Helpful and unhelpful aspects of counselling for young people following school-related bullying
: a qualitative interview study

  • Krystal-Jane Verasammy

Student thesis: PsychD


Recent research has indicated that young people continue to access school-and-community-based counselling services for bullying in the UK. However, few studies have explored their experiences of counselling. The purpose of this study was to identify what clients found helpful and unhelpful in counselling following school-related bullying. A further aim was to understand the processes of change that this particular client group experienced. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with ten young people, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. Helpful counsellor activities were ways of relating, incorporation of creative media, teaching strategies, offering advice, and creating safety. Whereas, helpful client activities were trusting, talking, being open and honest, remembering and applying techniques, expressing emotions, and developing a bond/connection. Unhelpful counsellor activities were widely varied among participants; while unhelpful client activities were missed sessions and lack of openness and honesty. The four change processes identified were feeling safe, growing in confidence, working together, and clearing minds. Findings of this study suggest that young people found a range of different techniques and practices, from different therapeutic modalities helpful in counselling, for school-related bullying. Furthermore, similar change processes led to different positive outcomes for different clients, or in some instances, the same positive outcome was achieved through different processes. These findings are consistent with a pluralistic perspective, as a range of helpful processes, aligned to different therapeutic modalities were found to be of value to young people who have been bullied, to bring about therapeutic change.
Date of Award12 Sept 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorMick Cooper (Supervisor) & Joel Vos (Supervisor)

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