Single-Session Therapy

What is Single-Session Therapy (SST)?

Our SST approach is designed for individuals, couples, and families who want to tackle a specific mental health or relationship challenge, have a clear goal in mind, and are willing to closely collaborate with the Intermind therapist over a single two-hour session.

SST is an established and rapidly-growing approach to improving mental, emotional, and relationship health, and is backed by a large base of evidence. See below.

Research: Single-Session Therapy Can Produce Significant Client Outcomes within One Session

  • Ewen, Mushquash, Bailey, Haggarty, & Stones. (2018). Single-session therapy in outpatient mental health services: examining the effect on mental health symptoms and functioning. Social Work in Mental Health, 16(5), 573–589. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332985.2018.1456503
  • Perkins, R. (2006). The effectiveness of one session of therapy using a single-session therapy approach for children and adolescents with mental health problems. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 79(2), 215–227. https://doi.org/10.1348/147608305X60523
  • 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(Pt 2), 143–56. https://doi.org/10.1348/147608308X280995
  • Perreault, K., Breton, M., & Berbiche, D. (2023). An innovative model of psychological service delivery in primary healthcare: the single-session intervention. Bmc Primary Care, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01949-8
  • Vanessa, B., Giulia, F., Claudia, T., Flavio, C., Valentina, G., Emanuele, M. G., Gianluca, C., & Giada, P. (2021). Single-session therapy by appointment for the treatment of anxiety disorders in youth and adults: a systematic review of the literature, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.721382

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Single-Session Therapy

SST is a three-step process. Prior to the session, our clients answer questions that relate to their challenges, and provide information about themselves. The second step involves a 105-120 minute SST session. Finally, we call our clients 3-5 days after the session to gauge what is different for our client and decide on the next course of action.

SST could be right for you if you satisfy the following:

  1. You are unable (or unwilling) to have more than one therapy session
  2. You know the specific mental health or relationship challenge you are experiencing
  3. You have a clear goal in mind
  4. You are comfortable with the potential emotional intensity of SST therapy models
  5. You are willing to collaborate closely with the Intermind therapist throughout the session
  6. You are willing to spend up to 120 minutes in one session.

There are a couple of minor risks, including:

  • Halfway through the session you become aware that your initial goal is no longer relevant. This awareness is a positive outcome, but it usually means that you will need an additional SST session.
  • You find that despite our support, the intensity of the single-session therapy models is creating too much emotional charge for you. In this case, we recommend the less intensive pace of either Brief Therapy (2-10 sessions) or Progressive Therapy (>10 sessions).

Due to the limited time nature of SST, we use evidence-based psychotherapy models that are designed to produce improvements for our clients within one session.  The nature of the interventions we use can be emotionally taxing for some. We support our clients through this experience either with frequent session pauses, or by discontinuing SST and recommending Brief Therapy or Longer-Term Therapy.

The short answer is we can’t know until we understand more about you, your background, and your current environment. We encourage you to click on the Initial Consult option below so that we can set up a 15 minute conversation. We can then recommend SST, Brief Therapy, or Progressive Therapy.

Yes, you can use SST to explore the style of your Intermind therapist and decide whether you would like to continue working with them.

You can have as many SST sessions as you feel are necessary. SST is never about “one session and you’re done”; instead, its focus is always on “one meaningful session at a time”.

Yes, SST is available to every client, whether they are an individual, a couple, or a family.

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