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When Less is More: Lessons from 25 Years of Attempting to Maximize the Effect of Each (and Often Only) Therapeutic Encounter

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2012

Moshe Talmon*
Affiliation:
The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and the International Center for SST
*
Address for correspondence: The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo, P.O. Box 8401, Yaffo 61083, Israel. Email: talmon@mta.ac.il
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Abstract

The three main findings of studies conducted by Hoyt, Rosenbaum, and myself during the years 1986–1990 at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, were:

  1. 1. Single session is the most common length of psychotherapy.

  2. 2. The first session in psychotherapy is potentially the most therapeutic and often has the greatest influence on the outcome of therapy.

  3. 3. Single session therapy (SST) is the most cost-effective mode of therapy.

The fact that less is very often better in psychotherapy is by now one of the most validated and consistent findings in evidence-based psychotherapy research. We now think of it as a very common, very useful way of conducting therapy, employing many different approaches and methods to address a wide range of presenting problems. In retrospect, 25 years later, I believe that the essence of single session therapy is still about being present in each and every session as a whole. The goal has always been to make the most of every therapeutic session, whether seeing a client only once or over a long period of time. In a personal communication in 1978, Haley (in Talmon, 1990) predicted that a ‘single interview could become the standard for estimating how long and how successful therapy should be.’ This article explains why it didn't happen.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2012

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