• The School-Based Counselling Primer

The School-Based Counselling Primer

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ISBN 9781906254780 (2016)
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For students beginning to think about their future in the workplace, a school-based counselling post is likely to be a popular consideration. Policy agendas and funding streams indicate an increased commitment to the mental health of our young people, and the school setting is an obvious place to meet those needs. This Counselling Primer is the first introductory text on school-based counselling. Written by Dr Katie McArthur, and with a foreword by Mick Cooper, The School-Based Counselling Primer presents the findings of current research in the UK with implications for school-based counselling practice.

Every major political party has declared its belief in the importance of school-based counselling to the wellbeing of children and young people, both in the here and now and in the future, in supporting their continuing mental wellbeing and resilience through adulthood, parenthood and into old age. In this unique book, based on her own experience as a school counsellor and her extensive research with children and young people, Kate McArthur explains how school-based counselling works, why it works, what it can offer the individual child, their family, their school and the wider community, and the difference it can make – from the perspectives of the children and young people who have benefitted from it themselves.

In Wales and Northern Ireland all secondary schools are required to provide an independent counselling service. Having read this book, you have to wonder why this isn’t the case in England and Scotland too. In the words of Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology at Roehampton University and a key player in making the case for counselling to be available in every secondary school (and whose foreword introduces the book): ‘My hope is that we are moving towards a world in which children and young people can feel less ashamed and hidden in their mental health struggles.  The monsters may never be entirely overcome, but at least children and young people do not need to be alone with them.’

This is a book for student and experienced counsellors alike; you will be inspired by its contents. But it is also a book for school heads and governors, for those with the power to make school counselling a reality for every child and young person in the UK’s education system.

Foreword by Mick Cooper

1. School-based counselling in the UK

2. School-based counselling in practice

3. Child protection, confidentiality and children’s rights

4. Diversity, equality and social justice

5. A school-based counselling session

6. Change processes in school-based counselling

7. Goals and outcomes in school-based counselling

8. Evidencing the effectiveness of school-based counselling

Further resources




With school-based counselling growing in the UK this is an important and timely text. It is brief, informed and full of useful content. A must for people working (or thinking about working) in this area. Terry Hanley, Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology and Programme Director of the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, University of Manchester.

…a succinct, practical and accessible guide to school-based counselling in the UK.  Perhaps its greatest strength is that it is grounded in the latest research evidence on school-based counselling: who it helps, how it can help, and the immediate and wider benefits it can bring to young people and their families.  This is not surprising; Katie has been one of the key researchers developing this evidence base.  Indeed, her research has played a crucial role in the development of policy and practice in school-based counselling in the UK …Through works such as this primer, we are, I hope, moving towards a world in which children and young people can feel less ashamed and hidden in their mental health struggles.  The monsters may never be entirely vanquished, but at least children and young people do not need to face them alone. Mick Cooper, from his Foreword to The Schools-Based Counselling Primer

Katie McArthur

Katie McArthur is a humanistic counsellor, supervisor, researcher and writer working with young people and adults in Glasgow. She has been an advocate of school-based humanistic counselling for several years, and works to promote research and evaluation among counsellors, including working with BACP to set up their Children and Young People Practice Research Network. Her PhD on school-based humanistic counselling has contributed to a growing evidence base which is beginning to impact on UK policy.
Katie trained in person-centred counselling at Strathclyde University and has now been practising for about 9 years. She has also contributed to counselling training and presented research findings at national and international conferences. She is currently coordinating the Glasgow Intergenerational Mentoring Network, a school and community-based research and development project aimed at understanding and highlighting social disadvantage in education.

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Katie McArthur