Confidence has been identified at the anecdotal and empiricalÂ level as an important construct in motivation. There is an assumptionÂ that behavioural outcomes influence self-efficacy andÂ onwards to self-esteem. This reflects a ‘psychological consequences’Â approach to self-efficacy. However, self-efficacy theoryÂ also supports the reciprocal nature of the relationshipÂ between efficacy perceptions and behaviour by stating that theÂ behaviour will not be indulged in unless efficacy perceptions areÂ sufficient. This is dealing with the motivational role of self-efficacyÂ and will be the approach adopted here.
Bandura (1986) defines self-efficacy as:
“People’s judgement of their capabilities to organise and executeÂ courses of action required to attain designated types ofÂ performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but withÂ judgements of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses.”
He differentiates between the beliefs related to the ability toÂ carry out a particular behaviour (efficacy expectations) andÂ beliefs as to whether the behaviour will produce a particularÂ result (outcome expectations). For example, efficacy expectationsÂ may be the belief that one can successfully adhere to aÂ programme of brisk walking five times a week for thirty minutesÂ each. However, outcome expectations may refer to whetherÂ one believes that such activity will produce the weight loss thatÂ was desired when planning the activity.Â There are four main sources of information for efficacy beliefs
according to Bandura:
1. Prior success and performance attainment
This is thought to be the most powerful, since it is based on personalÂ experience, but appraisal of such events is likely to influenceÂ expectations of future success. Attribution theory predictsÂ that internal and stable causes of failure (such as lack of ability)Â are more likely to lead to debilitating and demotivating cognitionsÂ and negative emotions than factors which appear moreÂ changeable (such as lack of effort).Â Attributional factors may also be important in determining theÂ extent that efficacy expectations gained in one context generaliseÂ to other contexts. Bandura (1986) suggests that some generalisationÂ is likely and is predicted to be strongest in similarÂ events to the original source of efficacy judgements.Â This is useful for the hypnotist, as it opens up the opportunity forÂ generalising past successes on to the present challenge, andÂ also allowing and encouraging development of progressÂ through taking small steps towards a goal.
2. Imitation and modelling
Observing others succeed or fail could affect subsequent efficacyÂ beliefs, particularly if the individual has little or no prior experienceÂ to draw on. In the setting of the work of the hypnotist, thisÂ can most clearly be seen in the use of surface structureÂ metaphors, but is also often the case where clients self-refer followingÂ the success of a friend.
3. Verbal and social persuasion
Depending on the source of such self-efficacy information, persuasionÂ from others is likely to influence perceptions of self-efficacy.Â However, it is thought to be a relatively weak source in comparison
to the two already mentioned. The success of persuasionÂ is also dependent on the realistic nature of the information.Â The hypno-psychotherapistÂ has a role to play here. You can be the client’s
champion in their efforts to succeed, encouraging and supportingÂ their efforts and self-efficacy.
4. Judgements of physiological states
The original theorising on SET was based on modifications ofÂ reactions to aversive events such as phobias (Bandura 1977). InÂ such situations it was found that self-efficacy was related to how
one appraised internal physiological states such as heart rate.Â The hypno-psychotherapistâs role here is to help the client become aware ofÂ differences. You are in a unique position to do this, especially asÂ the process of inducing hypnosis will in itself produce changes.