5 ways to implement SST in health and social settings

5 ways to implement SST in health and social settings

The framework behind Single Session Therapy makes it a flexible, dynamic and creative method , suitable for responding to many needs relating to mental health and psychosocial risks.

Many researches have shown how the  typical mindset of this method allows it to be used in multiple contexts.

In this article we focus on social and health structures , specifically we try to focus on Mental Health Services and on the radical changes that the patient experiences today in relation to their needs and to the use of services.


What are the needs of patients today?

If on the one hand the economic crisis that has hit Italy and the rest of the world has accentuated the criticalities of the services provided by the social and health structures , on the other hand it has stimulated more and more the search for alternative methods to optimize the resources of which In order to respond adequately to the new needs of people, society and the services appointed to accommodate them, the system has it.

 Let’s try to draw some traces to identify some of the priority needs of patients in relation to mental health services and to understand why Single Session Therapy is increasingly proving to be a tool suited to their needs.

  • Short timeframe: some research has shown that 2/3 of people (66%) are unwilling to wait too long for a visit.
  • Low costs: other studies show instead that more than 8 out of 10 people (81%) do not intend to sustain high economic figures for treatment.
  • Willingness to Be Well: Despite the need for quick, low-cost care, people have not given up on their will to be well. Furthermore, these are aligned with a general shift of attention that goes from “treatment of the disease” to “prevention” and more generally to “maintenance of well-being” .


How to implement SST in social and health structures?

Starting from research and experiences of public and private realities existing in the world (such as the Bouverie Center in Melbourne , the Eastside Family Center in Calgary, the Reach out center for kids in Ontario), let’s see what actions the Italian social and health structures could perform to implement a Single Session Therapy service and optimize access to patient services:


  1. Hospitality: that is, making the best use of the first telephone contact, an important moment to gather information and to get an initial idea on the possibility of dealing with the problem with a TSS.
  2. Questionnaire: Before arriving at the facility, the person can be sent a questionnaire that allows them to define a primary and secondary objective on which they would like to focus in the interview they will face and identify the degree of motivation they believe they have.
  3. Conducting the interview: the therapist can focus on a specific goal to be achieved in that session (with the help of the questionnaire), helping the person to stay on the priority he has given himself.
  4. Follow up: may not take place in person but by telephone, 2-4 weeks after the meeting, to evaluate the effects of the latter together with the person.
  5. New technologies: the use of new technologies can be preferred to increase online consultancy, via email, chat and video calls.



The use of a logic such as the one described above in social and health services brings many advantages . For example , ease of access to services  making the welcome passage faster ; reduces waiting lists, resulting in a shift of people from emergency hospital services to counseling services; offers the possibility of receiving short treatments  (often even of a single session), focused on skills and effective (Young, 2011).


Simonetta Bonadies

Psychologist, Team Psychotherapist of the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy



Cannistrà, F. Piccirilli, F. (2018). Single session therapy. Principles and practices. Publisher joints.

The Bouverie Centre, Victoria Family Institut. Implementation of Single Session Work at your service: a guide for managers.


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