Young people's process of engagement in school counselling

Seamus Prior*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Adolescent reluctance to engage in help-seeking for psychological and emotional problems is well documented. Despite a significant expansion in counselling provision in UK secondary schools, young people's experience of accessing counselling remains under-researched. 
Aim: The present study aimed to elucidate the key features and stages of the help-seeking process as defined by young people accessing school counselling. 
Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people who had successfully completed a course of counselling at school. Thematic narrative analysis focusing on help-seeking was then applied to the interview transcripts. 
Results: The analysis proposes a multi-staged socially-mediated process of disclosure and engagement, from initial acknowledgement of a problem through to full disclosure to the counsellor. 
Discussion: Analysis of young people's narratives highlights: the complex process of negotiation and evaluation which they undertake to engage fully in school counselling; the careful management of stigmatisation concerns both through practical access arrangements and the language in which school counselling is framed; the significant balanced position of the counsellor as both integrated and separate within the school community; and the key role of facilitators in enabling young people to access counselling, both practically and psychologically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • counselling in schools
  • help-seeking
  • process
  • young people


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