Evolving Single Session Therapy: An Online Learning Series...

Drawing from the genre of contemporary Brief Therapies this online learning series provides a forum to extend your single session therapy skill-set from the comfort of your home or office.  Together we are evolving single session therapy - pushing what is possible and exploring novel ways to proceed. Each module is available to purchase for your agency, staff team to explore the ideas together in a supported learning environment.  

A foundation in single session practice is recommended.   


This webinar will explore new possibilities for single session therapy (SST) when moving away from the traditional psychological process of treatment and move towards ceremony. Michael White (2011) introduced the notion of therapy likened to ceremony and has invoked the ‘Rites of Passage’ metaphor (Van Gennep, 1909, 1960; Turner, 1969) as a guide. This re-conceptualization is one of the most important applications of theory to practice in SST.

The Rites of Passage metaphor foregrounds the concept of ‘change as movement,’ where expressions of distress are heard as actions. Attention is drawn to the hopeful small steps people have taken and their ideas about the life they prefer and for which they are striving.

This training will also explore other ways change can be represented to expand on your professional repertoire and open new ways of talking with people experiencing distress, trauma, or crisis in a single session.

Learning objectives:

• Understand how the ‘rites of passage’ metaphor re-shapes single session therapy

• Learn how to hear distress as action

• Acquire many new questions to assist people facing distress and despair

• Gain less known metaphors for change and what they make possible in meaning-making

This training is suitable for: Mental health professionals and direct service workers with experience providing single session, walk-in, and time constrained therapeutic services for children, youth, families, and adult clients.


In considering outcomes, admittedly there is no perfect therapy however data suggesting positive outcomes does not mean we are exempt from facilitating a process that has been hazardous, flawed, or incongruent with our intentions.  Most often ethics discussions are concerned with well know genres of ethics such as rule based ethics or ethics of control.  What is often missing and most relevant to todays single session practice is discussion of relational ethics. In entering into relational ethics discussions we transcend 'model speak’ keeping the experience of the other at the forefront of practice.  In WI/SST there is tremendous responsibility to give attention to how we are with Others as we may not have the opportunity to see someone again to repair a mishap. In this online module we will explore relational ethics of single session therapy.  This invites a focus on ‘how we do what we do’ and the possible effects on peoples’ lives.   (1.5 hrs)

Participants will explore:

  • Distinctions between ethics of collaboration and ethics of control
  • Relational ethics and implications for single session practice
  • Ideas about resisting replicating the politics of culture in therapy


While the walk-in clinic and single session conversations are not meant as a replacement for direct crisis services that provide personal risk assessment, there is a great deal that can be accomplished while shoring up safety. It is important to make visible the tensions and possibilities that emerge when we meet with people at the walk-in therapy clinic who express a compromised sense of personal safety, overwhelming life circumstances, and/or struggle to see the possibilities for their future. I recognize that these conversations can be messy- that is slow to progress, difficult to know how to proceed at times, yet have the potential for life changing ripples. In this module we’ll move away from the notion of the experience of crisis as a breakdown or malfunction of a person’s coping to explore the idea of experiencing crisis as relating to a transition- a shift from role, context or identity that’s no longer viable.  This idea opens up many conversations in singe session therapy that honour people’s pain and yet are hope-friendly, and possibility informed.  (3 hrs)

Participants will explore:

  • The concept of crisis as transition
  • Questions that honour pain and distress while un-clouding hope and possibility
  • Ideas for shoring up safety and circles of support


© Scot J. Cooper Inc. 2023