Mick Cooper

Mick Cooper
University of Roehampton | RU · Department of Psychology

PHD

About

267
Publications
228,395
Reads
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4,011
Citations
Introduction
Currently working on the interface between psychotherapeutic and social/political change. Empirical research on client preferences, shared decision-making, goals, humanistic/existential therapies.
Additional affiliations
February 2014 - June 2015
University of Strathclyde
Position
  • Professor of Counselling Psychology
February 2014 - present
University of Roehampton
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • CREST is a hub of internationally-recognised research activity in the psychological therapies field, focusing on interventions and methods at the interface between psychological and social wellbeing.

Publications

Publications (267)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Slides on pluralistic therapy, covering the beginnings and basis of the approach, its relationship to integrative therapies, and the evidence for a pluralistic stance. The presentation then goes on to look at the need for, and methods of, facilitating communication about the process of therapy.
Method
Full-text available
The Goals Form is a brief outcome measure that can be used to assess, and track, the extent to which counselling and psychotherapy clients attain their personal goals for therapy. It is free to use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence. A video of using the Goals Form, and setting goals in a relational way,...
Research
Full-text available
Aim/Purpose: The aim of this paper is to provide an accessible and practical introduction to conducting Client Helpfulness Interview (CHI) studies. These are qualitative interview studies that examine what particular groups of clients find helpful and unhelpful in counselling and psychotherapy. Methodological issues: Methodological and conceptual i...
Article
Full-text available
Addressing and accommodating client preferences in psychotherapy have been consistently associated with improved treatment outcomes; however, few clinically useful and psychometrically acceptable measures are available for this purpose. The aim of this study was to develop a brief, multidimensional clinical tool to help clients articulate the thera...
Article
Idiographic patient‐reported outcome measures (I‐PROMs) are a growing set of individualized tools for use in routine outcome monitoring (ROM) in psychological therapies. This paper presents a position statement on their conceptualization, use, and analysis, based on contemporary evidence and clinical practice. Four problem‐based, and seven goal‐bas...
Article
Objective: The Relational Depth Frequency Scale (RDFS) is a 6-item measure to assess the impact of relational depth experiences on psychotherapeutic outcomes. To date, the RDFS has only been validated in online samples of clinical and non-clinical individuals. This study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the RDFS in clinical dyads of...
Article
Full-text available
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic, debilitating psychological condition. To date, there has been no published research exploring brief humanistic counselling as an intervention for OCD. This study presents a case study of an adolescent client with obsessive-compulsive difficulties (‘Sunil’) receiving school-based humanistic counselli...
Article
The present study aimed to test the reliability and validity of the Person Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy Scale–Young Person version (PCEPS-YP). This is a newly developed and adapted 9-item scale which aims to measure counsellor competences in, and adherence to, person-centred practice, when working with adolescents. Counselling practice wa...
Article
Full-text available
Parents and carers are likely to take on a significant responsibility for managing an adolescent's mental health and well‐being. Accordingly, their perceptions provide insight into the value of an intervention. This study explored parents' and carers' perceptions and expectations of school‐based humanistic counselling, as received by a socially div...
Chapter
A pluralistic approach to coaching and coaching psychology is proposed, based on Cooper and McLeod's (2011) pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. Since we live in increasing complexity, it can be assumed that there are many right ways to coaching. The pluralistic approach suggests that instead of leaving the coach responsible for choosing the...
Article
Full-text available
The adoption of a pluralistic perspective on research design, processes of data collection and analysis and dissemination of findings, has the potential to enable psychotherapy research to make a more effective contribution to building a just society. A review of the key features of the concept of pluralism is followed by a historical analysis of t...
Article
Full-text available
Pre‐pandemic research has suggested that video counselling is as effective as face‐to‐face practice. However, the mass migration of therapy to the online video domain as a result of the COVID‐19 pandemic makes it essential to interrogate the evidence base. This paper provides a critical commentary on how video therapy is defined/labelled, the curre...
Article
Full-text available
Within the UK, there has been a growth of services delivering online therapy to young people. This study identifies the factors that young people find helpful and unhelpful in synchronous text‐based therapy (STBT), and the processes by which these factors may be of value. Thirteen young people, aged between 14 and 18, were interviewed synchronously...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that bullying is one of the most common presenting issues for young people accessing counselling. In this study, we explored helpful aspects of counselling for young people who have experienced bullying. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participantsand analysed using thematic analysis. Participants identified five...
