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Home > Latest report from the Teen Counselling service.

Keane, Martin (2014) Latest report from the Teen Counselling service. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 48, Winter 2013 , p. 18.

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The Teen Counselling service operated by Crosscare, a voluntary organisation, aims to provide a professional counselling service for teenagers and their families who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and functional difficulties.  

The service works in teams of two, usually a psychologist and a social worker, who initially assess the nature and severity of problems with the parents and teenagers who present. Subsequently, parents and teenagers are provided with individual counselling sessions and, when appropriate, combined sessions are scheduled; a consultant psychiatrist attends on a sessional basis. According to its latest annual report,1 for 2011, ‘one of the founding principles of the service has been prevention of more serious difficulties, particularly in the area of substance abuse…’ (p.35).
In 2011, 437 families attended the service, 281 new and 156 continuing from 2010. Of the 281 new teenage clients, 56% were aged under 16 years, 52% were female and 89% were attending second-level school. Nineteen per cent (n=52) reported using drugs, of whom 90% used hash, 10% used cocaine, 8% ecstasy and 6% solvents; 17% reported using pills/medicines. Twice as many males as females were using drugs, and over a fifth (22%) of all young people using drugs were aged under 16. Almost half (48%) of all new teenage clients reported drinking alcohol, of whom 20% were aged under 16; there were no notable gender differences in overall alcohol consumption. Twenty-four per cent (n=68) of new teenage clients smoked cigarettes, and the report notes that the percentage of smokers aged under 16 was double that in 2010; overall, there were slightly more girls smoking than boys.
Behavioural problems in the home, school or community were the main reasons for referral of the majority (59%) of new teenage clients; 37% were referred because of family problems such as conflict or parental separation, and 36% for emotional problems such as anxiety. Relationship and communication problems were noted in 83% of families of new teenage clients. The percentage of new teenage clients reporting self-harm doubled from 11% in 2010 to 22% in 2011, and 21% of new clients reported suicidal ideation.
The main objective of the service is to support the normal systems that provide teenagers with stability, attachment and positive development, i.e. the home, the family and the school. Teenagers are invited to evaluate the extent of their main problems as they experience them at home, in school, with friends and with self, before and after counselling. In 2011, 25% (n=69) of teenage clients completed this evaluation. Improvement was reported in all four domains: 89% reported improvement in the home, 74% in school, 54% among friends and 88% with self. Thirty-two per cent (n=88) of parents completed the evaluation process; 90% reported a reduction in the severity of their problems and 93% reported improvement in their ability to cope with their problems. Improvements were also reported by counsellors in relation to the main problems families presented with and their underlying problems; counsellors noted improvements in some teenagers and in some of the families, who appeared to function better.
1.     Crosscare Teen Counselling (2012) Crosscare teen counselling annual report 2011. Dublin: Crosscare Teen Counselling.
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Psychosocial treatment method
Issue Title
Issue 48, Winter 2013
January 2014
Page Range
p. 18
Health Research Board
Issue 48, Winter 2013
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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