I would not use a problem checklist routinely in counselling but it has its uses. It comes into its own when a student is in distress but is not sure what the matter is or, as is often the case, does not have the words or the courage to express the problem.
A word of warning. A problem checklist is exactly that, a problem checklist. It is a list of problems. It cannot and should not have a "score". One person might have 20 of these problems and be living a well-balanced life while another individual might have only one of the listed problems and be in great distress. There are, of course, research instruments that produce scores, profiles and even standardised results. They are for research purposes and, as such, are not intended to be part of a counselling process. Of course, such a research instrument could sometimes be used as a simple checklist.
Although scoring is not relevant in a problem checklist, some categorisation of the problems ticked by an individual could be helpful. For example, if a person had ticked ten family related problems and only a small number in other categories, we might assume that family is the major issue. This can only be an assumption and would need to be checked out. Any one of the other problems could be the most critical one in the eyes of the client.
The attached Problem Checklist has over 200 items. These cover quite a range of issues but, undoubtedly, new problems can and should be added from time to time. When used with an individual it is important to respect privacy. Offer the person a quiet spot to read through the list. You might say, "have a look through this list and see if there is anything you want to talk about". Your client might not feel comfortable marking items on the list.
A problem checklist can also be useful in a group context. Issue a copy to each student in a class. They don't need to write on the paper and the lists can be collected afterwards for use with other groups. A big advantage of this exercise is that the young people realise that many of the problems they thought were unique to them have in fact been recognised in this list. It helps reduce the sense of isolation. This can also help a young person bolster up the courage to go and talk to someone about a problem.