concluded that stable factors influence our expectation of success even
more than the locus of control. Naturally some of the internal factors
are not stable--our talents and skills will vary from task to task, our
effort or mood will fluctuate too, etc. Also, as one can see, there is a
question about which factors are controllable (or intentional) and
which are not, e.g. perhaps you can control how hard you try but you
can't control other peoples' motivation or their ability.
As one might imagine, internalizers and externalizers prefer
different kinds of therapy--and probably different kinds of self-help
methods. Both respond to rewards but externalizers are not very
motivated by the threat of punishment (Deaux & Wrightsman, 1984).
Internalizers prefer a therapy in which they can actively participate
and from which they can learn how to handle their own concerns. They
probably incorporate self-help ideas easily because that is their natural
inclination: "how can I use this to mold my world?" Externalizers
prefer a therapy that is directive or authoritative (Lefcourt, 1976).
They have greater difficulty seeing the relevance of self-help and
remembering to use the information. Once used successfully, however,
the self-help methods should be self-reinforcing, even in an
The explanation we have of our world is complex--but it is
important in understanding how we react and feel about our lives, our
selves and our future. Lefcourt (1976) says, "...man must come to be
more effective and able to perceive himself as the determiner of his
fate if he is to live comfortably with himself." To cope, you need to feel
responsible and more in control.
How to become an Internalizer
One way, if you had a choice, is to be born into a warm, protective,
nurturing, middle or upper class family which models success and
encourages independence and self-reliance. Other ways involve
learning through experience and training that you can change things,
that you have the ability to self-help and influence others, that the
future is partly your responsibility. There is evidence that applied
psychology courses and workshops, personally useful books, self-help
projects, personal growth experiences, and certain skill-oriented
therapies increase the internal orientation. This book is designed to
give you control over your life, i.e. help you be a realistic internalizer.
To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also