How to conduct a SST: the Canadian – Texan model

How to conduct a SST: the Canadian – Texan model

The Canadian-Texan Model is represented by the work of Arnold Slive and Monte Bobele : the first launched the Eastside Family Center in Calgary (Canada), integrating the logic of TSS into a walk-in service , and the second created a similar service at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio (Texas), after a meeting with Slive.

Since then the two have actively collaborated together, developing an interesting Single Session Therapy model (Bobele & Slive, 2014; Slive & Bobele, 2014).
As stated in the previous articles, although there are numerous experiences of services that practice Single Session Therapy , we can, for the sake of clarity, identify three main models : Californian , Australian and Canadian-Texan .

The three models, united by principles and guidelines, described in article 11 Practical Guidelines to start doing Single Session Therapy, differ and are characterized by some peculiarities.


The context of the Canadian-Texan model

Slive and Bobele’s work develops within a walk-in .

Walk-in services are open structures where people can access without an appointment to request a consultation, as Flavio Cannistrà has already written in the article  Direct access psychotherapy: the logic and advantages of walk-in services.

Another feature of the walk-in is that the person, in most cases seen for a single session , can return to the Service but not necessarily, indeed rarely,  will meet the same professional who welcomed them the first time.

These services are characterized by teamwork , managed by a team of 6 professionals plus a supervisor who monitors the process.

In the description of their modus operandi, the authors (2014) argue that the general purpose of a therapy that takes place within a walk-in is to leave the person leaving the service immediate relief and increased hope for the future. , favoring the emergence of new points of view with respect to the theme presented.


The ideas that must accompany the professional in conducting a TSS according to the Canadian-Texan model are:

  1. a) What does the customer want?

The goal is to understand in the shortest possible time what the person expects from the meeting, what he needs “today” , listening to the hopes and expectations that accompanied him until the interview.

  1. b) Understand the context and the moment

The authors begin, to analyze the moment, with a “Why now?” .

  1. c) Focus on the resources of the person

Orient the person to explore the resources, analyzing how they can be used to solve the problem.

  1. d) Explore the solutions attempted

In accordance with the work of the RIM , the authors find it useful to investigate the attempted solutions that feed the problem.

  1. e) Use the client’s motivation

In the Canadian model the authors do not adhere to the concept of resistance, but agree with the work of De Shazer (1986) who prefers to think in terms of cooperation between client and therapist, attributing to the therapist the responsibility of building a relationship based on cooperation.

  1. f) Think small

A small change in a single session can trigger a snowball effect capable of generating large changes.

  1. g) Explore the theory of person change

In accord with Duncan and Miller (2000), in walk-ins conducted according to the Canadian-Texan model, professionals invite people to guide them towards what could most help them.

  1. h) Utilize Solution Centered Therapy strategies

A series of techniques aimed at shifting the person’s focus from the problem to the solution.


The phases of the session

Bobele and Slive (2014) describe the format of a TSS, which following the original lines, described by Hoyt and colleagues (1996), integrates the principles of De Shazer’s solution-oriented Brief Therapy .

The Single Session Therapy practiced in the Canadian-Texan model includes 6 work sessions distributed as follows:

  1. Pre session , 5/10 minutes dedicated to the collection of data and expectations . When people enter they are welcomed in a very comfortable waiting room: the goal is to put people immediately in a state of relaxation and tranquility before the start of the work session. In this space, people are invited to fill in a questionnaire, described in the article How a simple questionnaire can improve a Single Session, by a staff member while the other team members prepare the session;
  2. Interview , in which particular attention is paid to the definition of objectives;
  3. Break for consultation with the team, 5/10 minutes in which the therapist can develop an action plan to give back
  4. Closure;
  5. Homework , when deemed appropriate;
  6. Meeting with the staff, to check the session and establish what went well and what could be dealt with differently.



As already explained, the Canadian-Texan model is one of the three main models, in addition to the recent Model of the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy that we are disseminating in Italy.

I would like to remind you that, although in Italy there has been little talk of TSS, in other parts of the world it has been an approach that has been used for over 30 years.



Federico Piccirilli

Psychologist, Psychotherapist
Co-Founder of the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy




Duncan, B. & Miller, S.  (2000). The client’s theory of change: Consulting the client in the integrative process. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration , 10 (2), 169-187.

Duncan, B. & Miller, S.  (2000). The heroic client: Doing Client-directed, outcome-informed therapy. San Francisco: Jossey – Bass

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

Slive, A. & Bobele, M. (2011). When One Hour is All You Have. Phoenix: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen.

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., p. 100.

De Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to solution in brief therapy. New York: WW Norton & Co.

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