In February, AQR held a Spark Event on Transforming Imposter Syndrome, led by Gemma Holmes, a peer coach and cognitive hypnotherapist. A bunch of us quallies from a range of agencies went along to see what we could do to combat our inner imposter. Most of us were unsure exactly what to expect. Some of us didn’t even know if we had an imposter or what this could even really mean for us, as researchers.

Gemma began by describing what Imposter Syndrome was and how it might manifest with us as qual researchers. Given her background in marketing, she was really able to understand our position and the demands of our line of work. We started with a small exercise to explore what our imposter voice was saying to us. Everyone is different but there were some interesting commonalities within qual researchers so it was great to share and relate to others in the group.

Having identified our imposter, the next — and most important — step was to understand how to overcome it. Gemma took us through some steps and instructed us to visualise this inner, negative voice. This was a particularly helpful session: a fresh way of thinking about things. We then unpicked what our voice said to us and were shown how to counteract its negativity.

Towards the end of the workshop, Gemma took us through a guided trance, which allowed us to try out some of the approaches we had discussed. The trance initially sounded quite daunting, but in reality it was very relaxing, involving using visualisation techniques in a meditative state.

This Spark was an eye opener. Gemma was very open to sharing her own experiences and had an interesting and thoughtprovoking slant on managing Imposter Syndrome. She used a mix of approaches, some of which allowed us to share our thoughts as a group and others which were more personal, allowing us to tailor our responses to our own personal experience, based on what we thought worked for us.

Overall, it was a really great session, giving us practical and useful techniques we could implement in our working lives.