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

Psychother Res. 2013;23(3):355-65. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2012.726750. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Counseling / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • School Health Services / standards
  • Schools / standards
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waiting Lists