Counselling and Supporting Children and Young People: A Person-Centred Approach


Mark Prever

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  • Praise for the Book

    ‘Mark Prever writes with considerable passion. He is passionately committed to the person-centred approach and all that it has to offer the worlds of education and counselling. He is also passionately concerned with the well-being of children and young people and the alleviation of their suffering. His book is permeated by this dual commitment. It is scholarly without ever becoming arid; it is enlivened by numerous case studies which demonstrate the breadth and depth of his experience; it is encouraging for all those already engaged in work with young people and for many it will be a source of inspiration when the going gets rough and problems seem intractable.’

    Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of East Anglia, Norwich and Co-founder of The Norwich Centre

    ‘… both interesting and stimulating … it was enriching to see the person-centred approach in the context of working with children and young people. This book would be an excellent aid for both student counsellors and a very valuable reminder to experienced practitioners of the core principles and values of the approach. It illuminates for the reader the importance of the relationship between therapist and client within the person-centred approach.’

    Carmel Mullan-Hartley, person-centred counsellor, supervisor and trainer, Open Door Youth Counselling


    View Copyright Page


    To my daughter Miriam

    About the Author

    Mark Prever has spent over 30 years working in education as well as a substantial period in the counselling field as counsellor, trainer and supervisor, working in a person-centred way. For a period, he was seconded to Dudley Education Authority where he acted as a peripatetic counsellor, working in three secondary and a number of junior schools across the Borough. He has held a wide variety of pastoral roles in schools as well as managing a Student Support Centre for young people with mental health difficulties and social-emotional problems. He has been executive chair of a person-centred youth counselling agency in Birmingham as well as holding the role of Counselling Development Officer. He is a former chair of Counselling Children and Young People, a division of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Mark writes regularly and is the author of Mental Health in Schools: A Guide to Pastoral and Curriculum Provision, also published by Sage.


    I am thankful to Sage for encouraging me to write this book which has been in my thoughts, in one form or another, for many years. In particular, I would like to thank Susannah and Alice, my editors, who have guided me through the whole process with sound advice, ideas and support; all this offered with sensitivity and kindness.

    I am grateful to my partner Ruth who didn't complain when I disappeared on evenings and weekends to read, think and write.

    I am indebted to The Open Door Youth Counselling Service in Birmingham where I learned my trade. It was here that I first met its Director of Services, Carmel Mullan-Hartley, who trained and supervised me as a counsellor and has continued to support me over the years, both personally and professionally. Thanks are also due to the many colleagues I have met through Open Door over the past 15 years. I have worked with some very warm, caring and supportive people whom I believe have possessed many of the attitudes and qualities so important to the person-centred approach.

    Finally, thank you to all the young people I have worked with, in a variety of settings; young people who have trusted me with their innermost selves and whose influence on me has been so profound.

  • Appendix

    List of Feeling Words

    Abandoned abhorred able abnormal above average absent-minded absorbed abused abusive abysmal accepted accepting accountable accused aching acknowledged active adamant addicted admired adored adrift adult adventurous affectionate affirmed affluent afraid against aggravated aggrieved aggressive agitated agony agoraphobic alarmed alive alienated alone aloof amazed ambiguous ambitious ambivalent ambushed amorous amused analysed anchored anaesthetised anguish angry angst annihilated anonymous annoyed antagonistic anti-social anxious apart apathetic apologetic appalled applauded appreciative apprehensive approachable approved of argumentative aroused arrogant articulate artificial artistic ashamed asphyxiated assaulted assertive assured astonished at a loss at ease attacked attracted attractive authoritarian available avenged average avoided awake aware awe awesome awful awkward

    Babied babyish backward bad bad-tempered baffled balanced bamboozled banished bankrupt banned bare barred barren bashful battered battle-weary bawled-out bearable beaten beautiful belittled befriended begged behind belligerent belonging below beloved benevolent benign bent berated bereaved besieged betrayed better bewildered bewitched biased big bitchy bitter bizarre blamed blameless blaming bland blank bleak bleeding blessed blind blissful blocked bloody bloody-minded blooming blossoming blown-apart blown-around blue blurred boastful boffin bogged-down boiling boisterous bolstered bold bombarded bored boring bossed-around bossy bothered bought bouncy bound-up boxed-in brainwashed brainy brave breathless bright brilliant broken broken-hearted browbeaten brushed-off brutal brutalised bubbly bullied buoyant burdened buried burned-out bursting businesslike busting busy by-passed bystander

