Single-session therapy in the school

Single-session therapy in the school

We have arrived in September and we have left the scorching summer behind!

At this time of year many activities start again and for a professional it is time to embark on new challenges .

In fact, today’s article will allow us to identify another area of ​​intervention on which to focus and experiment with Single Session Therapy , namely the school .

Schools will reopen in a few days and many psychologists involved in this sector will find themselves carrying out consultancy services for young students , their families and teachers .


But how does the school have to do with Single Session Therapy?

If you hadn’t already thought about it, this could still be a good time to do it and try to introduce this type of intervention into the activity carried out in the school environment. Research shows that individual counseling is very effective with young adolescents (Perkins & Scarlett, 2008) and suitable for a context where demand is often high, but the possibility of providing long-term paths is almost impossible.


But let’s take some cues from other experiences in the world.

In 2016 , for example, a study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research , which also included researchers from the University of Laurier and the University of Waterloo , which demonstrated that Single Session Therapy can be effective with students in difficulty, confirming what was already being experienced at the University of Western in Ontario , one of the largest universities in Canada.


How was the service offered?

This treatment model was initially offered as a pilot project within a psychological services program. Subsequently, thanks to the positive results achieved and the feedback from the students, it turned into a stable service .


What did the study find?

The Vice President of Wester University, Jana Luker , in an interview carried out for the online magazine Medicalxpress (September 2019) reported that this service being innovative, was initially proposed as a pilot study, but Single Session Therapy with students soon has proved to be very effective.


What aspects were considered relevant?

According to Luker, the study of this method of intervention has allowed us to discover that:

  • counselors could see many students and give them the support they wanted , before their problems could become more serious;
  • waiting times have been cut down and there are no more waiting lists ;
  • the students favorably accepted the possibility of having only one meeting available and moreover, if necessary, they could participate in subsequent sessions;
  • The University Student Council (USC) rallied to keep the service, voting at the end of the year to introduce a student service charge that would have granted Single Session Therapy to the University as a permanent service .



The experience of the psychologist in the school is by now consolidated in the panorama of the Italian school. Clinical studies also demonstrate that the earlier the intervention is, the greater the chances that the discomfort can be resolved without further consequences. The continuous presence of the psychologist in the school would therefore make the presence of this figure even more effective and useful for the students.

The proposal of an alternative counseling method such as Single Session Therapy could represent a valid service for the school for the early detection of students’ changing needs and useful for providing rapid responses to their discomfort. At the same time, TSS would represent an opportunity for students to seize their own potential , to be oriented and receive support in managing relationships with peers , family and teachers .


Angelica Giannetti
Team Psychotherapist of the Italian Center
for Single Session Therapy




Perkins, R. & Scarlett, G., (2008). The effectiveness of single session therapy in child and adolescent mental health. Part 2: An 18-month follow-up study. Psychology and Psychotherapy . 81. 143-56.

Study backs approach to single-session therapy for students, n.d. February 4, 2016 from



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Rosita Del Medico

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