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Motivation as a predictor of outcomes in school-based humanistic counselling

Killips, Carin Ann and Cooper, Mick and Freire, Elizabeth and McGinnis, Susan (2012) Motivation as a predictor of outcomes in school-based humanistic counselling. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12 (2). pp. 93-99. ISSN 1473-3145

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Recent years have seen a growth in the provision of counselling within UK secondary schools, and research indicates that it is associated with significant reductions in psychological distress. However, little is known about the moderators and mediators of positive therapeutic benefit. In the field of adult mental health, motivation has been found to be one of the strongest predictors of therapeutic outcomes, and it was hypothesised that this may also be a predictor of outcomes for young people in school-based counselling services. To assess the relationship between young people’s motivation for counselling and its effectiveness within a secondary school setting. Eighty-one young people (12 - 17 years old) who attended school-based humanistic counselling services in Scotland. Clients completed a measure of motivation for counselling at the commencement of their therapeutic work and a measure of psychological wellbeing at the commencement and termination of counselling. Motivation for counselling was not found to be significantly related to outcomes. The results indicate that the association between motivation and outcomes may be weaker in young people as compared with adults. However, a number of design factors may also account for the non-significant findings: insufficient participants, marginal reliability of the motivation measure and social desirability effects.