    Calmed-down capable captivated captive cared-about carefree careful careless caring carried-away cast-out cautious censored certain changed chained challenged chaotic charismatic charitable charmed charming cheap cheeky cheerful cheated cherished claustrophobic clueless clumsy chicken childish chilled choked-up clean cleansed clever clingy close closed-in clueless clumsy cocky coerced cold cold-hearted collected comatose combative comfortable committed common communicative compared-to compassionate compatible compelled competent competitive complacent complete complex compromised compulsive concerned condemned confident confined confused conned conquered conscientious conservative considerate consistent consoled conspired-against constrained contemplative controlled convinced cooperative coping copied cornered correct courageous courteous cowardly coy cosy crafty cramped cranky crap crazy criminal crippled critical cross crushed curious cursed cut-down cut-off cynical

    Damaged dared daring dammed dangerous daring dark daunted dazed dead dear debased deceitful deceived decent deceptive decimated dedicated defeated defective defenceless defensive defiant deflated deformed degraded dehumanised dejected delicate delighted delinquent delirious deluded demanding demeaned demolished demonized demoralized demoted dependent depended-upon depleted depreciated depressed deprived deserving deserted desired despairing desperate destitute destroyed detached deteriorated determined detested devastated devious devoted dim different difficult dirty disabled disaffected disappointed disapproving disbelieving discarded disciplined disconnected discounted discouraged discriminated against discriminating disgraced disgruntled disgusted disgusting disheartened dishonest disliked disloyal dismal dismayed disobedient disorganised disposable disregarded disrespected disruptive dissatisfied distant distorted distracted distressed distrusted distrustful disturbed divided divorced from docile dominant dominated doomed double-crossed doubted down drained dread dreadful dreamy driven dropped drowning drunk dubious dull dumb dumbfounded dumped-on dwarfed dynamic dysfunctional

    Eager easy easy-going eccentric ecstasy edgy educated effeminate efficient egotistic elevated electrified elegant eloquent embarrassed emotional emotionless empathic empowered empty elated elusive emancipated embittered enchanted enclosed encouraged encroached upon energetic energised elated engulfed enhanced enigmatic enlightened enraged enriched enslaved entangled entertained enthralled enthusiastic entombed entranced envied envious equal equipped established euphoric evasive evicted evil examined exasperated excellent excited excluded exhausted exhilarated exonerated experienced exploited explosive exposed extraordinary extravagant extreme extroverted exuberant

    Fabulous faint fair faithful fake fallible famous fanatical fantastic fascinated fashionable fatigued favoured fazed fear feared fearless fed-up feeble feisty feminine festive fettered fickle fidgety fierce fiery filthy fine finished fired firm first-class fit flat flattered flexible flippant flirtatious floored flustered focused foggy foolish forgiven forgotten forced forceful fortunate framed fraudulent freaked-out freaky free frenzied fresh friendless friendly frightened frustrated frustration fulfilled full fuming fun funny furious fussy

    Gagged galvanised gay generous gentle genuine ghastly giddy gifted giggly giving glad glamorous gleeful gloomy glorious glowing glum good good-looking gorgeous grateful great greedy grey grief grim grouchy gross grown-up grumpy guarded guilty guiltless gullible gutted

    Hammered hampered handicapped happy happy-go-lucky harassed hard hardworking harmless hasty hated hateful haunted headstrong healthy heartbroken heartened heartless helped helpful helpless heroic hesitant hideous high hollow homesick honest honoured hopeful hopeless hormonal horny horrendous horrible horrified horror hospitable hostile hot hot-tempered hounded huge humble humiliated humoured humorous hungry hunted hurried hurt hyped-up hyperactive hypocritical hysterical

    Idealistic idiotic idle idolised ignorant ignored ill ill-at-ease imaginative immature immoral immortal immune impartial impatient impelled imperfect impervious impetuous implacable impolite important imposed-upon impotent impressed imprisoned impulsive inattentive insecure in-a-stew in-control incapable incensed incoherent incompetent incomplete indebted indecent indecisive independent indifferent indignant indiscreet indoctrinated indolent indulgent ineffective inefficient infatuated infected inferior inflexible influential informed infuriated ingenious innovative insignificant insane insightful insincere insistent insolent inspired insulted intact intellectual intelligent intense interested interesting interfered-with interrogated in the dumps intimate intimidated intolerant in-touch intrepid introspective intruded-upon intuitive invalidated inventive invigorated invisible invited involved irate irrational irresistible irritated

    Jaded jealous jeopardised jinxed jittery jolly jolted joy jubilant judged judgemental jumbled-up jumpy just justified joyless joyous jubilant

    Keen kept kept-out kicked-around kind knocked-down knotted knowledgeable known

    Labelled laid-back late laughable laughed at lazy led astray leaned on lectured left out let down lethargic liberated lied to lifeless lifted light likable liked listened to listless loathing logical lousy love lovely loving low loyal luckless lucky lustful

