Avatar-based Counselling for Psychological Distress in Secondary School Pupils: Pilot Evaluation

Michael Cooper, Biljana Van Rijn, Evi Chryssafidou

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This study is a pilot evaluation of a new avatar-based therapeutic tool, ProReal, with psychologically distressed young people within a school setting. In total, 54 young people, aged 12-18 years old, participated in face-to-face avatar-based counselling. Young people used the software to represent themselves and others, their problems and emotions. The primary outcome measure was the Young Person’s CORE (YP-CORE). The avatar-based counselling intervention was feasible to implement and acceptable to clients, with 90% rating the help that they received as good, and less than 20% dropout. The intervention was associated with small to medium reductions in psychological distress, psychological difficulties and conduct problems. These improvements, however, were significant for male clients only. Outcomes were greater for counsellors who spent more time in training and using the ProReal software. © 2018, Taylor & Francis. The attached document (embargoed until 29/08/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in BRITISH JOURNAL OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Guidance and Counselling
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2018


  • computer-assisted therapy
  • avatar-based counselling
  • Adolescent
  • treatment outcomes

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