Can Online Single Session Therapy be a viable alternative for providing services during the pandemic?
In today’s article we go back to talking about the different functions and the different contexts in which Single Session Therapy can be used and to do so we share an experience of the method used in the Maltby Center a non-profit organization based in Kingston, in where SST has been used as an online service to address mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic .
What were the influences of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health?
The global spread of COVID-19 has endangered the physical and mental well-being of people around the world . While the impact of the pandemic on mental health is not yet quantified, early reviews suggest that early interventions could help people and prevent widespread distress . Research has found that mental health issues that start during a pandemic can develop into serious mental issues like PTSD .
What were the consequences of isolation?
Studies have linked social isolation to the manifestation of various symptoms related to anxiety, depression, self-harm and attempted suicide . Other foreseeable negative consequences deriving from the same protection measure concerned phenomena such as substance abuse and domestic violence , all risk factors for mental health problems.
How does TSS represent an effective response to the problems presented?
SST is a well-established method used in mental health services in different parts of the world . The intervention focusing on the current issues brought by the clients, allows the consultants to offer immediate support for the resolution of specific problems.
How does it work?
Clients work with counselors to develop a plan that will help them regain control of their mental well-being. Furthermore, the method is effective and indicated for the treatment of conditions such as mood problems, anxiety, anger management and sleep , all symptoms that can arise or amplify in particular situations such as in the case of social isolation .
Let’s see how Maltby Center uses TSS and how it has delivered its service!
The Center offers young people aged 0-24 and their carers access to a free one-hour counseling session with a psychotherapist . Following the COVID-19 outbreak , the service moved online . Its new Mental Health Access program operates five days a week to provide clients with a session within 24 hours of contact.
Is this service model an isolated virtuous phenomenon?
Many organizations are implementing SST in their Walk-in clinics in the belief that this way more people can seek support without running into the barrier of long waiting lists for an appointment . Furthermore, SST in virtual form has the advantage in a period such as that of the pandemic of guaranteeing health safety, maintaining the availability of remote support .
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on psychological health require the implementation of timely solutions in order to prevent serious discomfort . Single Session Therapy can be a valid answer to intervene on the psychological concerns related to COVID-19 . The impact of self-isolation, social distancing and travel restrictions has also been exacerbated by misinformation and global changes to educational, political and economic practices. The implementation of the SST online therefore it could represent in this historical phase a convenient solution for organizations, which could continue to offer support for mental health, limiting waiting times and other barriers to the service. The Malt by Center experience should set a positive example for other mental health centers to follow.
Team Psychotherapist of the Italian Center
for Single Session Therapy
Cannistrà, F., & Piccirilli, F. (2018). Single-session therapy: Principles and practices . Florence: Giunti Editore.
Matsushita, K (2020). Single-session therapy is necessary during the pandemic, The queens journal from https://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2020-07-26/opinions/single-session-th