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35 Comments

  1. Kathy Adera, Psychology, NC, USA says

    Excellent intervention. “I can’t permit you to feel that way” and ” You are not in charge of the other person feeling”. Empowering the person and at
    the same time reinforcing how it can seem irrelevant to feel responsible for other people feelings thus learn to set stronger limits. Thank you nicabm.

  2. Beverly H, Social Work, MA, USA says

    Interesting. This is a very helpful strategy using externalization to counteract the internal self talk. Thank you.

  3. Keisy Walker, Other, USA says

    Timeless lesson. I love when Dr. Yapko explains about not letting a little negativity stop you from seeing all the good that’s around. We all go through the same stuff differently. I am deeply thankful for this video.

  4. Trisha Walton, Teacher, USA says

    Using the strategies that are provided drive home the point of awareness of your behaviors and your feelings. Being aware of your feelings can possibly limit trauma or increase your ability to deal with emotional situations.

  5. Anne Kelly says

    The problem with this comes when a person doesn’t believe that another who is praising them is telling the truth. Someone could just be saying something nice because that’s what they do or because they want something. If this is the belief, how do we get underneath it and debunk it?

    • Sara G, Psychology, DE, USA says

      Sometimes I found that it is more in the core of the personality/anxiety and fear of being judge and then internally self-judging. My co-worker’s memory of the actions of her father during the war took her back she felt ashamed of him and self-blame. That would be something I would try.

  6. Martha Utc, Psychotherapy, USA says

    I disagree with Dr. Yapko’s initial premise about what imposter syndrome is about. Instead, I see imposter syndrome being connected to a person not believing in themself. I would create an exercise focused on helping the client to build self-trust and confidence. Perhaps, having them do something they know they can do, and then discussing the qualities, strengths, etc., that were present while doing the activity, that allowed them to “unconsciously” trust themself. I’d then help the client bridge those qualities, strengths, etc., to the area in their life where they feel like an imposter, by having them role play with me, until they begin to trust themself in this area, and build confidence.

  7. Ya Mi, Fort Myer, FL, USA says

    I think this is an important tool to learn for yourself. Sometimes being a successful entrepreneur in the field you are good at can be in itself a problem because you can become more fearful and anxious about the upcoming next success to come. So the fear of being successful for a successful person is at some level can be very relatable. At the same time, the success only comes with recognition and validation from other people this would increase your self image, and but only temporarily. So helping someone getting to a place where what define the success has its own value to her only can takes a lot of efforts. Some of my traumatic symptoms surface and will makes me feel victimized when actually I just need to be more grounded. So yes, I really like hearing Dr. Yapko sharing about his interventions and tools. Thank you.

  8. Ya Mi, Fort Myer, FL, USA says

    I think this is an important tool to learn for yourself. Sometimes being a successful entrepreneur in the field you are good at can be in itself a problem because you can become more fearful and anxious about the upcoming next success to come. So the fear of being successful for a successful person is at some level can be very relatable. At the same time, the success only comes with recognition and validation from other people this would increase your self image, and but only temporarily. So helping someone getting to a place where what define the success has its own value to her only can takes a lot of efforts. Some of my traumatic symptoms surface and will makes me feel victimized when actually I just need to be more grounded. So yes, I really like hearing Dr. Yapko sharing about his interventions and tools. Thank you.

  9. Judith Cooper, Lexington, MA, USA says

    Great ideas…. Thanks so much for sharing w/ us…. judith

  10. Anonymous, Teacher, LAFAYETTE, CA, USA says

    I have another take on this – a personal gambit (dishonest and therefore costly). I was always taught not to brag or think too much of myself. It was the old Scot or British thing about “don’t make it look too hard syndrome”. If anyone praised me, i would just say it was nothing or etc. It was helpful then for me because I did do well etc and I was criticized for being able to go to college while some friends were still wondering what was next.
    The Internal Systems Model is helpful for understanding that while this coping method worked for a while in getting acceptance, it was not helpful for developing useful skills for accurate self assessment and confident self presentation.
    Some helpful feedback included “you should experience more self confidence”. I believe it turned into a lack of self confidence because I encouraged people to disregard my legitimate accomplishments and therefore I missed out on respect. I haven’t developed the skills to present myself in a humble yet authoritative manner without feeling I am bragging and I am very critical of people who seem overconfident. This is simplistic I realize but very true for me. Anyone else out there like me????

