The Imposter Syndrome

Today I am talking about an interesting phenomena which affects us all both as practitioners and as human beings living our lives.  It is called The Imposter Syndrome.

In 1978 clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes  completed a study of 150 high achieving women and they find consistently among these women who all had citations for excellence, had won awards and had written books, found a consistent feeling among these women that they could not acknowledge their excellence internally.   So even though people were telling them they were brilliant, they couldn’t admit that themselves internally.   I wonder if you’ve been affected by this phenomena.  It can happen to everyone throughout any stage of your life. 

For example, going from being single to being married, to becoming a mother, from being married to being divorced.  Any of these type of life transitions often bring up pain and shame.  Sometimes we feel when we are in a new situation that we have not experienced before, we have a  deep feeling inside us that we are unable to master this and many other life transitions.  It can show up as a feeling of being a fraud and/or I’m not really as good as I am acting. 

I remember when I got my PHD from Trinity back in the 70’s, I remember the day I got the call from one of the Professors in Trinity College, Dublin Ireland  and he simply said, “we are going to award you your PhD , congratulations”  and my next thought was…. “are they stupid to award me  a PhD?” 

This thought just took one second.  So somewhere in the psyche, this programme is running that says we cannot for some reason really acknowledge who and how wonderful we are.  

This affects practitioners, especially new practitioners if you have learnt a particular modality and you are beginning to step into the practitioner role.   You may experience feelings of inadequacy – the feeling that you are not as good as you are saying that you are not as good as you are pretending to be.

From my own observation I can see that many people have studied modalities including Biomagnetic Therapy and the practice falls off after a while – why is that? 

It seems that when a new practitioner stands in front of a patient and they feel this discomfort and they feel that maybe I’m not an adequate person to help here.  These feelings are not unusual and are natural. 

It is important and crucial in becoming a new practitioner of any healing modality to deal with this phenomena, to actually work at becoming conscious that those change feelings are not real that. They have no basis in actual reality.  

Of course, as a new practitioner you will be in a state of learning and it is useful to admit that and not try to be anything else. 

However, the feelings of inadequacy have to be tackled head on.   Even Maya Angelou, one of my favourite authors, who Is widely acclaimed as a woman of courage quoted, in a recent interview  said “….when I am going to be found out, when will people discover that I’m not who I say I am…?”

Where does that feeling come from?  It doesn’t come from the present moment and it certainly doesn’t come from reality.

In any practitioner training or programme it is really important to address this issue. In my Applied Biomagnetic Therapy training I’ve addressed this with a number of my students who have studied with the Institute. These students have come from all walks of either unemployment or have been employed as a barman, an insurance broker, an accountant etc and they would have felt very plainly this type of feeling that they are not adequate enough.   

Do research this further as it is something that we will have to deal with as applied biomagnetic practitioner or therapists of other modalities.  When we do it will enable us to become even more effective that we currently are.