School-based humanistic counseling for psychological distress in young people: pilot randomized controlled trial

Katherine McArthur, Mick Cooper, Lucia Berdondini

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School-based humanistic counseling (SBHC) is a widely delivered intervention for psychological distress in young people, particularly in the UK. This study piloted a set of procedures for evaluating SBHC and obtaining indications of effect. Psychologically distressed young people (aged 13-16) were randomized to either 12 weeks of SBHC or a waiting list control. The primary outcome was psychological distress at the 12-week endpoint, as measured by the Young Person's CORE. Those allocated to counseling (n=16) showed significantly greater reductions in psychological distress than participants in the control group (n=17), with an effect size (ES) (g) of 1.14 on the primary outcome and a mean ES across all four outcome measures of 0.73 at endpoint. The findings indicate that SBHC may be an effective means of reducing psychological distress in young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-65
Number of pages11
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • School Health Services
  • Schools
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Students
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waiting Lists

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