Article
School counselling services are a common response to mental health and wellbeing challenges, not least those caused by COVID-19 and lockdown. New research findings have shown us exactly when and how counselling can be most effective, Professor Mick Cooper explains.
Article
Full-text available
A conceptual framework rooted in existentialism is presented to unify psychological and sociopolitical perspectives. Human beings are directional, with well‐being the actualization of highest order directions. Distress emerges through external blocking of directions, or through dysergetic or ineffective internal configurations. Hence, social justic...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to investigate (a) what clients’ within-treatment activity preferences were; (b) whether match between preferences and psychotherapy approach predicted outcomes and alliance; (c) whether scores on preference dimensions, per se, predicted outcomes and alliance. Participants were 470 clients engaging in one of five approaches with tr...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to investigate (a) what clients’ within-treatment activity preferences were; (b) whether match between preferences and psychotherapy approach predicted outcomes and alliance; (c) whether scores on preference dimensions, per se, predicted outcomes and alliance. Participants were 470 clients engaging in one of five approaches with tr...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The i-THRIVE Programme is a needs-based model of care, based on the THRIVE Framework, that is being implemented across the UK with the aim of improving outcomes for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. This study aimed to investigate the impact that this programme has on accessibility and quality of care, as viewed...
Article
Full-text available
Background About one in seven adolescents have a mental health disorder in England, UK. School counselling is one of the most common means of trying to address such a problem. We aimed to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of school-based humanistic counselling (SBHC) for the treatment of psychological distress in young people in En...
Article
Full-text available
This study explored helpful and unhelpful processes in psychological therapy for women with a diagnosis of substance use disorder (SUD). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women, seven of whom were white; and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes emerged: What words can’t express – fin...
Article
The multivoicedness of the self has become an important theoretical concept that is influencing modern psychotherapy research, with consensus that individuals should be studied within their social contexts. However, there are few qualitative tools that can help to develop in-depth, “thick” understandings of this multivoicedness. The qualitative met...
Article
Full-text available
Mental health and general health care research has shown that practitioners can facilitate patient involvement in shared decision making (SDM) and that the approach can benefit patients who wish to take part in decisions around their care. Yet patient experiences of SDM within a psychotherapy context have been little researched. This study examined...
Article
The establishment of counselling and psychotherapy as “evidence‐based” interventions is contingent on the effective implementation of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in real‐world clinical settings. This paper identifies some of the pitfalls that led to the termination of a practical RCT in a community mental health setting. It reflects upon th...
Article
Full-text available
The use of systematic client feedback tools are known to enhance outcomes in adults psychotherapy clients, but their effects with children have yet to be adequately tested. Hence, we piloted a cluster randomised controlled trial of the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) with children aged 7–11 years old; comparing play-based coun...
Article
Objectives: Goal-oriented practices are central to many contemporary psychotherapies. The aim of this study was to explore clients' experiences of this work. Design: Mixed methods, with a main qualitative part and a smaller quantitative component. Participants were 22 clients in integrative psychotherapy (15 females, 6 males, 1 "other"). Semistr...
Chapter
Client preferences in psychotherapy reflect specific conditions and activities that clients desire in their treatment, with increasing evidence pointing to preference accommodation as facilitating psychotherapy outcomes. This updated meta-analysis establishes the magnitude of the effect of client preference accommodation in psychotherapy. Based on...
Article
Full-text available
What do patients prefer in their psychotherapy? Do laypersons and mental health professionals (as patients) want the same, or different, things? The authors systematically examined patients’ psychotherapy preferences and quantitatively compared two samples of laypersons (N = 228, 1305) with one sample of mental health professionals (N = 615) on the...
Article
Full-text available
Routine outcome monitoring can support client progress in psychotherapy and provide evidence on population‐level outcomes. However, measures have been almost exclusively nomothetic. Idiographic tools provide a complementary approach, combining individually set outcomes with standardized progress ratings. Evidence suggests that goal‐focused idiograp...
Article
Objective: The Relational Depth Frequency Scale (RDFS) was developed to measure the frequency of specific moments of profound contact and engagement in psychotherapy. Method: Following an initial process of item generation and rating, Three-Step Test Interviews were conducted with eight therapists and clients to further refine potential items. S...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To determine the demographic profile of clients accessing voluntary and community sector (VCS) counselling services for young people and young adults, and to undertake the first systematic evaluation of outcomes. Design Naturalistic, non‐experimental study design. Methods A total of 2,144 clients were recruited from nine services in En...
