What does it mean to introduce Single Session Therapy into an organization? Practical tips and guidance

What does it mean to introduce Single Session Therapy into an organization? Practical tips and guidance

With today’s article we take up a topic already addressed in the previous article regarding the existence or otherwise of criteria that establish an effective use of Single Session Therapy with clients, extending it to its use in the context of health services.   

The objective of the article will, in fact, be to identify the indications and contraindications for the implementation of SST in health services. The question we ask ourselves, in fact, is whether Single Session Therapy can be a valid tool for providing psychological interventions in healthcare organizations and what can make its introduction more effective.


To answer this question we will again make use of Windy Dryden (2019) who suggests some indications and contraindications capable of predicting whether SST will be used as an effective method within an organization.  


 What indicators does Dryden  believe will predict whether HST will flourish as a method of psychological service delivery within an organization?

Service support . It is important that the majority of workers in an organization support SST as a means of service delivery. Before the method is introduced, all interested parties must be able to share their enthusiasm, raise doubts, reservations and objections and discuss them in a respectful manner. Managers, therapists and administrative staff must all be involved in the decision regarding whether or not to introduce SST into the organization. Furthermore, where some therapists do not wish to be involved, they should be respected, so any covert attempts to sabotage SST will be minimised.

Adequate training . Before implementing SST in an agency it is important that all staff are sufficiently trained. This should involve both skill development and the opportunity to share and discuss doubts, reservations and objections about the method.

Ongoing support and supervision . Before SST is rolled out within a healthcare agency, it is important that there is ongoing oversight of how it is practiced to hone skills and protect client well-being.

Adequate administrative support . Within an organization, if there is not enough administrative support to incentivize SST service, it will soon fade away. Therefore, in organizations where SST grows, administrative staff actively participate in the team offering crucial feedback to ensure the smooth functioning of the service.

TSS integrated with other services . It is important that SST is fully integrated with the delivery of the organisation’s other services and not seen as a separate part of what the agency provides, managed by one or two enthusiastic individuals.

Accessible to the public . It is important that the SST service is accessible to the public,

both in terms of advertising and in terms of geographical location: if people know that it is easy to access, they will tend to be used.

Ongoing research and evaluation . If the team is actively involved in the research and evaluation of the service, the service will benefit.

Continuous professional development. A SST service will improve if therapists bring new ideas about how to develop provision. Furthermore, engaging in continuous professional development activities strengthens professionals. 

Links with other organizations where SST is practiced . One way to increase the chances that the service will work is to create links with other agencies that offer the same type of intervention method. This will allow both agencies to share experiences, learn from mistakes and try what works for one or the other agency.

Provide training to others. Once an organization has established the provision of SST, incorporated it into its overall work and has operated it successfully for some time, it may consider offering training to others. This has the effect of showing how the service works to those who want to learn about the method and at the same time receiving feedback from newbies stimulating new ideas.



What are the conditions that do not favor the success of SST in a healthcare organization?

If SST is imposed . Sometimes, when an agency is faced with long-term waiting lists, it panics and forces the introduction of SST without adequately preparing the ground. Imposing SST on therapists who are not adequately informed or trained should be avoided.

Service led by a minority of supporters . When SST is introduced into an organization by one or two very enthusiastic supporters, without fully sharing the idea with management, other therapists and administrative staff, the service will tend to falter because the foundation to support it will be lacking.

Insufficient supervision . Likewise, sporadic supervision will not lead to the correction of common therapist errors when practicing SST. This will lead to poor customer feedback.

TSS not incorporated with other organization services . If SST is isolated from other services, this will have a negative impact on even the most enthusiastic therapists who may leave after a while. Furthermore, the service may not receive the right administrative support with negative consequences on its functioning.

The agency does not encourage the expression of doubts, reservations and objections . If therapists are not encouraged to express their concerns about SST, these will remain and will be expressed indirectly to the detriment of the provision of the service itself.

Not accessible to the public . If people do not know that SST is provided or is hosted in a location that is difficult to access, the service will not be used.

No connection with other agencies where SST is practiced . If the organization where SST is practiced does not have links to other agencies that apply it, the latter will weaken, putting its continuation at risk.




To conclude, when we intend to implement a Single Session Therapy service in an organization it is good to keep in mind some aspects that will make us assume  from the beginning that this method will be successful. Among the fundamental ingredients we find the agreement between professionals and the different parts of an organization, continuous training and collaboration with other agencies that share the same idea of ​​development, for the rest as Gianni Rodari says ” I have done many jobs and I learned this: you happen to do that thing, do it well. Something will come of it! 


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




Cannistrà, F., & Piccirilli, F. (2018). Single Session Therapy: Principles and Practices . Giunti Editore.

Dryden, W. (2019). Single – Session Therapy. 100 Key points & techniques. Routledge.

Hoyt, M. F., & Talmon, M. (Eds.). (2014). Capturing the moment: Single session therapy and walk-in services . Crown House.

Talmon, M. (1993). Single-session Solution: A Guide to Practical, Effective and Affordable Therapy . Addison–Wesley.

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