Overcoming Imposter Phenomenon in Academic Faculty: Using Cognitive Processing Therapy to Address Distorted Perceptions
Flores, Jennifer R.
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Despite recent research into the effects of imposter phenomenon (IP) on academic faculty members, there has been no research on empirically tested, non-clinical interventions that could help individuals address the distorted cognitions that are related to IP. Using elements from Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), we developed and tested a workshop intervention to determine the impact on participants’ imposter and Core Self Evaluation (CSE) scores, factors that influenced transfer of learning, the impacts that the workshop had on participants, and what changes can be made to increase the effectiveness. Results showed that after attending the workshop, academic faculty participants (n=19) reported lower imposter scores, increased CSE scores, and experienced increased agency over imposter thoughts and the resulting feelings and lower levels of pressure and anxiety. Based on follow-up focus groups, three main themes were identified regarding factors that had the most impact on participants’ transfer of learning and ability to address imposter thoughts after the workshop. Implementation of the workshop as a faculty development tool is proposed, however further research is suggested to determine impact on work outcomes and generalizability to a larger population.