Document Type



school counseling, middle school, meaning, adolescence

Subject Area

Counselor Education, School Counseling


Adolescence is a crucial life stage involving aspects of identity development and decision-making that have potential life-long consequences. A sense of meaning is related to many beneficial factors during adolescence, including psychological health, academic engagement, and overall well-being. This qualitative interview study was designed to investigate middle school counselors’ perspectives and practices regarding exploring meaning with their early adolescent students. Analysis of ten individual interviews and a focus group revealed that the school counselor participants did engage in work with middle school students around meaning-making. They primarily helped students to find meaning through identity exploration, specifically focusing on navigating challenging life circumstances, reflecting on behavior, and making meaningful connections. Practical implications for both school counselors and counselor educators are detailed.