Single-Session Therapy (SST) : 100 Key Points and Techniques book cover
1st Edition

Single-Session Therapy (SST)
100 Key Points and Techniques

ISBN 9781138593121
Published October 1, 2018 by Routledge
334 Pages

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Book Description

Even in one session a therapist can make a difference. Single Session Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques presents the 100 main features of this way of working, providing an accessible, succinct overview of this way of working, based on the author's extensive work demonstrating the effectiveness of SST.

Divided into 9 sections, guiding you through every aspect of the therapy, the book covers topic such as:

  • The goals of SST
  • Characteristics of ‘good’ SST clients
  • Responding effectively to the client’s very first contact
  • Creating and maintaining a working focus
  • Making an emotional impact

Both concise and practical, Single Session Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques will be invaluable to psychotherapists and counsellors in training and practice.

Table of Contents



Part 1: The Nature and Foundations of SST

  1. What is SST?
  2. The development of SST
  3. What SST is not
  4. Even a brief encounter can be therapeutic
  5. The expandable nature of therapy length
  6. The modal number of therapy sessions internationally is ‘one’, and the majority of people who attend for one session are satisfied
  7. It is difficult to predict, with accuracy, how many therapy sessions a client will attend
  8. What is a ‘drop-out’?
  9. Intermittent therapy through the life cycle
  10. Sooner is better and less is more
  11. Human beings can help themselves quickly under specific circumstances
  12. The choice of SST is the client’s, but sometimes such choice may be limited
  13. Three key themes: Mindset, time and client empowerment
  14. An SST-informed attitude to clinical work
  15. The diverse nature of SST
  16. The goals of SST
  17. SST challenges established beliefs about therapy and change
  18. The length of SST
  19. Different approaches to SST
  20. Part 2: The Assumptions of SST

  21. Client-centred and client-driven
  22. Reciprocity in openness and feedback
  23. Future-oriented, but present and past sensitive
  24. Readiness
  25. Strengths-based
  26. Resources-based
  27. Complex problems do not always require complex solutions
  28. A journey begins with the first few steps
  29. Part 3: Facilitative Conditions for SST

  30. Intentionality
  31. Expect change
  32. Clarity
  33. Effective session structure
  34. Effective goal-setting
  35. The therapist’s use of expertise rather than being the expert
  36. Helpful attitudes for SST therapists
  37. Characteristics of ‘good’ SST therapists
  38. SST: The do’s
  39. SST: The don’ts
  40. A conducive environment for SST
  41. The pluralistic nature of SST
  42. Characteristics of ‘good’ SST clients
  43. Part 4: Criteria for SST

  44. The client criteria question
  45. Therapist indications and contra-indications for SST
  46. Service indications and contra-indications for SST
  47. Part 5: Getting SST Off on the Right Foot

  48. Respond effectively to the person’s very first contact
  49. Prepare for the face-to-face session: I. Getting relevant information
  50. Prepare for the face-to-face session: II. Tipping the balance towards change
  51. Prepare for the face-to-face session III. How do you think I can best help you?
  52. Suggest possible tasks between the pre-session contact and the session
  53. Consider sending an email summary
  54. Realise that the pre-session contact may be sufficient
  55. Part 6: Getting the Most from the Session

  56. Agree or review parameters
  57. Be mindful of the working alliance in SST
  58. Begin the session: I. Focus on tasks and activities carried out by the client between the pre-session contact and the face-to-face
  59. Begin the session: II. When there has been no prior contact between therapist and client
  60. Focus on a problem that can be solved, not one that can’t be solved
  61. Create and maintain a working focus
  62. Help clients deal with adversity, if possible
  63. Negotiate a goal
  64. Understand how clients unwittingly maintain their problems and use this understanding to help them solve these problems
  65. What to change: I. Individual-focused change
  66. What to change: II. Environment-focused change
  67. Focus on and use pivot chords
  68. Agree markers for change
  69. Notice and encourage change
  70. Focus on the second response not the first
  71. Look for exceptions
  72. Look for instances of the goal already happening
  73. Encourage the client to do more of what works or might work and less of what doesn’t work
  74. Make an emotional impact
  75. Utilise the client’s strengths and resources
  76. Utilise the client’s role model
  77. Utilise topophilia in SST
  78. The use of stories and parables
  79. Use humour
  80. Use paradox
  81. Use the friend technique
  82. The use of chairwork in SST
  83. Convert meaning into a useful and memorable phrase
  84. Educate when clients appear to lack information or have faulty information.
  85. Agree on the solution
  86. Encourage the client to practise the solution in the session
  87. Summarise the process
  88. Take-homes
  89. End the session
  90. After the session: Reflection, the recording and the transcript
  91. Follow-up
  92. Example of an SST structure: AUB
  93. Part 7: Walk-in Therapy

  94. Two pathways to help
  95. The nature of walk-in therapy
  96. The case for walk-in therapy
  97. Foster an alliance with the service rather than with a specific therapist
  98. How walk-in services are advertised
  99. A guideline for walk-in session structure influenced by brief narrative therapy
  100. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about walk-in therapy
  101. Part 8: Other Forms of SST

  102. Clinical demonstrations
  103. Filmed training tapes
  104. Second opinions

Part 9: SST: Personal Contributions and Learning

98. ‘Single Session Integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy’ (SSI-CBT)

99. ‘Very Brief Therapeutic Conversations’ (VBTCs)

100. Personal lessons learned from practising SST

Epilogue: The Future of SST - Interviews with Key Figures

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Windy Dryden is in part-time clinical and consultative practice and is an international authority on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has worked in psychotherapy for more than 40 years and is the author of over 225 books.