Can a name make a difference?
Considering the weight of the words and the value attributed to them, I think so!
So let’s try to qualify the reason for our choice to translate Single Session Therapy into Single Session Therapy, rather than Psychotherapy.
The fact that only one session can be enough to solve even important psychological problems is an old thing, in reality: it has been known for a long time.
When Moshe Talmon (1990) realized that a large number of patients, who he thought were dropouts, had actually stopped coming to therapy because that one session was enough for him, one of the first things he did was, rightly, to study the bibliography.
Surprise: many already spoke about therapies lasting only one session.
In fact, in addition to the now usual single session therapy, today as then there are other terms in the literature such as one-time therapy, short-term therapy or ultra-brief therapy, to indicate therapies of very few sessions, often only one.
One of the most commonly asked question is: Can single session therapy be applied to only one context?
The answer is NOT
In the previous articles dealt, we talked about “how” and “if” a Single Session Therapy could be enough to handle the critical issues of people who turn to an help service, and they also demonstrate how, according to many researches, 1 is the most frequent number of sessions.
Moshe Talmon is the first to have sistematically studied Single session therapy and, together with Michael Hoyt and Robert Rosenbaum, he conducted the first explorative research on the topic.
A random discovery
It was 1986 and Moshe Talmon was working as psychotherapist in the psychiatric department of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Hayward, California; one of the biggest healthcare organisations of the United States.
While he was in Norman Weinstein’s (the chief) office, Talmon noticed a pile of papers reporting the writing “number of sessions for each patient for the last 12 months”.
Talmon set out to study them, and Weinstein approved.
The included data referred to the past activity of about thirty between psychiatrics, psychologists and social workers working in the clinic. In all cases, the most frequent length of the therapies was of one single session.
It is already known that psychotherapy can last one single session of therapy.
After all, also the term single session therapy had already been used. In 1981, Simon
Budman, one of the best-known scholar of brief therapies, published Forms of Brief Therapy, which included a chapter named Focused single session therapy: Initial development and evaluation written by Bernard Bloom.
In the literature research studies on therapies of a single session were also present.
What was missing was a study specifically aimed at exploring the efficacy of SST Michael Hoyt, Robert Rosenbaum e Moshe Talmon decided, therefore, to conduct the first research study on SST, from which a series of interesting results emerged.
May a single session of therapy be enough for some people?
This is the assumption from which all the studies on Single Session Therapy have proceeded, and all resulted in univocal findings: Yes, one single session of therapy may be more than sufficient.
And not only for some people. But what is Single Session Therapy (SST)?