Single-session therapy in outpatient mental health services: Examining the effect on mental health symptoms and functioning – 2018

Single-session therapy is being implemented in a number of mental health settings to increase the accessibility and efficiency of services, despite limited evidence supporting its utility. This study evaluated a new single-session therapy program offered to adults at an outpatient community mental health clinic in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The purpose of the study was to determine if clients’ satisfaction with the service and outcomes after attendance supported continued implementation of single-session therapy We hypothesized that after attending the session, clients would (1) be satisfied with the service, (2) experience a decrease in their symptom severity, (3) experience less impairment related to their symptoms, and (4) report improvements in their ability to manage their presenting problem. Participants (n = 109, 63% women, Mage = 38.95, SD = 13.96) completed measures related to their satisfaction with the service, symptom severity, impairment, and their ability to manage their presenting problem before the session, after the session, and at one-month follow-up. The majority of participants rated the session favourably, and experienced a decrease in their symptom severity and associated impairment after attending the session. Moreover, they reported improvements in their ability to manage their presenting problem in terms of the stress it has caused them, their understanding of the cause, their ability to cope, and their knowledge of supporting resources. The single-session therapy service also provided access to services sooner than traditional individual therapy within the clinic. The current findings support continued implementation of single-session therapy.

Victoria Ewen , MA, Aislin R. Mushquash , PhD, C. Psych., Christopher J. Mushquash , PhD, C. Psych., S. Kathleen Bailey , MA, John M. Haggarty , MD & Michael J. Stones , PhD
Social Work in Mental Health, 06 Apr 2018