44% of dropouts are satisfied. Use the SST to increase it to be happy too premise

44% of dropouts are satisfied. Use the SST to increase it to be happy too premise

Talmon writes “The most evident and current problem is that too often when the intervention is limited to a single meeting one is led to think – with a certain superficiality – of a” drop-out “, a” premature conclusion ” , a “therapeutic failure”, all negative definitions that suggest a failure of the intervention. The Single Session indicates how best to use the single meeting to induce substantial changes in the patient’s life: how to make the most of it, how to program it, how to change normal therapeutic attitudes to be more creative and effective, how to use one’s time in a different way, how to encourage the patient’s availability and motivation and how to associate the necessary diagnostic-evaluation moment the therapeutic process of change “(page 12).

How many sessions after the first?

As you will have had the opportunity to discover, reading the articles of our blog, Talmon’s “casual” discovery of 1986, which he realized by studying the data (of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, California) of the last few years, that the results led always with the result that the most frequent duration of therapy was only one session.

A series of researches determined that people, in a percentage between 20 and 50% of people, choose to go to therapy only once .

Weir, Wills, Young & Perlesz (2008) found that more than 40,000 patients out of a total of 100,000 felt that a single session was enough to solve their problem , even when they were given the opportunity to continue.

Drop out or not drop out: this is the dilemma

Some key points, already declined in previous articles, represent the cornerstone for starting a reflection on the concept of “drop out” using the TSS in favor of the well-being of people, which remains the reason (and objective) of the requests for advice that they come to a helping relationship professional.

In summary                                        

  1. 1 is the most frequent number of psychotherapy sessions;
  2. between 20 and 50% of the time it is the patient himself who does not deem another session necessary ;
  3. up to 80% of those who have received a Single Session declare that they have solved their problem , or at least consider it much improved.

Starting from the above, let’s focus on the drop out.

In a study conducted by the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy  1 in 4 people only have one session.

This data seems likely, since it is in line with world and Italian research on drop-out and, in particular, on abandonment after a single session (Swift & Greenberg, 2012; Wells et al., 2013; de Girolamo, Bassi, Neri , Ruggeri, Santone & Picardi, 2007).

So considering that a large number of people who turn to a professional may not make it to the second interview, the challenge is to maximize the effectiveness of each individual interview .

Precisely with this objective, the Single Session Therapy is proposed as an opportunity to respond by maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of each single session .

Considering that 44% of drop outs are satisfied after a single session, how can you make sure that even the professional is satisfied with just one meeting ?!

Our experience leads us to consider Single Session Therapy as a valid answer .

As described by Talmon, if one begins to consider that a single meeting can be not a drop out but a possibility of intervention , SST has great potential to maximize the effect of the single and single interview.

How to maximize the effectiveness of every single (and often unique) session?

Meanwhile, if you have not already done so, download our ebook , another fundamental consideration is to privilege the resources (internal and external) of the person, in fact if the traditional models focus on psychopathology, the discomfort or the problem, the framework within which to move in a Single Session Therapy it is to privilege the resources of the person, his skills, the ways of knowing and interpreting his own world , helping each one to achieve the results that represent his own success and well-being (Hoyt, 2011).

Much of the success of a SST is linked to a change of relative paradigm, above all, to the mindset , it is also to have in mind some general principles that every professional should always have in mind when conducting a Single Session Therapy summarized in:

  1. Expect change
  2. Conceive each encounter as a whole
  3. Don’t rush and try to be brilliant
  4. Emphasize the person’s skills and strengths
  5. Life, not therapy, is the great teacher
  6. More is not necessarily better
  7. Big problems don’t always require big solutions
  8. The essence of therapy is “helping clients help themselves”
  9. Many customers have limited availability (time or money)
  10. Finish in a way that allows the customer to have useful implications

Federico Piccirilli

Psychologist, psychotherapist

 Co-Founder of the Italian Center
 for Single Session Therapy



De Girolamo, G., Bassi, M., Neri, G., Ruggeri, M., Santone, G. & Picardi, A. (2007). The current state of mental health care in Italy: problems, perspectives, and lessons to learn. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences , 257, 83-91. doi: 10.1007 / s00406-006-0695-x

Hoyt, MF & Talmon, M. (eds.) (2014a). Capturing the Moment. Single Session Therapy and Walk-In Services Bancyfelin, UK: Crown House.

Slive, A. & Bobele, M. (2014). One Session at a time: When you have a Whole Hour. In MF Hoyt & M. Talmon (eds.) (2014), op. cit. , pp. 95-119.

Swift, JK & Greenberg, RP (2012). Premature discontinuation in adult psychotherapy: a meta-analysis. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology , 80 (4), 547-559. doi: 10.1037 / a0028226.

Talmon, M. (1990). Single Session Therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (Tr. It. Single session psychotherapy. Milan: Erickson).

Rosenbaum, R., Hoyt, MF & Talmon, M. (1990). The Challenge of Single-Session Therapies: Creativing Pivotal Moments. In RA Wells & VJ Giannetti ( eds ), Hanbook of the Brief Psychotherapies, New York-London: Plenum Press, pp. 165-189.

Weir, S., Wills, M., Young, J. & Perlesz, A. (2008). The implementation of Single Session Work in community healt. Brunswick, Australia: The Bouverie Center, La Trobe University.

Wells, JE, Oakley Browne, M., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Al-Hamzawi, A., Alonso, J., Angermeyer, MC, Bouzan, C., Bruffaerts, R., Bunting, B., Caldas- de-Almeida, JM, de Girolamo, G., de Graaf, R., Florescu, S., Fukao, A., Gureje, O., Ruskov Hinkov, H., Hu, C., Hwang, I., Karam , EG, Kostyuchenko, S., Kovess-Masfety, V., Levinson, D., Liu, Z., Medina-Mora, ME, Nizamie, SH, Posada-Villa, J., Sampson, NA, Stein, DJ, Viana, MC, Kessler, RC (2013). Drop out from out-patient mental healthcare in the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey initiative. The British Journal of Psychiatry , 202 (1), 42-49. doi: 10.1192 / bjp.bp.112.113134


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Rosita Del Medico

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