Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: Books are sorted alphabetically…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The list of books available on PEP Web is sorted alphabetically, with the exception of Freud’s Collected Works, Glossaries, and Dictionaries. You can find this list in the Books Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Steiner, J. (2011). The Impostor Revisited. Psychoanal Q., 80(4):1061-1071.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80(4):1061-1071

The Impostor Revisited

John Steiner

Phyllis Greenacre (1958a) begins her classic paper, “The Impostor,” by reminding us that “an impostor is not only a liar, but a very special type of liar who imposes on others fabrications of his attainments, position, or worldly possessions” (p. 1025, italics in original). Yet she also recognizes a wide range of conditions that bear a resemblance to impostors, and she observes that the analyst often “gets glimpses of such traits, only partly realized or appearing brightly in an incident or two, without emerging into overt fraudulence in the lives of a number of patients” (p. 1026).

Helene Deutsch, in “The Impostor: Contribution to Ego Psychology of a Type of Psychopath(1955), is even more explicit about the ubiquity of variants of this condition, and clearly sees the impostor on a continuum that includes the as-if personality of her earlier descriptions. She writes:

The world is crowded with “as-if” personalities, and even more so with impostors and pretenders. Ever since I became interested in the impostor, he pursues me everywhere. I find him among my friends and acquaintances, as well as in myself. [p. 1022]

The authors agree that we are all impostors to varying degrees, and even suggest that talented individuals, especially artists, may be particularly susceptible to suggestions of fraudulence.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.