During the developmental stage of adolescence young people face many stressful challenges (Dacey & Kenny, 1997). Some adolescents manage these challenges adaptively but others do not and are therefore at the risk of adopting maladaptive responses to stress (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2002; Patton & Noller, 1990). Because adolescents are generally reluctant to talk in the first instance to parents, or other adults including adult counsellors, programs have been established to train adolescents in peer counselling. The present study examined the conversational skills that young people prefer to use when helping their peers and investigated their response to the use of traditional counselling skills with regard to ease of use and helpfulness. The results suggest that adolescents find some commonly used counselling skills difficult to use and unhelpful. Additionally the study suggests that young people found that some normal adolescent conversational behaviours which have been discouraged in adolescent peer counsellor training programs were helpful. The findings of this study have important implications with regard to training adolescents.
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