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Psychological change in distressed young people who do not receive counselling : does improvement happen anyway?

Daniunaite, Akvile and Ahmad, Zenib and Cooper, Mick (2012) Psychological change in distressed young people who do not receive counselling : does improvement happen anyway? British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. ISSN 0306-9885

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore self-healing processes in young people, and to develop an understanding of the effects of school-based counselling (SBC), by analysing changes in a group of young people who were similar to those attending SBC but who did not participate in this intervention. Semi-structured interviews, based on an adaptation of Elliott’s Change Interview, were conducted with 14 young people who were on a waiting list for SBC as part of a randomised controlled trial. Participants experienced positive improvements in several domains, with change attributed to three main causes: their own actions, the support they received from family and friends, and the effects of the research. The results suggest that young people have a natural capacity to self-heal, and that some of the changes associated with SBC may be due to this self-righting process. Supporting this natural capacity may be an important element of therapeutic work with young people.