Psychological interventions for Children and Young People



It has been estimated that over 200,000 children and young people attend humanistically-oriented counselling in the UK every year. This is in primary schools, secondary schools, the community and voluntary sector, and online. Members of CREST have been leading the evaluation of this work since 2003: focusing on counselling in the educational sector and in the development of measures and feedback-systems that can facilitate this practice. Through their research and evaluation, CREST members have also had a significant impact on UK policy and practice regarding mental health interventions for children and young people. Alongside evaluating the effectiveness of one-to-one therapeutic interventions, CREST members are interested in new developments in this field, such as emotional literacy and resilience. They are also interested in the processes by which psychological change can come about through counselling, such that the effectiveness of interventions can be enhanced.
Current projects

Evaluation of Voluntary- and Community-based Counselling Services for Young People (With Youth Access and BACP)

Counselling MindEd: freely available elearning resources for counsellors working with children and young people



  • Cooper, M., McGinnis, S., & Carrick, L. (2014). School-based humanistic counselling for psychological distress in young people: A practice research network to address the attrition problem. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. doi 10.1080/14733145.2014.929415
  • Pybis, J., Cooper, M., Cromarty, K., Hill, A., Levensley, R., Murdoch, J., & Turner, N. (2014). Small scale randomised controlled trial of school-based counselling for psychological distress in young people: Outcomes and methodological reflections. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.
  • Cooper, M. (2013). School-based counselling in UK secondary schools: A review and critical evaluation. Lutterworth: BACP/Counselling MindEd. [Downloadable report]
  • Cooper, M., Pybis, J., Hill, A., Jones, S., & Cromarty, K. (2013). Therapeutic outcomes in the Welsh Government's school-based counselling strategy: An evaluation. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 13(2), 86-97.
  • Cooper, M., Stewart, D., Sparks, J. A., & Bunting, L. (2013). School-based counseling using systematic feedback : a cohort study evaluating outcomes and predictors of cha, nge. Psychotherapy Research, 23(4), 474-488.
  • Hill, A., Roth, A., & Cooper, M. (2013). The competences required to deliver effective humanistic counselling for young people. Lutterworth: BACP.
  • Jackson, C., Pybis, J., Cooper, M., Hill, A., Cromarty, K., & Rogers, J. (2013). Users of secondary school-based counselling services and specialist CAMHS in Wales: A comparison study. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 1-11. doi: 10.1080/14733145.2013.838596
  • McArthur, K., Cooper, M., & Berdondini, L. (2013). School-based humanistic counseling for psychological distress in young people: Pilot randomized controlled trial. Psychotherapy Research, 23(3), 355-365.
  • Daniunaite, A., Ahmad Ali, Z., & Cooper, M. (2012). Psychological change in distressed young people who do not receive counselling: does improvement happen anyway? British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 40(5), 515-525.
  • Killips, C., Cooper, M., Freire, E., & McGinnis, S. (2012). Motivation as a predictor of outcomes in school-based humanistic counselling. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12(2), 93-99.
  • Lynass, R., Pykhtina, O., & Cooper, M. (2012). A thematic analysis of young people’s experience of counselling in five secondary schools across the UK. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 12(1), 53-62.
  • Pybis, J., Hill, A., Cooper, M., & Cromarty, K. (2012). A comparative analysis of the attitudes of key stakeholder groups to the Welsh Government's school-based counselling strategy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 40(5), 485-498.
  • Rupani, P., Haughey, N., & Cooper, M. (2012). The impact of school-based counselling on young people's capacity to study and learn. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 40(5), 499-514.
  • Hill, A., Cooper, M., Pybis, J., Cromarty, K., Pattison, S., & Spong, S. (2011). Evaluation of the Welsh School-based Counselling Strategy. Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.
  • Cooper, M., Rowland, N., McArthur, K., Pattison, S., Cromarty, K., & Richards, K. (2010). Randomised controlled trial of school-based humanistic counselling for emotional distress in young people: Feasibility study and preliminary indications of efficacy. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 4(1), 1-12.
  • Cooper, M. (2009). Counselling in UK secondary schools: A comprehensive review of audit and evaluation studies Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 9(3), 137-150.
  • Twigg, E., Barkham, M., Bewick, B. M., Mulhern, B., Connell, J., & Cooper, M. (2009). The Young Person’s CORE: Development of a brief outcome measure for young people. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 9(3), 160-168.

Recent projects

2012 Department of Health, Counselling MindEd e-learning programme, £753,980.

2012 Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS, School counselling for children with social, emotional and behavioural needs (COSEE-II), £30k.

2012 Relate, Evaluation of Relate’s online counselling service for young people (RELON study), £4.3k.

2012 British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Co-lead, Development of competences for counselling children and young people, £6k.

2010 National Assembly for Wales, Lead investigator, Evaluation of school-based counselling in Wales, £85k.

2007 National Assembly for Wales, Co-investigator, Study of counselling services available to children and young people in Wales, £41k.


2014 (May) School-based humanistic counselling: Evaluation, evolution and actualisation, Mary Kilborn Lecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. [Downloadable pdf]

2014 (Apr) Using systematic feedback in counselling with children and young people, European Association of Counselling Annual Conference, Valetta, Malta. [Downloadable pdf]

2013 (Sep) The effectiveness of school-based counselling with young people, Joint Russian Association for Psychological Counselling and the European Counselling Association, St. Petersburg, Russia. [Downloadable pdf]

2014 (July) Being Counselling MindEd: Developments in evidence, training, and policy in school-based humanistic counselling, 11th World Conference on Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling, Buenos Aries, Argentina. [Downloadable pdf]

Additional resources

Counselling MindEd Scoping reports: the latest evidence on counselling in secondary schools, primary schools, the voluntary and community sector, online, internationally, and helpful factors in the work [http://counsellingminded.com/scoping-reports/]

BACP Children and Young People’s Practice Research Network [http://www.bacp.co.uk/schools/]

Competences for humanistic counselling with young people [http://www.bacp.co.uk/research/competences/cyp_competences.php]

Potential research projects

Case studies of change processes in humanistic counselling for children and young people

Children and young people’s experiences of counselling (for particular groups of children, e.g., children with asperger’s)

Development and testing of measures for evaluating outcomes and processes in counselling with children and young people: e.g., YP-CORE, Goal-based outcome tool

Effectiveness of the Counselling MindEd resources for counselling work with children and young people

Pilot randomised trial of humanistic counselling interventions for children and young people (for particular groups, e.g., children with behavioural problems)

Evaluation and development of tools for personalising therapy with children and young people (e.g., young people’s therapy personalisation form)