Single Session Therapy and Psychotherapy: with which approaches a SST can be conducted?

Single Session Therapy and Psychotherapy: with which approaches a SST can be conducted?

Some therapists feel that their approach and training are not adequate for conducting a Single Session Therapy. This is not true, actualy.

We explained that TSS can be adapted with evident results in different contexts of application, treating people who have problems of different order and degree.

The question we asked ourselves is: is there a single way to do TSS? Is there a single session psychotherapy model in its own right? Or an exclusive therapeutic model that fits it?

At the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy we reviewed various experiences and research shows the adaptability of TSS to different approaches. Just from the analysis of the reports of different experiences (even in different parts of the world) it emerges that the modus operandi of TSS can be varied, while respecting common principles.


A reinforcement of the consideration of the fact that there are different ways of doing Single Session Therapy comes from the words that Hoyt spends on TSS in his book “Short Psychotherapies” (2009): «The treatments can be different, like the patients ( and therapists) and the ways in which they are realized.” 

The group of Talmon, Hoyt and Rosenbaum has always chosen the “one-size-doesn’t-fit-all” formula, which means the avoidance of a single size, of a single standardized form of TSS. This is because one of the strengths of TSS lies precisely in the ability to adapt to different contexts, different therapists and different patients. 


This allows TSS to be used with different approaches.

For example, the trio Talmon, Hoyt and Rosenbaum, authors of the first systematized research on TSS, was composed of professionals belonging to completely different approaches.

Talmon, with an initial psychoanalytic stamp, deepens over time a multitude of approaches, from systemic to transactional analysis.

Rosenbaum, who grew up with a psychodynamic background, turns his attention to the integration between different models of psychotherapy, preferring an integration between systemic, strategic and Ericksonian therapies.

Hoyt, with a short psychodynamic orientation training, later devoted himself to the family systemic model, existential therapy and redecision therapy.  


How many approacches?

In Capturing The Moment (Hoyt & Talmon, 2014), one of the most complete books on Single Session Therapy, studies and bibliographical references of Single Session therapies operated by therapists of different approaches are reported, including:

–          Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

–          Hypnosis and Ericksonian Psychotherapy

–          Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapies

–          Strategic Therapy

–          Systemic And Family Therapies

–          Solution-Centered Brief Therapy

–          Narrative Therapy

–          Gestalt Therapy

–          Emotional Rational Behavior Therapy

–          EMDRand others.

There currently does not appear to be a therapeutic approach in which it is impossible to successfully conduct a Single Session Therapy.

So there are different ways of doing Single Session Therapy, but there is also the opportunity for all professionals to integrate the guidelines, principles and practices into their daily professional life, regardless of their orientation. 



The transversality of the SST has been known since its origins. Even among the first studies were those conducted by David Malan at the prestigious Tavistock Clinic, which has always followed a long-term form of therapy, like Psicoanalytics. The reality is that many more cases than you think can be treated in a single session.


Federico Piccirilli & Flavio Cannistrà
Psicologi, Psicoterapeuti
Co-Founder e Founder dell’Italian Center
for Single Session Therapy



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

Hoyt, M.F. & Talmon, M. (2014b). Editors’ Introduction: Single Session Therapy and Walk-In Services. In M.F. Hoyt & M. Talmon (eds.) (2014a), op. cit., pCapturing the Moment. p. 2-26.

Hoyt, M.F. (2009). Brief pychotherapies: Principles and practices. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen (Tr. it. Psicoterapie brevi. Principi e pratiche. Roma: CISU).

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

Talmon, M. (1990). Single Session Therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (Tr. it. Psicoterapia a seduta singola. Milano: Erickson).


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Rosita Del Medico

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