Notes on presentation

Charts depicting a single survey item

BLUE charts: respondents with M.E. who have received counselling.
GREEN charts: respondents with M.E. who would like to receive counselling.
RED charts: respondents with MS who received counselling.

The number in brackets after the question number at the bottom of each chart is the percentage of respondents in the group who submitted a value for the question. This is an important indicator in some sections of the survey for showing how many respondents worked with different items in their counselling. The bars in the graph and the bottom numbers in the grid represent the percentage of the total number of respondents for each survey who ticked the corresponding value for the item. The rating value (1 to 7) is in the top row of the grid. The sum of percentage values may fluctuate due to standard rounding in calculations. Note the different scales on the left of each chart - for those who had counselling the scale goes up to 50%, for those that want counselling the scale goes up to 80%. Using a lower scale where possible makes reading the graphs easier.

Comparative charts

Other graphs compare two or more different items within a respondent group for analysis of trends, e.g.:

In this type of chart the scale on the left is the rating scale 1 to 7. They key at the bottom shows the source criteria from the spreadsheet and the criteria name. In the above chart the criteria are examined for correlation between the composite rating 'Counsellor' and the composite rating 'Efficacy2'. The numbers beside the key correspond to the spreadsheet rows containing the data. The scale at the bottom of the graph is the number of respondents represented in the graph. In this type of chart 2 ratings can be read for each respondent. e.g., look at the sharp peak above 40, this respondent's efficacy2 rating is 6 and their counsellor rating is 4.

Composite Criteria

Some items in the survey are combined and averaged to produce composite criteria which are useful for examining trends. This is useful where respondents have rated some items that are used as indicators of efficacy etc., but left others blank. Blanks (n/a's) are not included in calculating composite criteria as they are not a value.


27/ My self-esteem increased
43/ Counselling helped
44/My emotional health improve

27/ 'My self-esteem increased.' The self-esteem of chronically ill people can be diminished (Donoghue and Siegel 2000, p.31; Lubkin and Larsen 2002, p.73) so for this research increased self-esteem is a useful measure of counselling efficacy.

43/ 'Counselling helped'. This allows an overall impression of how helpful the respondent found the counselling experience to be. This allows the respondent to take into account indirect factors such as doing something for oneself or liking the counsellor etc., if this is their experience. Clarkson (2002, p.47) remarks:

There is accumulating evidence (Lambert 1976; Bergin and Lambert 1978) that extra-analytical factors may be as, if not more, important as that which actually transpires during the therapeutic hourů

44/ 'My emotional health improved.' This is included as a measure of a fundamental purpose of counselling in addressing the client's emotional needs. The BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2003) includes:
The fundamental values of counselling and psychotherapy include a commitment to: ... Alleviating personal distress and suffering

M.E. / MS issues

9/ Pain and Fatigue caused by M.E. / MS
10/ Thoughts about self-harm or suicide
11/ Fears, coping, the future
12/ Relationships
13/ Adapting to life with M.E. / MS
14/ Family Background
15/ Anger and grief at how M.E. / MS affected your life
16/ Feeling hurt by people's misunderstanding about M.E. / MS

These items affect some people with M.E. and are frequently described in literature.

Counsellor: (17:22,24)

17/ My counsellor cared about my suffering
18/ My counsellor accepted my illness
19/ My counsellor understood my problems
20/ My counsellor did not judge me
21/ My counsellor was honest with me
22/ My counsellor was patient with me
24/ I trust my counsellor

These qualities of the counsellor as perceived and rated by respondents provide insights into how clients experienced the relationship and mostly correlate to counsellor qualities that are widely researched and written about in counselling text books. These items also correlate to some of the 'Personal Moral Qualities' described in the BACP (2003) ethical framework. Item 24/ 'I trust my counsellor', is slightly different from the others in that it could be described as requiring ownership as well as attribution. The BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2003) states, 'The practice of counselling and psychotherapy depends on gaining and honoring the trust of clients.'

Client Learning

I learned more about myself
26/ I worked through painful issues
28/ I learned how my childhood can affect me now
29/ I learned to explore my beliefs
30/ I learned to explore my feelings
One or more of these items is likely to form an aspect of the work and client learning in many theoretical orientations of counselling.


Respondent comments are in BLUE TEXT like this sentence and include comments from people with M.E. who do not want counselling

References from publications are in GREEN TEXT like this sentence

Some questions from the surveys included in the text contain words in brackets which indicate the different wording in the questionnaires for people with M.E. who want counselling, e.g.:

My Counsellor did not (would not) judge me.

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