Motivation as a predictor of outcomes in school-based humanistic counselling

Carin Killips, Mick Cooper, Elizabeth S Freire, Susan McGinnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recent years have seen a growth in the provision of counselling within UK secondary schools, and research indicates that it is associated with significant reductions in psychological distress. However, little is known about the moderators and mediators of positive therapeutic benefit. In the field of adult mental health, motivation has been found to be one of the strongest predictors of therapeutic outcomes, and it was hypothesised that this may also be a predictor of outcomes for young people in school-based counselling services. Aims: To assess the relationship between young people’s
motivation for counselling and its effectiveness within a secondary school setting. Sample: Eighty-one young people (1217 years old) who attended school-based humanistic counselling services in Scotland. Method: Clients completed a measure of motivation for counselling at the commencement of their therapeutic work and a measure of psychological wellbeing at the commencement and termination of counselling. Results: Motivation for counselling was not found to be significantly related to outcomes. Discussion: The results indicate that the association between motivation and outcomes may be weaker in young people as compared with adults. However, a number of design factors may also account for the non-significant findings: insufficient participants, marginal reliability of the motivation measure and social desirability effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • school counselling
  • adolescent psychotherapy
  • motivation
  • client-centred psychotherapy
  • treatment outcomes


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