What’s the correct name?
The original name is Single-Session Therapy (SST), in Italian Terapia a Seduta Singola. The term Single-Session Psychotherapy (used in the Italian translation of the first book on the subject) is less accurate, because it limits the sphere of action of SST to the field of psychotherapy.
In which settings can it be used?
Undoubtedly the main fields are the various types of psychotherapy and psychological counselling. Single-Session Therapy is used successfully by psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists all over the world, both built into their own practice to improve the therapeutic effectiveness of each session, and as a counselling method in its own right. The fields of application, therefore, can vary widely, and are explored in more detail in our Blog..
Is it possible that only one session can be enough?
Yes, and there’s nothing strange about this: the idea that psychotherapy must go on for a long time is a theoretical preconception. In many situations – more than you may think – a single encounter is more than enough for the person to resolve their problem: and this is what the past 30 years of research into Single-Session Therapy have demonstrated. Furthermore, researchers into SST make an important clarification: Single-Session Therapy does not mean treatment has to consist of just one session, but that every session should be run as if one were sufficient. And this is very often the case.
What is it that allows a single session to provide a solution?
There are several elements that make this possible. In general, many SST studies focused on the principles and factors that maximise the effectiveness of every single – and often sole – session. This led to the identification of a series of components which allow the number of sessions in any course of treatment to be reduced, often to just one. For further information we invite you to follow our Blog, download our E-book on SST and participate in our training in Single-Session Therapy.
Which disorders is Single-Session Therapy suitable for?
It is generally accepted that Single-Session Therapy “is for everything, but not for all”. Ongoing research indicates that SST can be applied in practically any type of disorder, from slight to incapacitating, from emergency situations to the most serious psychoses. Obviously, not everyone may want and benefit from a single session with a therapist. We explore this in greater depth in our Blog and our training courses.
What proof is there of the effectiveness of SST?
There’s plenty. Even before formal research began, many studies showed that completely satisfactory results could be obtained in a single session, and since the 1980s hundreds of systematic studies have been published all over the world, ranging from single case studies to controlled groups, right up to rigorous experiments with follow-ups of more than 8 years. One of the most recent of these, conducted in Australia and covering more than 100,000 cases, showed that in over 40,000 of these it was the patient who opted for a single session, and in the follow-up reported complete satisfaction with the results.
New studies are being published every year in authoritative scientific journals, including the Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Journal of Mental Health, American Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Services. In our Blog you’ll find constant updates on data, research and techniques.
What are the advantages of SST?
Many. The client’s problem is resolved faster, leading to improved self-esteem and self-efficacy.What’s more, the therapist or healthcare company increases the effectiveness and efficiency of therapy and offers a service needed by people who are afraid of or can’t/won’t attend lengthy courses of therapy.
What’s more, with Single-Session Therapy the therapist maximises the effectiveness of every session, thus reducing waiting lists and offering a service for anyone who seeks a single session (between 20 and 50%, according to research); furthermore, it reduces the duration of other types of therapy, allowing the professional to take on new clients sooner and more rapidly and avoiding lengthy, exhausting and expensive courses of treatment. Costs are also reduced: for the client, who spends less time in therapy; for the healthcare organisation and the healthcare system as a whole: several studies indicate that a brief course of psychotherapy also reduces the patient’s need for other medical treatments.
I work in the private sector: won’t I earn less by offering SST?
It’s a valid question, since in the existing system many professionals’ earnings depend on the number of sessions they complete. The answer is no, for several reasons.
First and foremost you’re offering an additional service, which allows you to reach all those patients who, as we saw above, do not want (or are unable) to commit to longer therapy. SST can also be seen as a type of intervention for specific needs: many people – for a variety of reasons – can benefit from a “discontinuous” course of treatment, perhaps coming to the therapist only during brief periods of need, and SST is the most appropriate solution for such individuals. Furthermore, reducing the period of therapy and meeting the client’s needs increases your professional expertise and your visibility, and therefore the number of people who decide to put their trust in you. Lastly, a specific fee for a brief course of therapy is different to the rate charged for therapy which is expected to last longer.
Offering a service that can reduce the time needed for therapy allows you to enhance your professional integrity, with benefits in terms of client numbers: no SST professionals have had to close down! If anything, they have seen an increase in demand. In our workshops we devote a special section to ways in which SST can be integrated into your work.
How can I train in SST?
More and more companies are providing SST training all over the world. Further down this page you will find the English-language courses organised by the Italian Center for Single Session Therapy, designed for psychologists and health professionals (counsellors, social workers, doctors and nurses). You can also arrange a training course to take place in your organisation, designed to meet your specific needs: click here to contact us for an initial consultation.