imposter syndrome I integrate person centred counselling and as the decision often stems from a feeling of not good enough, I help you explore where the feeling originally comes from.  By addressing the root cause, by challenging negative thought patterns, with evidence-based information, we can update the subconscious mind from the decision you made as a younger person, (often an infant) that you are good enough and that even though imposter syndrome appeared to protect you at one time, it is now holding you back. Counselling can be a valuable tool in addressing imposter syndrome and fostering a healthier, sustainable sense of self-worth and achievement so that you create a better life for yourself.