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Self-efficacy Theory

Self-efficacy Theory

Confidence has been identified at the anecdotal and empirical level as an important construct in motivation. There is an assumption that behavioural outcomes influence self-efficacy and onwards to self-esteem. This reflects a ‘psychological consequences’ approach to self-efficacy. However, self-efficacy theory also supports the reciprocal nature of the relationship between efficacy perceptions and behaviour by stating that the behaviour will not be indulged in unless efficacy perceptions are sufficient. This is dealing with the motivational role of self-efficacy and will be the approach adopted here.

Bandura (1986) defines self-efficacy as:
“People’s judgement of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but with judgements of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses.”

He differentiates between the beliefs related to the ability to carry out a particular behaviour (efficacy expectations) and beliefs as to whether the behaviour will produce a particular result (outcome expectations). For example, efficacy expectations may be the belief that one can successfully adhere to a programme of brisk walking five times a week for thirty minutes each. However, outcome expectations may refer to whether one believes that such activity will produce the weight loss that was desired when planning the activity. 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 personal experience, but appraisal of such events is likely to influence expectations of future success. Attribution theory predicts that internal and stable causes of failure (such as lack of ability) are more likely to lead to debilitating and demotivating cognitions and negative emotions than factors which appear more changeable (such as lack of effort). Attributional factors may also be important in determining the extent that efficacy expectations gained in one context generalise to other contexts. Bandura (1986) suggests that some generalisation is likely and is predicted to be strongest in similar events to the original source of efficacy judgements. This is useful for the hypnotist, as it opens up the opportunity for generalising past successes on to the present challenge, and also allowing and encouraging development of progress through taking small steps towards a goal.
2. Imitation and modelling
Observing others succeed or fail could affect subsequent efficacy beliefs, particularly if the individual has little or no prior experience to draw on. In the setting of the work of the hypnotist, this can most clearly be seen in the use of surface structure metaphors, but is also often the case where clients self-refer following the success of a friend.
3. Verbal and social persuasion
Depending on the source of such self-efficacy information, persuasion from others is likely to influence perceptions of self-efficacy. However, it is thought to be a relatively weak source in comparison
to the two already mentioned. The success of persuasion is also dependent on the realistic nature of the information. The hypno-psychotherapist has a role to play here. You can be the client’s
champion in their efforts to succeed, encouraging and supporting their efforts and self-efficacy.
4. Judgements of physiological states
The original theorising on SET was based on modifications of reactions to aversive events such as phobias (Bandura 1977). In such situations it was found that self-efficacy was related to how
one appraised internal physiological states such as heart rate. The hypno-psychotherapist’s role here is to help the client become aware of differences. You are in a unique position to do this, especially as the process of inducing hypnosis will in itself produce changes.

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