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Adding value to education through improved mental health: A review of the research evidence on the effectiveness of counselling for children and young people

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sue Pattison



This paper is set against the backdrop of an increasing number of strategies and policies developed by the Department for Education and Skills in the U. K. regarding the promotion of positive mental health in schools and the recognition of the value of improving mental health in relation to children's learning, achievement, attendance and behaviour. The aim of the paper is to present the results from a systematic review of the research evidence on counselling children and young people and discuss these results in relation to the educational context and the added value to be gained in addressing the mental health needs of children and young people. A systematic review methodology is used to assess the outcome research literature. The review is structured around a range of counselling issues and four groups of counselling approaches: cognitive- behavioural, person- centred, psychodynamic and creative therapies. Results indicate that all four approaches to counselling are effective for children and young people across the full range of counselling issues. However, more high quality published research evidence was located for the effectiveness of cognitive- behavioural counselling than other approaches, identifying significant gaps in the evidence bases for these approaches. Other gaps in the evidence include research into counselling for school related issues and self- harm.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pattison S, Harris B

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Australian Educational Researcher

Year: 2006

Volume: 33

Issue: 2

Pages: 97-121

ISSN (print): 0311-6999

ISSN (electronic):