What is SST

At first glance, the answer to this question is simple. Single-session therapy (SST) is therapy that lasts for one session. And indeed, there are already times when therapy does last for a single session. For example, there are occasions when the therapist and the client contract for a ‘block’ of therapy sessions, but the client only attends the first session. This is known as ‘single-session therapy by default’. However what I am talking about is SST by design, as its an intentional endeavour where the client and therapist agree to meet to help the client deal with their nominated concern in one session knowing that more help is available if needed’. In this definition, several important points are made:

1. The work has a purpose. The intention is ideally to help the person in one session.

2. The client will get the help needed. Further therapy sessions are available if the client needs such help.

3. The work is consensual. The therapist and client agree to embark based on the first two points

For the client to get the most out of the first (and perhaps only) counselling session, both therapist and client need to have a single-session mindset

Professor Windy Dryden

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