In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Counseling in Schools

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Definitions and Concepts
  • Key Influences on Counseling Practice with Children and Young People
  • The Influence of Counseling Theory on Thinking and Practice in Schools
  • Theoretical Approaches to Counseling with Children and Young People in Schools
  • Research on the Effectiveness of Counseling with Children and Young People
  • Research on Counseling in Schools
  • Journals

Education Counseling in Schools
Carol Holliday, Colleen McLaughlin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 September 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 September 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0168


This bibliography addresses counseling in schools involving young people up to age eighteen and excluding higher education. We acknowledge that the transition between school and higher education can be an issue, but this is not addressed in this bibliography. Counseling in schools has been occurring formally in many countries and has been present in different forms and with different time scales. In the United States, school counseling began at the beginning of the 20th century with a focus on vocational guidance, and in the United Kingdom it began in the 1960s with a very person-centered emphasis. There are different emphases and models in different countries. Counseling in schools parallels the development of counseling in general and owes much to the original thinkers and practitioners of counseling, such as Carl Rogers, but it has developed particular ways of working with children and young people and current approaches owe much to the theoreticians and practitioners who developed working through play and the arts, such as Virginia Axline. There are different theoretical stances, as in other forms of psychotherapy. Counseling is similar to psychotherapy, and there have been attempts to distinguish it from psychotherapy by emphasizing that psychotherapy is concerned with “maladaptive responses and patterns associated with psychological disorders” (see the Oxford Bibliographies article Psychotherapy for more information), while counseling is concerned with problem solving and helping clients to make positive changes to their lives. Many debate this distinction or whether there is one. The section Definitions and Concepts explores this further. Counseling as a formal process can be found in every continent of the world, and the Western models have been highly influential, although there are moves to rediscover and reclaim more indigenous forms of counseling. Counseling activities include a wide range of helping forms and have different emphases within different contexts. They include vocational counseling and guidance; psychological assessment and testing; psychotherapeutic interventions; problem solving; a curriculum element for personal social and emotional learning, or a guidance curriculum; working or liaising with parents and caretakers, and with other professionals and teachers—all focusing on the personal issues of young people. The role titles of those who work in schools vary, too, from counselor to guidance officer, guidance counselor, and psychotherapist. There has been a recent upsurge in empirical research into the nature of the approaches, the effectiveness of various interventions and approaches, the nature of the client group, and the outcomes of counseling in schools.

General Overviews

Counseling in schools occurs in a very particular setting that is not primarily a health context. The issues can be complex, and different challenges and issues are raised, but schools cannot be treated as a clinical setting. The setting also has certain advantages for young people. These texts give an overview of the constituent elements and different conceptions of school counseling, which vary from those that take and apply a clinical model, such as Bor, et al. 2002, to those who see it as an educative or systemic activity, such as Dollarhide and Saginak 2012 and Gysbers 2001. Baginsky 2004 gives a historical account of counseling in schools over the last forty years, and Cooper 2013 and McLaughlin and Holliday 2014 build on this. Yuen 2008 gives an overview of matters in Asia. More recent texts (e.g., Cooper 2013 and McLaughlin and Holliday 2014) draw on research evidence more than the earlier texts. They each give overviews of what is involved.

  • Baginsky, William. 2004. School counselling in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: A review. London: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

    A review of the ideas, themes, experiences, and issues that practitioners and researchers have written about counseling in schools in the United Kingdom. A useful overview of the history, training for, and professional issues around counseling in schools.

  • Bor, Robert, Jo Ebner-Landy, and Sheila Gill. 2002. Counselling in school. London: SAGE.

    This book is written from a systemic and solution-focused perspective, influenced by a medical model, and it makes the case for counseling services, as well as examining the problems young people may have, the legal issues, and the challenges and work of the role of schools counselor.

  • Cooper, Mick. 2013. School-based counselling in UK secondary schools: A review and critical evaluation. Glasgow: Univ. of Strathclyde.

    This report is a comprehensive overview of what is known in the United Kingdom about the delivery and management of school-based counseling services. It is also a critical review of the strengths, challenges, and areas for development.

  • Dollarhide, Colette T., and Kelli A. Saginak. 2012. Comprehensive school counseling programs: K-12 delivery systems in action. 2d ed. Boston: Pearson.

    This text is in accordance with the US professional framework and standards for school counseling, and it shows the US programmatic model, focusing particularly on the management and delivery of such programs.

  • Gysbers, Norman C. 2001. School guidance and counseling in the 21st century: Remember the past into the future. Professional School Counseling 5.2: 95–106.

    A useful overview of counseling in schools in the United States and its history. The author sets out the challenges to comprehensive guidance and counseling programs, and to show how school counselors are working with students.

  • McLaughlin, Colleen, and Carol Holliday. 2014. Therapy with children and young people: Integrative counselling in schools and other settings. London: SAGE.

    An overview of the theoretical, practice, and professional aspects of an ecosystemic integrative approach to working in school settings with younger and older school students. The practitioners use a relational approach and work with and through the arts and play.

  • Yuen, Mantak. 2008. School counseling: Current international perspectives. In Special issue: International perspectives on school counseling. Edited by Mantak Yuen. Asian Journal of Counselling 15.2: 103–116.

    This special edition and introductory article give an overview of school counseling in Hong Kong and China, with some reference to Australia and the United Kingdom. The stance is influenced by Norman Gysbers from the United States, but the special edition also contains references to Korea and Japan.

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