When we think about counselling we think about going deep into our feelings, taking as much time as we need, and telling our whole story so no wonder it seems counter intuitive to say – less can actually be enough.

Some years ago there was a study reported on by Moshe Talmon where they looked at client’s reports of their experience of just one therapy/counselling session. At the time we assumed that people who didn’t come back after one session represented a failure. We believed it meant that the client felt the session was not helpful, and that we had failed them in some way.

What was really surprising was to find that over three quarters of those contacted reported that they felt that they had a significant benefit from the one session. It seems to be the truth that when we get a chance to talk about what’s troubling us, in a timely manner, in a secure relationship where we can give voice to the issue, to be reassured, offered resources and recommendations about action….  that one session can actually make a big difference. We all know that genuine human interaction, even brief, can be truly healing.

Over time, counselors and researchers have refined the process, and created an intentional interview model where the focus is on solutions, what is happening in the immediate, and strategies/ actions that can be taken. When complex and overwhelming issues are broken down into manageable, bite sized pieces, our capacity to be hopeful and to take action is improved.

Catholic Family Service offers single session counselling which can give immediate relief, and immediate access with no wait list.  Throughout a year of piloting this, we asked clients to rate the degree to which this brief interaction with us reduced their hopelessness, distress, risk and anxiety. Over 80% consistently rated that they agreed or strongly agreed that this was the case. Awesome!

Most people think that to get help, they need to sign up for a number of sessions over a period of time, and build a relationship with a specific counsellor. The feedback however has shown that, much good can come from something much briefer, and that even seeing someone you don’t know each time can work some brief, solution focused magic.

With a focus on ease of access, Catholic Family Service has created a web-based program where anyone can book a single session, at a time that is convenient. … Just click, book and connect!  All that is required are a few simple questions answered to create a profile.  And, if you feel comfortable providing more information, then you have that option too.

Fees for all our counselling programs continue to be, pay what you can afford. We are committed to serve anyone who seeks our service and we are trained to address a wide range of issues.

Our counsellors include Masters students, Interns, Social Workers, Psychologists and Certified Counsellors.   You can access up to one single session per month, for as many times as you feel that you are getting benefit, or you can contact us to access our Eight Session Counselling Program or our Mindfulness Groups.

Our Engagement and Intake Team are always available to provide you with additional advice, coaching, support and information about other services that we offer and ones in the community. Our goal is to offer something of value to everyone who invests their time in contacting us.

Single Session Counselling:  affordable, immediate, brief AND beneficial. Why don’t you try it!

Please call 403 233 2360 or email us intake@cfs-ab.org or go to: https://www.cfs-ab.org/what-we-do/mental-health-wellbeing/single-session-counselling/ 

by Hugh McGeary, MSW, RSW.
Director, Counselling Services, Catholic Family Service of Calgary