Chapter
Pluralistic coaching embraces the possibility that there are many right ways to coach and that we need to talk to our coachees about what they think would be most helpful to them. It does not sound like ‘rocket science’ at first. However, if we think about it more carefully a number of questions arise. How many orientations should I know? How do I...
Article
Full-text available
Within the major therapeutic paradigms, observational instruments have been developed to assess orientation-specific interventions or processes. However, to date, no such instrument exists to assess existential practices. Recent research indicates the key practices of existential therapists, and forms an empirical basis on which to develop an obser...
Article
Client preferences in psychotherapy reflect specific conditions and activities that clients desire in their treatment, with increasing evidence pointing to preference accommodation as facilitating psychotherapy outcomes. This updated meta‐analysis establishes the magnitude of the effect of client preference accommodation in psychotherapy. Based on...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter, ‘The psychology of goals: A practice-friendly review’, examines psychological evidence and theory on goals and goal processes, and draws out implications for clinical practice. Research indicates that psychological wellbeing is associated with the actualisation of goals: having important goals in one’s life, believing that they are at...
Article
Full-text available
Background: One in ten children in Britain have been identified as experiencing a diagnosable mental health disorder. School-based humanistic counselling (SBHC) may help young people identify, address, and overcome psychological distress. Data from four pilot trials suggest that SBHC may be clinically effective. However, a fully powered randomised...
Article
this articles looks at how to work with therapeutic goals in psychological therapies
Article
Background: Life events are recognised to link low socio-economic status (SES) with impaired mental health. Despite attention to patients’ historical environmental circumstances in psychotherapeutic practice, events that occur over the course of counselling and psychotherapy (‘intercurrent’ events) seem to have received little attention in research...
Book
Recent evidence suggests that working with goals in counselling and psychotherapy can support positive therapeutic change. Goals can empower clients and give them hope: helping them feel that they have the capacity to act towards achieving their desired futures. Goals can help focus, and direct, clients’ and therapists’ attention, building a better...
Chapter
This chapter explores goal-oriented practice across therapies: cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic psychotherapy, psychoanalytic child psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), humanistic and existential therapies, systemic family therapy, and online therapy. Each section gives an overview of the approach and sets out ways tha...
Article
Full-text available
What is meaningful in life? This is a question many individuals ask at least once in their lifetime. Many researchers have also asked this question, and a large body of literature seems to answer in theoretical and academic terms. But what is the meaning of meaning in clinical practice? That is, what is the role of meaning in psychotherapy, recover...
Article
Full-text available
Background: This study is a qualitative analysis of clients' experiences of a new avatar based counselling intervention, based on the 'ProReal' software (www.proreal.world). The intervention was piloted in eight secondary schools in the UK in 2016. Aims: Twenty-nine participants (53% of the full sample) were interviewed about their use of the softw...
Article
This study aimed to develop a self-report measure of pluralistic thought and practice. Following pilot development, a 23-item inventory was placed on an online survey site, and 474 participants satisfactorily completed the measure. Respondents were trainee or qualified therapists, predominantly female, based in the UK, and of a humanistic or integr...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to explore how therapists believe they may relationally disconnect from other people and their clients, with an overall objective of developing methods for enhancing relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. Participants were 168 trainee and practicing therapists, who listed their chronic strategies of disconnecti...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this analysis was to explore whether pre-treatment intervention preferences were related to outcomes for patients with persistent sub-threshold and mild depression who received one of two treatment types. Thirty-six patients took part in a two-arm, parallel group, pilot randomized controlled trial that compared short term (3 month and 6...
Article
Full-text available
Existential Psychotherapy is a recognized and widespread therapeutic paradigm, with almost 100 years of clinical intervention. Despite some evidence of its effectiveness, existential psychotherapists have been criticized for a lack of a coherent framework of practice. Existential authors have been reluctant to make explicit their therapeutic method...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of the study was to investigate the nature of metatherapeutic communication (MTC), defined as dialogue between therapists and clients on the nature of the therapeutic work and the means by which it can be of greatest help to clients. Twelve counselling psychologists, working pluralistically with 35 clients experiencing depression, descr...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter suggests that people (and social systems) can suffer excessively because their wants/desires are pulling them in opposite directions. This is dysergy (conflicting desires) as opposed to synergy (harmonious desires, yielding more than the sum of the individual wants). Two significant conclusions follow from this. One is that dysergetic...
