Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Relationship between Rehabilitation Counselor Efficacy for Counseling Skills and Client Outcomes

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Relationship between Rehabilitation Counselor Efficacy for Counseling Skills and Client Outcomes

Article excerpt

Much dialogue exists within the rehabilitation counseling profession about rehabilitation counselor inclusion in professional counselor licensure (Tarvydas, Leahy, & Zanskas, 2009), how rehabilitation counseling fits into the larger counseling profession (Maki & Tarvydas, 2012), and the potential unification of multiple rehabilitation counseling professional organizations in one consistent with the larger counseling profession (Leahy, Tarvydas, & Phillips, 2011). All of these movements presume that rehabilitation counselors are indeed counselors who are able to successfully execute counseling microskills as well as more advanced counseling interventions. Many rehabilitation counselors employed in the public system do not have opportunities to practice and enhance counseling skills due to a lack of clinical supervision (Herbert, 2004). According to descriptive statistics from multiple studies, many counselors within the public system do not hold the certified rehabilitation counselor credential or a counseling license and are therefore not mandated to receive continuing education from a governing body outside of their employer (Herbert, 2004; McCarthy, in press; Schultz et al., 2002). With the discussion of movement towards a more generic counseling approach in the field, it is important to understand how counseling skills are related to client outcomes in the public rehabilitation counseling system. The focus of this study was to identify how self-efficacy for counseling skills are related to successful client outcomes in the public system

Self-Efficacy Theory

Bandura's model of Social Cognitive Theory hypothesizes that cognitive, environmental, and behavioral factors interact to determine human behavior (Bandura, 2001). Cognitive factors are generally thought of as a person's attitudes, knowledge, and expectations. Environmental factors include factors such as social norms and one's ability to change his/her own environment. Finally, behavioral factors are things like skills, practice, and self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is a major piece of Social Cognitive Theory. The theory of self-efficacy represents one's judgment of one's capability to successful carry out a particular course of action (Bandura, 1977; Bandura, 1982). In essence, if someone believes they are capable of achieving something, they put forth the effort and have the motivation to persevere. For example, if rehabilitation counselors believe they have an ability to successfully execute counseling microskills (i.e., reflecting, paraphrasing, etc.), their thoughts and behaviors are shaped by that belief, and they are likely to actually execute microskills effectively with their client. This process is also thought to be true when the task at hand is difficult; however, the theory suggests that people may avoid situations that they perceive to be beyond their capability. Self-efficacy theory has been used for decades to study performance in various activities such as work (Heppner, Multon, Gysbers, Ellis, & Zook, 1998; Larson et al., 1992).

Self-efficacy is based on an individual's perception of their ability to successfully achieve an outcome (Bandura, 1982). This perception is influenced by outside factors such as the environment or personal factors, and this perception may be accurate or not. Whether accurate or inaccurate, perceived self-efficacy impacts an individual's decision to engage in certain activities, his/her effort towards those activities, as well as how long those efforts will be sustained (Bandura, 1977). For example, if a rehabilitation counselor perceives little or no efficacy for successfully executing counseling skills, then he/she may avoid situations where those skills are required or fail to put forth effort to successful execute those skills in situations when those skills are required.

Given the importance of perceived self-efficacy, it is necessary to understand how perceived self-efficacy can be increased or decreased (Bandura, 1977). …

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