Publication in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling

BRITISH JOURNAL OF GUIDANCE & COUNSELLING
https://doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2018.1506567
Published by Routledge

Avatar-based counselling for psychological distress in secondary school pupils: pilot evaluation

Mick Cooper, Biljana van Rijn and Evi Chryssafidou

Abstract:
This study is a pilot evaluation of a new avatar-based therapeutic tool,
ProReal, with psychologically distressed young people within a school
setting. In total, 54 young people, aged 12–18 years old, participated in
face-to-face avatar-based counselling. Young people used the software to
represent themselves and others, their problems and emotions. The
primary outcome measure was the Young Person’s CORE (YP-CORE). The
avatar-based counselling intervention was feasible to implement and
acceptable to clients, with 90% rating the help that they received as
good, and less than 20% dropout. The intervention was associated with
small to medium reductions in psychological distress, psychological
difficulties and conduct problems. These improvements, however, were
significant for male clients only. Outcomes were greater for counsellors
who spent more time in training and using the ProReal software.

Keywords:
Computer-assisted therapy;
avatar-based therapy;
adolescents; treatment
outcome