    • Margaret Mitchell, Psychotherapy, GB says

      I appreciate your openness and absolutely get what you mean and to answer your question yes I am and must be just one of thousands who know what this feels like.

  11. Eva Adodoadji, Coach, Providence, RI, USA says

    Some think that not accepting the compliment is a mark of humility. What do you think?

    • j, lafayette, CA, USA says

      sounds like you get it!!!

    • Anonymous, Other, Crofton, MD, USA says

      I think not accepting a compliment is a disrespectful way to treat the one giving it! Just say thanks and move on!! It’s not an argument!

    • Sara Gee, Another Field, CA says

      I think it’s important to acknowledge and accept praise as failing to do so discounts the value of the compliment. Remember that it’s sometimes difficult for others to give praise too. Saying simply, “That’s kind of you to say, thank you.” Can help bridge the gap until you feel comfortable just saying, “Thanks.”

  12. Ellen, Los Angeles, CA, USA says

    Is not “invalidating other’s viewpoints” in this context a symptom of their self-invalidation? The perspective gained from the “sheer horror” of anticipating saying something like you suggest might put one in touch with their concern and assumptions about what another thinks of them, and a discipline not to entertain that. It might inspire an inquiry that leads them to recognize that “they are not in charge of other people’s feelings” and an invitation to accept them as they are. It might even encourage more awareness about their self-talk. Yet it does not seem to me to be dealing with this issue of their not accepting or believing in themselves at a causal level. If they are guided to see their invalidation of other as a projection of their self-invalidation, perhaps the presence that it would take to even anticipate doing your externalization exercise might be used to inspire a deeper inquiry into their thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves, and themselves in relation to their culture.

  13. Tracey Learmont, Psychotherapy, AU says

    I think this will be very helpful for a couple of young male clients who are suffering from anxiety and self esteem issues because it is highly relatable and a little funny. Thank you

  14. Nick Farrar, Another Field, GB says

    This is all very well, but what if no-one around the person is giving them any feedback at all – either positive or negative? This is in fact the most likely scenario for someone with issues like low self-esteem, if not for everyone. If there’s no-one around giving opinions and feedback, then strategy simply cannot be used. We really need to be reducing, not encouraging, reliance on what others think about us. I’m afraid this strategy has only limited use and does not go way deep enough.

  15. Christine Urja Refalo, Psychotherapy, AU says

    I’m going to try this with an ASD client who is self-loathing with social phobia (She is so fearful of others judging her). I will try it between her and I and see where it lands for her.

  16. Jacqueline McLeod, Another Field, AU says

    That is a very helpful exercise and I think it would be even better if it went further, asking the client to think of some examples of more appropriate responses to what the other person is saying. I don’t think I would actually go through will the exercise of saying it out loud unless it was someone to whom I could then explain why I’m doing it. I am hoping that simply the thought of doing it and then replacing it with an appropriate response would be enough.

  17. Nancy Gershman, Social Work, NEW YORK, NY, USA says

    Dr. Yapko,

    Might this externalizing exercise —if used as a humorous and insightful anecdote — be helpful with clients who DO NOT understand a parent’s unreasonable and/or toxic opinion of themselves, so that the client can also arrive at the same conclusion: “We’re not in charge of others’ opinions. Sometimes we gotta just move on.”

  18. Alexandra Burg, Social Work, Cleveland , OH, USA says

    Hello Dr. Yapko,

    I usually do find the feedback from you and others through NICABM very helpful. However, in this instance, I think I may disagree with the premise on which you base your intervention.

