Why single session counselling?
Different people need different things from counselling. Some people want proactive support that helps them by educating them about how their mind works and how they can change the way they’re thinking. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might help here. Some people like to have plenty of time to talk about things that may have happened recently or maybe from their history and many of the talking therapies will help here. Some people just want to talk something through to clear their minds and this is where single session counselling can be helpful.
If you have a problem and you’re looking for a solution, single session counselling maybe what you need. Single session counselling can support you to focus on the problem and help you call upon resources you may already have to resolve it. What the counsellor does is to ask questions that help you look at the problem in a number of ways and from different angles, which makes like the counsellor holding you to account to resolve the problem.
Planned single session therapy means that a questionnaire could be sent out to help you look at the problem from different angles, here are some examples: how important is it to you that this is resolved and what will change? When have you solved problems in the past and what helped you to resolve it? Single session can be held as a drop-in service and can be highly successful in dealing with troublesome issues. However, like planned single session counselling there are questions that are likely to be asked to help with understanding the nature of the problem and how important it is to you to resolve it.
Single session therapy is therefore very useful for that problem you feel you can’t talk to anyone about because ‘they’ won’t understand why you feel the way you do. Single session counselling is not helpful however for traumatic experiences that need in-depth therapy with a specialist trauma psychotherapist, counsellor or psychologist.
Undertaking single session therapy doesn’t just mean that you can’t have another (or a series) session if that is what you decide is needed. This is something that can be discussed during a session.
It is also possible to have ‘one at a time’ therapy. Having had one single session, you can have another at a time convenient to you and your therapist. Which can be repeated from time to time if that is what works for you.
My aim here is to help you to realise there is more than one way to get help and support when you need it. Other types of therapy or walk and talk (out in nature), CBT which I mentioned earlier, creative therapy and some very specialised ways such as play therapy and Art therapy. There is a wide range of therapeutic styles and modalities, and it is for you to decide what you think will work for you.
NB: If you want to know more about single session therapy, as a practitioner, take a look at Windy Dryden’s “The Single-Session Counselling Primer”