Dissatisfied dropout from school-based humanistic counselling: A theory-building case series

This research paper from Emily Pattison and Mick Cooper has been published by Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. The abstract says:


Dissatisfied dropout costs services financially and impacts client well-being. Research is limited on reasons for dissatisfied dropout in adolescents. Preliminary research suggests it may be due to feeling uncomfortable with silences, not knowing what to talk about, or unresolved ruptures. This study aimed to understand and refine the theory about the reasons for adolescent dissatisfied dropout from school-based humanistic counselling (SBHC).


A theory-building series of case studies was conducted with three dissatisfied dropout adolescent cases who received SBHC during a randomised controlled trial. Gaps in the theory were established by exploring the themes in one case. Testing and developing the theory with additional cases involved comparing themes and theory statements to case data. The final theory integrated data across the three cases.


Therapeutic relationship difficulties and client factors were the principal, overlapping reasons for dissatisfied dropout. Relationship difficulties included a poor therapeutic alliance, the counsellor persisting with their own agenda, repetitive client/counsellor interactions with silences, the client not feeling able to trust the counsellor with a risk issue and a lack of knowledge about humanistic counselling. Client factors included the client’s hesitancy and ambivalence to talk about their feelings in the counselling.


The results fitted with, but elaborated on and extended, the theory that a poor alliance, silences and misconceptions about counselling may lead to dissatisfied dropout. Emerging findings suggest the client’s negative perception about disclosing their feelings and a lack of metacommunication about any difficulties in the therapeutic relationship may lead to dissatisfied dropout from SBHC.”

You can read the full paper from here.

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