Counsellor Supervisory Needs in the Secondary SchoolContext

Imogen Harries

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Aim/Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate how the secondary school as a working environment for experienced school-based counsellors in the South West of England impacted on what they required from their supervision.

    Design/Methodology: Seven secondary school counsellors participated in semi-structured interviews. Participants were recruited by contacting five counselling agencies and one counselling network. Criteria for participation were that counsellors should have had at least 1 year experience of working as a counsellor in a secondary school and have been qualified for a year. Participants had 1 to 12 years of experience in secondary school counselling (m = 4.7), and 1 to 13 years post qualifying experience of counselling (m = 7). They were aged from 32 to 53 years (m = 44). Of the seven participants, three were male and four were female. All were white British. Methods of analysing interview transcripts were heavily influenced by Grounded Theory.

    Results/Findings: From the analysis, counsellors identified four main requirements from their supervisors: a need to be external to the school, a knowledge and understanding of risk and child protection legislation, an understanding of the working context of the counsellor and how that impacts on their work, and a knowledge of how to work therapeutically with this age group.

    Research Limitations: A small sample size was used, and from only one area of the UK. As a lone -researcher, though reflexivity was acknowledged, bias cannot be eliminated since the researcher had previously worked in secondary schools and had supervised secondary school counsellors.

    Conclusions/Implications: The findings identify requirements that counsellors have from their supervisors which relate to the impact of working within the environment of the secondary school. This has implications for the training of supervisors who intend to work with school counsellors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventBACP Research Conference - Brighton
    Duration: 20 May 201621 May 2016


    ConferenceBACP Research Conference


    • secondary school
    • Counselling
    • environment
    • supervision
    • grounded theory


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