Single Session Therapy

For many reasons, ongoing therapy might not be an option for you right now. Maybe there are time or financial constraints, or maybe you are unsure if therapy is what you actually want or need. However, it is possible that you have a dilemma or question that you would like to discuss with an experienced professional who can help you think this through and find a way forward.

There is evidence to suggest that many people can find huge benefit from a single session with a therapist when both parties are clear that this is the shared agreement. This is what is known as ‘single session therapy’ or ‘one at a time therapy’. When both the client and therapist approach the session as if it might be the only time they need to meet, they can create a focus that is both meaningful and helpful. They can work together to see if it is possible to get what the client wants from one session. And, if further sessions are required, this can be discussed.

In essence, single session therapy is:

‘A purposeful endeavour where both parties set out with the intention of helping the client in one session, knowing that more help is available if needed’ (Dryden).

Follow up sessions are possible. However, they are not booked at the end of this session. Instead, you are encouraged to:

  • Reflect on what you have learned from the session
  • Digest this learning – for example, exploring the themes discussed in the session and applying to other areas of your life
  • Act on this learning and put into practice any suggestions that were made
    Waiting to see what happens
  • Deciding only after this whether or not it would be helpful to make another appointment

Very often, the thoughts that we have can be problematic; they may be self-critical, make assumptions about other people or predictions regarding the future.  These can result in us feeling anxious, low in mood and impact our self-esteem.  Although we cannot stop or control our thoughts, there are ways in which we can adapt our responses to them thoughts to improve our mood and wellbeing.

CBT has a very good evidence base for difficulties including anxiety and depression.  This means that research trials have consistently found it to have a positive and sustained impact on alleviating the distress and problems associated with these emotional difficulties.  CBT is a very active therapy and will involve learning new skills which you will practice both within and in between sessions.  The idea is to build a ‘toolkit’ of skills that will help you to navigate and cope with the struggles that life can throw our way.