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Fostering Self Efficacy

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC

April 1, 2023

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Question

What is self-efficacy in regard to the patients/clients we serve, and how can we, as therapists assist in fostering it?  

Answer

Self-efficacy is the belief that the choices/behaviors one makes impact their outcomes. That's all it is. In terms of our treatment, we can assist in fostering self-efficacy. We want our patients to put as much of the power and accompanying responsibility for their improvement into their hands. For example, if somebody believes strongly that eating a certain way will help them heal, they're much more likely to actually eat that way versus someone who's like, "Yeah, yeah, that doesn't have anything to do with it."

Increased self-efficacy decreases fear avoidance and is associated with an increased sense of well-being.  Self-efficacy is one of the most powerful treatments for fear avoidance. If we can help foster this in our patients, it can help protect them from those fear-avoidant beliefs and decrease anxiety and depression. Self-efficacy is associated with exercise adherence in healthy populations and those recovering from cardiac events. It is strongly associated with therapy attendance and home program performance. 

Evidence strongly suggests the following to assist in fostering self-efficacy: 

  • Verbal encouragement vs. passively watching 
    • We can verbally encourage people, "Hey, that's looking so much better than the last time you did that exercise," versus passively watching. 
  • Using language that resonates with that patient to facilitate positive feelings
    • Figuring out what language will click or make sense with our patients because the terminology that we use for things may or may not resonate with them. 

  • Reminding the patient of their progress, capitalizing on prior success
    • Reminding the patient of their progress, those regular check-ins, "Hey, you've got this much more range of motion." "You were able to walk this much further today." Even those little tiny victories, point them out and celebrate them with your patient because that will help enhance their sense of self-efficacy.
  • Sharing success stories from similar patients
    • Potentially sharing, of course, de-identified success stories from other similar patients. There are other people who have successfully gotten through this, and you will too.
  • Give up your own status and control, and empower your patient!
    • Focusing on patient empowerment versus sort of putting your own self on a pedestal.

It has been shown that people with higher levels of self-efficacy also have much stronger provider efficacy. So if they believe in their self-efficacy, they're much more likely to believe you know what you're talking about. It will help with compliance as well.

Make sure you're prioritizing your patient's values and goals and soliciting their input into what they want those goals to be is important.

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course 4654 Behavioral Health & Physical Therapy: What Is Our Role? by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC


jennifer stone

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC

Dr. Jennifer Stone graduated from Texas State University in 2009 and completed her transitional DPT through MGHIHP in 2010. She completed an orthopedic residency through Evidence In Motion in 2010 and is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapists Specialties (ABPTS). She received a pelvic health certification through Herman & Wallace in 2013. She serves as the Director of Operations for Evidence in Motion and program director for Evidence In Motion’s pelvic health content. She is also an adjunct faculty member for the University of Pittsburgh’s entry level DPT program. Dr. Stone is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Her clinical experience includes orthopedics, pelvic health, and practice management in both hospital and private practice settings. Jennifer is passionate about teaching and opening the world of pelvic health to all types of clinicians

 


Related Courses

Behavioral Health & Physical Therapy: What Is Our Role?
Presented by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Course: #4654Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Very interesting'   Read Reviews
In 2023, it is no longer adequate to treat people’s bodies solely. This course introduces learners to some behavioral health concepts, including methods for screening, integrating behavioral health management into care, and understanding the impact of behavioral health concerns on physical health.

Mindfulness: Beyond Guided Meditation
Presented by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Course: #3902Level: Intermediate2 Hours
Mindfulness can be a really powerful cognitive-behavioral tool and has many relevant applications when treating patients with pain, especially chronic pain. Many courses for rehabilitation professionals teach guided meditation, which is an amazing tool. However, mindfulness has many other applications and opportunities for use in the treatment of patients with pain. This session discusses the history and science behind mindfulness, as well as provides a variety of practical mindfulness tools for the everyday practitioner. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Trauma Informed Care Principles for Rehabilitation Professionals
Presented by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Course: #3975Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'well explained topic'   Read Reviews
Acute and chronic trauma is very prevalent in the United States, and have been tied strongly to adverse health behaviors and outcomes. This course provides the rehabilitation professional with an overview of the physiology of trauma, as well as practical tools to work with patients who are experiencing trauma. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Best Practices for Rehab Professionals When Caring for Patients Across the Gender Identity Spectrum
Presented by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Course: #3534Level: Introductory2 Hours
  'very detailed'   Read Reviews
This course will seek to inform the rehabilitative professional about individuals who identify in ways other than cis-gender, including appropriate language to use, gender pronouns, and definitions specific to this population. The course will additionally discuss physical therapy implications for these individuals, including the impact of hormone therapy on the musculoskeletal system and post­ operative considerations following gender affirmation surgery. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Motivational Interviewing
Presented by Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Jennifer Stone, PT, DPT, OCS, PHC
Course: #4671Level: Introductory2 Hours
  'Clear information presented and good examples'   Read Reviews
Motivational interviewing is a behavioral health technique that has been proven to help people with making changes. Physical therapists are uniquely positioned to help their clients make meaningful changes in their lives. This course provides practical tips and guidelines for integrating motivational interviewing into your treatment program.

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