Examining the Incidence and Clients’ Experiences of Single Session Therapy in Italy: A Feasibility Study

Giada Pietrabissa, F. Cannistra, F. Piccirilli, D'Alia P. Paolo, A. Giannetti, L. Piva, F. Gobbato, R. Guzzardi, A. Ghisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Single session therapy (SST) postulates that one session can be sufficient for a client to take charge of the process and work toward their own solutions. Research has been conducted worldwide corroborating SST assumptions with several mental health conditions, but not in Italy. For the first time in Italy, this paper aims to explore: (1) if the most frequent number of sessions in traditional psychotherapy (not SST) is one (Study 1); and (2) the satisfaction of clients who attend SST services and the number who consider one session sufficient to address their presenting problem (Study 2). In Study 1, the records of 476 voluntary clients referred to three different traditional (not SST) psychological services in the west-central region of Latium, Italy, were retrospectively screened, and the number of sessions attended by each client recorded. In Study 2, 85 consecutive clients who voluntarily asked for SST with seven mental health professionals across Italy received a link to an online ad hoc survey, 1–3 weeks after the consultation, evaluating their experience. Study 1 found that the most frequent number of traditional psychotherapeutic (not intentionally SST) sessions was one (124 out of 476 clients (26%). Study 2 found that 44 out of 85 clients (52%) considered one session to be enough, as they felt better or much better and chose not to attend further sessions. Of those who asked for a second session (41 clients), 33 clients (80.5%) indicated that the first session was not enough and 8 clients (19.5%) wanted to address a new problem. These results converge with previous international studies and provide encouragement for the use of SST in both private and public psychological services to address the demand for timely mental health services in Italy. Further research is needed to support the efficacy of SST and to evaluate its cost-effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalTHE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Italian mental health services
  • accessible services
  • cost effective mental health services
  • single session therapy
  • timely mental health services

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