Impostor Syndrome

By Veronica Oquendo

Imagine a scenario, you have gained a promotion at your job, and you are now Vice President of your company. Furthermore, your bosses want to congratulate you with an office party, and plaque for your outstanding achievement that earned your promotion. When you are at your office party you have an overwhelming feeling that you do not deserve this promotion and recognition. You think that you are not intelligent enough to hold this new position. You put a lot of effort into your work, but not anymore than anyone else would, even though others recognize your high work ethic. Worst of all, you feel that the other employees will find out you are do not deserve it, be scrutinized for it, and eventually fail. This scenario is not an uncommon occurrence, where 25-30% of high achievers currently suffer the feelings of imposter syndrome, and 70% of adults have experienced it at one point in their lifetime. The highest populations that feel imposter syndrome are women of color. 

Reasons for imposter syndrome: 

  • High pressure to succeed
  • Perfectionism 
  • Mental Health Issues 

It is important to note that imposter syndrome is not an official diagnosis in the DSM, but is a feeling an often associated with success, even more so among those suffering from anxiety and depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with imposter syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


Ever Feel Like a Fraud?

By: Stephanie Osuba

Despite your degrees, acclaims, and accomplishments, do you ever sometimes feel like you are an imposter? That you’ve been getting lucky or that you’re a fake in your profession and one day people are going to find you out? As it turns out, you aren’t alone. Many successful people feel this way and often have to step back and remember all the things they have achieved – Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein among these people! While there is no diagnosis or even proper name for this feeling in the DSM-5, there are countless of reports of this in psychology and psychotherapy literature. In fact, the first time the term “imposter syndrome” was used was in an article in 1978 by Drs Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes who – after studying 150 educated, established, and highly respected women – found that they didn’t have an internal sense of success and found themselves to be “imposters.”

So what causes this “imposter syndrome” that befalls so many successful people? One reason could be that there is no real measure to success. There is always something more that you can do and regardless of how much success you’ve already had and you think you are content with, self-doubt can always creep in and say you haven’t done enough. Another reason could be “pluralistic ignorance,” which is believing something to be true without being able to prove or disprove it – usually involving unspoken or false beliefs about other people. For example, research has shown that all college students feel anxiety about school but the actual students think they are the only ones who feel that way and other people are having no trouble adjusting to college life. And lastly, talent can make us believe that we haven’t worked hard enough and don’t deserve the praise or success of what comes naturally to us.


If you or someone you know appears to be having issues with self-esteem or is suffering from anxiety, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit