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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An action-project investigation of young adult clients' self-efficacy within individual counselling process Penner, Carey Grayson


This study aimed to describe dynamic interactive manifestations of client self-efficacy within the individual counselling process of young adult clients and professional counsellors. The study reanalyzed data obtained from a previous action-project investigation of 12 counsellor-client dyads who met for up to four sessions to address issues related to the client’s transition to adulthood. Reanalysis followed a cumulative case study approach (Stake, 2000) and adapted the qualitative analysis procedures of the action-project method (Young, Valach, & Domene, 2005). Two research questions, “How is client self-efficacy manifest in counselling process?” and “How are perceptions of clients’ capabilities constructed within the individual and joint action of individual counselling sessions?” guided the reanalysis of six target cases. The within case portion of the analysis yielded detailed descriptions of clients’ self-efficacy beliefs as well as the joint action processes that constructed them. The findings for each case were reduced to a set of assertions and were then compared and contrasted in the cross case analyses. This analytic process generated the following seven summary assertions pertaining to these participants’ experiences: 1) perceptions of the clients’ capabilities were embedded throughout all phases of the counselling process including exploration, problem definition, intervention, client change, consolidation of change, and termination; 2) clients’ efficacious and inefficacious self-evaluations varied with regards to emotional intensity and importance to the counselling process; 3) clients’ perceptions of self-efficacy regarding basic tasks of counselling were closely tied to the client-counsellor relationship; 4) counsellor and client’s exploratory joint action helped construct perceptions of capability; 5) the counsellors' use of efficacy questions was accompanied by efficacy construction; 6) significant extratherapy events were incorporated into the joint action that constructed perceptions of the clients’ capabilities; 7) efficacy construction was observed in powerful parallel processes that aligned clients’ in-session action with highly important relational goals. These findings are forwarded as knowledge that is close to these participants’ experience. Though the study’s research design precludes causal statements or definitive generalizations, the knowledge generated from the participants’ experience prompts theoretical reflection, invites subsequent research, and may be useful to practitioners seeking to facilitate efficacy construction in their clients.

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