Tracing the journey: two School-based counsellors ‘coming out’ of the counselling room. An ethnographic enquiry within a UK inner-city secondary school

Pearce, Peter and Sewell, Rosaline (2019) Tracing the journey: two School-based counsellors ‘coming out’ of the counselling room. An ethnographic enquiry within a UK inner-city secondary school. DPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. [Thesis]

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Mental health issues for young people in the UK are relatively common, being experienced by upwards of 10% of people aged between 5 and 15 (NHS Digital, 2018). Evidence for the benefits of school-based counselling in UK schools is also steadily mounting, as is interest in and support for the idea. In spite of this, its provision within schools in England remains insecure and it has been subject to a recurring cycle of development and decline since its inception in the 1960s.

This dissertation comprises a personalised account of the researchers’ own shared journey as experienced counsellors who were new to an inner-city secondary school setting and were encountering difficulties working effectively in that new context. Our initial question was therefore: How could we make sense of the difficulties we were experiencing? As our research progressed, social and cultural processes in the school community were identified, and a further question emerged: How might any of the understanding gained be used as a bridge to better connection in this setting?

The research goes beyond the focus on one-one counselling that has been the emphasis of the majority of school-based counselling research and practice. It is believed that as a result the study may illuminate some of the cultural intersections and complexities inherent in the school-based counselling context that the researchers believe require greater attention if the offer of counselling within schools is to become a more secure provision. This intention led the two researchers to adopt a reflexive and ethnographic, insider research approach for the current study, which was undertaken in an inner-city setting in an area of significant deprivation with a very diverse student population. Data analysis began with early data collection, in line with a Grounded Theory approach (Charmaz, 2006 ; Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and our ongoing analysis shaped the continuing data collection. A new theory about adult-to -adolescent process termed ‘tenuous contact’ was constructed and a post-qualification conversion diploma was developed and delivered based on the research findings, which will equip counsellors to work in this sector.

The study will be of interest to professionals concerned with school-based counselling and, more widely, it is hoped that it will contribute to an understanding of social and contextual issues in offering mental health support within education.

Item Type: Thesis (DPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 26677
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 14:09
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:11

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