    In my understanding of imposter phenomenon based on my reading, experience and, even personal experience, it seems to stem more from a person’s belief that s/he does not believe that the people who offer them affirming appraisals actually know them. It is not that they do not believe what others are saying, it is that they do not believe that others would say the positive things they do if they REALLY knew them. IMHO, it stems from them, not what others think, but their own self-appraisal, particularly when it comes to intellectual/educational matters. (Of course, I realize it can pertain to more than this.)

    I will try your above intervention with a couple of my clients, in particular, and will still see how it resonates for them and will keep an open mind.
    Thank you for this.

    • Dennis F, Other, Billings, MT, USA says

      I agree with Alexandra and I struggle with this myself. It’s not really a, “You are not allowed to feel this way,” as much as it is a, “You wouldn’t feel this way if you truly knew the real me.” Sure, people can believe whatever they want and I have no control over what they believe about me. But I know I can put on one heck of a show to make them think I am great (when I really am not – I know my heart). The fear is that some day they find me out.

  19. Bev Lyles, Coach, Reno, NV, USA says

    I find that many people get into their middle years and realize they do not have the inner foundation they need to thrive. They have been going with the flow, or faking till you make it with their social contacts for years. It is not “low self esteem” or even “other esteem” which can be changed, but the person’s position between their inner self and outer self. It is none of our business how others perceive us—that is actually based upon their inner foundation and their position in life. Most people want others around them who think and act like them, this mirroring validates who they are. Once you realize this your self-view changes dramatically. If there were no mirrors for you, who would you be? This is you determining who you are and how much or little of this you will share with others. Exercising this control over self, helps in relationships with others.

  20. Katrina Wood, Psychology, CA, USA says

    Brilliant , humbling disorienting in a good way.

  21. Pamela Georgiou, Coach, Middle Village , NY, USA says

    What if one has a positive image of oneself, yet has a substantial amount of negative feedback from others?

  22. Diana Whitehead, Medicine, AU says

    Actually I have this problem.
    But I also make it true
    What can you say to me?
    I often have people disappointed in me
    They don’t tell me I’m great

    • Mary Ives, Nursing, CA says

      Good point. I think it’s not just about what other people feel. It’s also about what others think. I am realizing that what others think or feel is not my responsibility. Their thoughts and feelings, whether positive or negative about me, are much more a reflection of them, not me. It may be flattering to have someone judge me in a positive way but in truth it is a projection of their values onto me. I don’t need them to be different. Someone may like or dislike what I do or the way I look. I generally consider their opinion while holding fast to my own values and beliefs. At times, after reflecting on new information, I may change my beliefs. Our culture overvalues a work ethic and “keeping busy”. Beauty standards are very subjective in our culture. In many ways these notions have contributed to the devastation of our planet. The fashion industry is a major polluter. I am responsible for choosing who I am becoming at each moment. I get to make a lot of mistakes in the process because that is a major way that humans learn–through trial and error.

  23. Rap Tan, Medicine, USA says

    Nice! What is the exercise for when surrounded by naysayers and unkind critics? Yes the principle may be the same, but it is hard to say “let them believe it” if in a culture like surgery or the military in which ‘abuse’ is more common.

    • Thomasina Bates, Counseling, GB says

      Perhaps to imagine saying to the unkind critics “You are entitled to your opinion and that is none of my business!!” To acknowledge the difference between opinion and fact. Also some people need to address their relationship with themselves, address their sense of self worth and self respect. Occasionally I look at basic human rights with clients.

  24. Abbas Jay, Other, IR says

    Great message. Validation is important. Never thought about self validation.

  25. Ali B, Health Education, GB says

    Such a timely post…. I really resonate with this, and more so in reading the transcript, literally see that in addition to my own invalidating narrative, my partner actively tells me that how I am feeling is wrong…. Which is confusing and validating of that inner voice. Cripes. There is some work to do here me thinks. Thanks for this.

    • Lori Jay, Other, Phoenix, AZ, USA says

      Cripes indeed – this bears further refelection – thanks!