Single-session therapy (SST) is a form of psychotherapy or counseling that aims to provide meaningful therapeutic change within a single session. The concept challenges the traditional notion that therapy requires multiple sessions over an extended period of time. Instead, SST focuses on addressing a specific issue or concern in a concise and goal-oriented manner.
The key features of single-session therapy include:
Focused and Goal-Oriented: The therapist and client work together to identify a specific issue or goal that the client wants to address. The session is then structured to directly target that concern, utilizing techniques and interventions that are tailored to the client’s needs.
Brief Intervention: The session is usually time-limited, typically lasting around 1 to 2 hours. The therapist’s role is to quickly establish rapport, gather relevant information, and provide interventions that can lead to meaningful insights or behavioral changes within the limited time frame.
Collaborative Approach: Single-session therapy emphasizes collaboration between the therapist and the client. The therapist encourages the client to actively engage in the process, express their thoughts and feelings, and work together to find potential solutions or coping strategies.
Strengths-Based: SST often focuses on the client’s strengths, resources, and existing coping mechanisms. The goal is to help clients harness their own abilities to address their concerns effectively.
Solution-Focused Techniques: Many single-session therapy approaches draw from solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) techniques. SFBT is an approach that emphasizes identifying and building upon the client’s existing strengths and resources to create positive change.
Follow-Up: Depending on the nature of the issue and the progress made during the session, the therapist might provide recommendations for continued self-help strategies or offer the option for follow-up sessions if necessary.
Single-session therapy can be particularly useful for individuals who are seeking immediate assistance for a specific issue, lack the time or resources for traditional long-term therapy, or are open to brief interventions. However, not all concerns or individuals are suitable for single-session therapy, and the appropriateness of this approach depends on the client’s needs and the therapist’s assessment.
It’s worth noting that while single-session therapy can provide rapid insights and strategies for change, deeper and more complex issues might require longer-term therapy for more comprehensive support and healing.