Locus of Control
Locus of control stems from a social learning theory approach toÂ personality where general beliefs are thought to develop fromÂ expectations based on prior reinforcements and hence is anÂ expectancy-value approach to motivation. Expectancy-valueÂ means that it is looking at a combination of both elements: theÂ expectancy of a particular outcome and the value of the outcome.Â For example, imagine a group of overweight people.Â Some may have a high expectancy that if they were to walk forÂ half an hour a day, they would lose weight. Others would not.Â Some would value losing weight highly, others would not. ThoseÂ who are high in both have the greatest chance of success.Â Locus of control of reinforcements refers to the extent to whichÂ people perceive that reinforcements are within their own control,Â are controlled by others or are due to chance. Rotter says “itÂ seems likely that, depending on the individual’s history of reinforcement,individuals would differ to the degree to which they
attributed reinforcements to their own actions’ (Rotter, 1966).
There are psychometric tests which can determine an individual’sÂ tendency towards an internal or external locus of control.Â For the purpose of hypno-psychotherapyÂ it is important to recognise that the client’s specificÂ locus of control with respect to the issue that they are presentingÂ can be a significant factor in our process of helping aÂ client maximise their motivation, and perhaps their overall tendencyÂ is irrelevant: the hypnotist needs to know where the clientÂ is right now, with respect to the issue they are in the office toÂ work on. If their overall tendency is more beneficial than the specific,
however, then mapping techniques could be used toÂ increase the benefit of the specific.Â It is generally perceived that having an internal locus of control isÂ “good” and external is “bad”. However, this is not always theÂ case. For example, a client may, as a child have felt responsibleÂ for her parentsâ arguments. This is an internal LOC, and part ofÂ the hypno-psychotherapist’sÂ role here may be, in this oneÂ instance, to shift this so that she knows that this is not within herÂ control, but to help her to see that she can have control of howÂ she now responds.