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Therapeutic outcomes in the Welsh Government's school-based counselling strategy : an evaluation

Cooper, Mick and Pybis, Joanne and Hill, Andy and Jones, Sylvia and Cromarty, Karen (2013) Therapeutic outcomes in the Welsh Government's school-based counselling strategy : an evaluation. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 13 (2). pp. 86-97. ISSN 1473-3145

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of school-based counselling, as delivered in the Welsh Government’s School-based Counselling Strategy, for reducing psychological distress in young people aged 11-18. The study used an observational, cohort design, comparing levels of distress on either the Young Person’s CORE (YP-CORE) or the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) from baseline to endpoint. Data were available on 3,613 episodes of counselling, across 42 datasets. Meta-analytical procedures were used to identify the mean effect size and predictors of outcomes. Within each dataset, counselling was associated with significant reductions in psychological distress, with a large mean effect size (d): 0.93 (95% CI = 0.89 - 0.97) using a fixed effects model and 1.09 (95% CI = 0.97 - 1.22) using a random effects model. Datasets using the YP-CORE had larger effect sizes than those using the SDQ, and datasets with more complete response rates had lower outcomes than those with poorer response rates. The results provide strong confirmation that school-based counselling, as delivered in the UK, is associated with significant and large reductions in psychological distress.