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Stress, balance, the imposter syndrome and STEM

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Barbara Emmanuel

on 16 March 2017

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Transcript of Stress, balance, the imposter syndrome and STEM

Stress, balance, the imposter syndrome and STEM
The Imposter Syndrome
One feels illegitimate in doing something, or appearing as something; one feels apologetic, undeserving, anxious, tenuous, out-of-place, misread, phony, uncomfortable, incompetent, dishonest, guilty. Many women and men I know seem to share these feelings. But some research and much observation suggests they are especially severe in women {
and those who are members of other marginalized populations
} both in chronic life-long forms and in acute forms in particular situations.
Peggy McIntosh
3 Common characteristics of imposter syndrome (Tate, 2001)
Fear of being found out
It is difficult to relax and you may experience a constant state of stress

You fear others may see right through you
Feeling like your success is not due to your skills
You may believe that your success is not due to merit or skills, but due to favoritism or luck
A belief that others have been fooled into over-estimating your abilities
Achieving success may heighten your stress about being "found out" as a faker


Flow activities
1. Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. Merging of action and awareness
3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. A sense of agency over the activity
5. A distortion of temporal experience
6. Experience of activity as intrinsically rewarding
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1975)
"Heightened state of consciousness"
Demystifying Stigma
How to know when
it may be time to seek
I have to know it all
I don't know what to do
getting help for yourself can be EMPOWERING
What you do know is YOU.
letting go of all or nothing thinking
doesn't mean others have to know
Change can be difficult, especially if you doubt your abilities...but...
“impostor phenomenon
occurs among high achievers
who are unable to internalize and accept their success.”

Imes & Clance, 1970, Leading Researchers on IMPOSTER SYNDROME
“Asian-Americans were more likely than African-Americans or Latino-Americans to experience impostor feelings”
Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 2013
"I was taught I would need to ‘work twice as hard to be half as good.'"
Frederick, 4th year PsyD candidate, African-American, APA.org, 2013
"My interests are so different from those of my colleagues, which at times can feel incredibly isolating and further fuels my feelings of inadequacy,"

Mary, 2nd year doctoral student, gay woman
Emory University
Counseling & Psychological Services
What would Amy Cuddy do?
Do I
need to do it all?
How much is
too much
Is there
I can take off my plate/to-do list?
What does my body (soul, spirit, relationships)
right now?
change in sleep patterns (too much/too little)
appetite up/down
loss of pleasure in things that are usually enjoyable
spending increased time alone
increased tearfulness or irritability
drinking or using recreational drugs more often than intended
thoughts of self harm
We offer individual, couples, and group therapy
We have a Stress Clinic with a biofeedback lab
We offer telephone consultation if you are worried about a friend or just have questions
We have daily crisis walk-in hours from 8:30 to 3:00 Monday-Friday
Our services are free
Self care...
Let's Practice

awareness of the present with acceptance
"For working-class scholars, scholars of color, women scholars, LGBTQ scholars, scholars with disabilities, immigrant and international scholars, and fat scholars, our personal bouts with impostor syndrome — feeling as though we do not belong and/or are not as good as our privileged colleagues — are a symptom of systems of oppression that operate through academia, just as they do through every other important social institution. We cannot help but feel as though we do not belong because academia was not built by us or for us. We had to fight to be let in the front door (and still do), and continue to fight to be included fully; when we do get in, subtle and explicit efforts are made to undermine us at every corner." Eric Anthony Grollman
Marginalization, the imposter syndrome, and oppression
“[w]hen I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Audre Lorde
Full transcript