    Macho mad made fun of magical magnificent malleable malicious malignant maligned manageable maniac manipulated manipulative marginalised marvellous masochistic materialistic maternal mature mean mechanical mediocre meditative melancholy mellow menacing merciful merry mesmerised messed-around messed-up methodical meticulous miffed mighty militant minimised mischievous miserable miserly misinformed misinterpreted misled missed missed out mistaken mistreated mistrustful misunderstood misused mocked molested monitored monopolised moody moralistic morbid mortified mothered motherly motivated mournful moved muddled mystified

    Naive nasty needed needy negative neglected nervous neutral neurotic nonchalant non-existent normal nostalgic nosy nothing noticed nourished nullified numb

    Obedient obeyed obliged obliterated obnoxious obscene observant observed obsessed obstinate obstructed odd off off-the-hook offended okay old omnipotent open opinionated opportunistic opposed oppositional oppressed optimistic organised ostracised ousted out-of-control out-of-place out-of-touch outdone outraged outrageous over-controlled over-protected overanxious overcome overjoyed overloaded overlooked oversensitive overwhelmed overworked overweight overzealous

    Pain pampered panicked paralysed paranoid passionate passive paternal pathetic patient patronised peaceful peculiar peeved penetrated pensive perfect peripheral perky perplexed persecuted persevering pessimistic persistent pestered persuaded persuasive petrified petty phlegmatic phony picked-on pissed-off pitiful placated placid playful pleading pleasure pleased pliable poised polite popular porous poor possessed possessive positive powerful powerless practical pragmatic preached-to precarious preoccupied pressed pressured pretty private privileged prized productive promiscuous protected protective proud provocative provoked psychopathic pulled apart pulled in punished pushy puzzled

    Qualified quarrelsome queasy queer questioned questioning quiescent quiet quirky quizzed

    Radiant radical rage rancid raped rapture rare rash rated rational rattled raunchy ravenous ravishing raw re-energised reactive ready real realistic reasonable reassured rebellious reborn rebuffed rebuked receptive reckless reclusive recognised reconciled re-enforced released reunited redeemed red-hot reduced reflective refreshed refuelled regimented regret rejected rejecting rejuvenated relaxed reliable relieved religious reluctant remorse repelled replaced replenished repressed reproached repugnant repulsive rescued resented resentful resigned resilient resistant resolute resourceful respected respectful responsible rested restful restless restrained restricted retaliatory retarded reticent reunited revealed revengeful revered reverent revived revolted rewarded rich ridiculed ridiculous right righteous rigid riled riveted robbed robot-like robust romantic rotten rough rowdy rude ruffled ruined run-down rushed ruthless

    Sabotaged sacrificed sad sadistic safe sane satisfied saucy saved scapegoated scared scarred scattered second-best secure sedate seduced seductive seething self-absorbed self-assured self-centred self-confident self-conscious self-destructive self-hatred self-pitying self-reliant self-sacrificing selfish selfless sensational sensible sensitive sentimental sensual sentenced separated serene serious servile set-up settled sexy skilful shaken shallow shamed shaken sharp shattered sheepish sheltered shocked shook-up short-changed shot-down shouted-at shunned shut-out shy sick silenced silly simple sincere singled-out sinking slaughtered slap-happy sluggish slutty small smarmy smart smothered snapped-at snobbish snubbed sceptical social soft-hearted solemn solid solitary sombre soothed sophisticated sore sorrow sorry sour sparkling special spirited spiteful squashed stalked startled starved stepped-on stereotyped sterile stewing stiff stifled stigmatised stimulated strained strangled strengthened stretched stressed strict strong stubborn stuck stuck-up studious stunned stunning stupid stylish subdued submissive subordinate successful suicidal suffocated sulky sullen sunny superior supported sure surly surprised suspicious sympathetic

    Tacky tactful talented talkative tame tarnished tearful teased tenacious tender tense tepid terrible terrific terror tested thankful thoughtful threatened thrilled thuggish timid tired together tormented torn tortured tough tragic tranquil transformed trapped treasured trembly tremendous tricked triumphant troubled trusted

    Ugly unaccepted unappreciated unbalanced unbearable unbelieving uncertain uncomfortable undecided understood uneasy unhealthy unguarded unpopular unreal upbeat urgent

    Vacant vague vain valid valued vengeful vexed vicious victimised victorious violated virulent vivid void vulnerable

    Wacky warlike warm warm-hearted warned wary wasted wavering weak wealthy weary weird well whole wicked wild wilful wise wishful witty wonderful worried worse worthy wounded wrong wronged

    XYZ xenophobic yellow yielding young youthful yucky zany zealous zest zombie-like


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