Tag Archives: Dr Albert Bandura

What are self efficacy expectations? 

The term self-efficacy was first coined in the late seventies by Dr. Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist and professor at Stanford University. He wrote: Self-Efficacy is a person’s particular set of beliefs that determine how well one can execute a plan of action in prospective situations (Bandura, 1977).

In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation. High self-efficacy is associated with mental health and adjustment, including resilience to adversity and stress, establishing healthy self-care routines, strong work performance, athletic performance, and academic achievement. Individuals with high self-efficacy form a stronger sense of commitment to their goals and activities, recover more quickly from setbacks and disappointments, and view challenging problems as things to be overcome.

According to Dr. Bandura, the following experiences have an effect on higher self efficacy expectations:

  • Mastery Experiences
    The first and foremost source of self-efficacy is through mastery experiences. Having a success in mastering a task or overcoming a challenge will build self-belief in that area.
  • Vicarious Experiences
    The second source of self-efficacy comes from our observation of people around us, especially people we consider as role models or mentors. Seeing others we respect succeed by their own level of effort increases our beliefs that we also possess the capabilities to master the activities needed for success in that area.
  • Verbal Influence or Positive Reinforcement
    Influential people who encourage us in our lives such as parents, teachers, partners, employers, or coaches can strengthen our beliefs that we have what it takes to succeed.
  • Emotions and Stress
    Depression, for example, can dampen confidence in our capabilities. Anxiety often creates second guessing or self-doubt. States of prolonged stress can make us doubt our capabilities, reducing self-efficacy expectations. The feedback that we receive from our body plays a big role in self-efficacy, underlining the importance of self-care.

Above were the four main sources of self-efficacy expectations described in Dr. Bandura’s original research. I believe there is another area that is very helpful for self-efficacy boosts, and can be used in therapy.

  • Imagination and creativity
    Post-Bandura, psychologist Dr. James Maddux (George Mason University, the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being) has suggested another route to self-confidence through “imaginal experiences”, the art of visualising yourself behaving successfully in a given situation. In my practice, I use Super Hero imagery, mindfulness, and visualization strategies to help clients increase self efficacy. We can imagine ourselves performing feats successfully- until they become part of our internal landscape.

Also see Super Hero Therapy.

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Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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