Article
Aim The purpose of this study was to examine clients’ perspectives regarding the helpful aspects of pluralistic therapy for depression. Method Thirty‐nine clients received psychological treatment in a multi‐site study exploring alternative interventions to standardised ‘evidence‐based’ approaches. Eighteen of them consented to a face‐to‐face or te...
Presentation
Full-text available
What are goals, and how can an understanding of goals and goal-related processes enhance the work of psychotherapists and counsellors? The aim of this seminar presentation, and follow-up discussion, is to address these questions. The presentation will begin by defining goals both ‘life goals’ and ‘therapeutic goals’ and go on to review psychologica...
Chapter
Existential psychotherapy is one of the longest-established forms of psychological intervention, but the scope and nature of the intervention remains unclear. To deepen an understanding of the nature of existential psychotherapy , an international survey was conducted of existential practitioners, asking them to identify the authors and texts that...
Article
Full-text available
Effectiveness of school-based humanistic counselling for psychological distress in young people: Pilot randomised controlled trial with follow-up in an ethnically diverse sample Objectives. The aim of this study was to pilot a test of the effectiveness of school-based humanistic counselling (SBHC) in an ethnically diverse group of young people (age...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This lecture presents a comprehensive theory for conceptualising human wellbeing, distress and change; based around an understanding of people as purpose-oriented beings. The model starts from the teleological assumption that our goals and purposes are a core element of our being; and that an orientation towards such desires, the pursuit of them, a...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The aim of this study was to pilot a test of the effectiveness of school-based humanistic counselling (SBHC) in an ethnically diverse group of young people (aged 11-18 years old), with follow-up assessments at 6 and 9 months. Design: Pilot randomized controlled trial, using linear-mixed effect modelling and intention-to-treat analysi...
Article
The aim of this article is to address the question, “What kind of future society would we, in the humanistic psychology movement, want to see?” The article argues that a “good” society is one in which people can actualize their wants to a maximum extent, and where each person has an equal opportunity to do so. The article suggests that this maximiz...
Conference Paper
Relevance of the workshop to counselling and psychotherapy research: This workshop explores the practical implications of findings that psychotherapy works optimally when it is personalized (e.g. Norcross & Wampold, 2011; Horvarth et al., 2011). In particular, the workshop focuses on pluralistic therapy, which aims to achieve personalization throu...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In the UK and internationally, there have been increasing calls for interagency collaboration across mental health services for children and young people. However, it is not clear whether such practices do, indeed, have a positive impact and, if so, what factors facilitate and inhibit collaboration across agencies. Methods: Electroni...
Article
Background Recent research has indicated that school‐based humanistic counselling (SBHC) is effective for young people in reducing psychological distress and facilitating achievement of personal goals. However, the processes by which this form of counselling brings about change are not yet understood. Aim This study aims to clarify the dynamic pro...
Article
Background The outcomes of counselling in UK primary schools are still largely unknown, and no clear predictors of change have been identified. This study is the largest evaluation to date of change and predictors of change in this sector.Method The outcomes of Place2Be's play-based counselling intervention for 3222 distressed children, aged 4–12,...
Article
Background There is a growing body of data to show that participation in school-based counselling is associated with significant reductions in psychological distress. However, this cannot be taken as evidence that school-based counselling is effective, as improvements may have happened without the intervention.AimsThe purpose of this study was to d...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to provide an accessible and practical introduction to conducting Client Helpfulness Interview (CHI) studies. These are qualitative interview studies that examine what particular groups of clients find helpful and unhelpful in counselling and psychotherapy. Methodological and conceptual issues associated with CHI research a...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Many outcome measures for young people exist, but the choices for services are limited when seeking measures that (a) are free to use in both paper and electronic format, and (b) have evidence of good psychometric properties. Method: Data on the Young Person's Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (YP-CORE), completed by young peop...
Article
The paper presents an introduction of a newly developed, avatar-based virtual reality therapy, as an addition to the therapeutic programme, within a therapeutic community prison in the UK. The participants had six group sessions facilitated by a counsellor. The aim of the project was to investigate whether this approach would improve mental health...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
RATIONALE: Psychotherapeutic process research has consistently demonstrated a relationship between therapeutic outcomes and the extent to which therapists collaborate with the client in tailoring the therapy. One form of collaborative tailoring is therapist and client discussion of the client’s preferred therapeutic methods or activities for workin...