Single Session Therapy for Children and Families

  Barriers to Child Mental Health

Barriers to Child Mental Health

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) estimates that “1.5 million Canadian children and youth (aged 0-24) are affected by mental illness and are not receiving access to appropriate supports, treatment or care”. Two significant barriers parents experience when seeking treatment for their child are the financial cost of therapy and the time commitment of multiple counselling sessions.

Single Session Therapy

Single session therapy provides a way for parents to access the benefits of counselling for their child and family when finances and time are limited.

A single session of therapy can result in many benefits:

  • reductions in stress
  • reduced negative physical symptoms related to the identified problem
  • reduced negative coping
  • increased knowledge of the cause of the identified problem
  • increased confidence to address the identified problem
  • increased knowledge of resources
  • increased positive coping

Improvements from a single counselling session has been shown to last for over a year! [1]

50% of people accessing single session therapy required no further mental health service! [2]

What to Expect

Single session therapy operates under the assumption that your child and her counsellor may not meet again. As a result, this type of counselling is very focused. A counsellor will work with you or your child to develop new strategies, tools, and ways of thinking that can be applied as the issue unfolds, changes or when new problems come up.

Common Reasons for Single Session Therapy

  • behavioral difficulties
  • difficulty making friends
  • family conflict
  • school concerns
  • parenting challenges

Next Steps

If you are concerned about your child's mental health or have received a diagnosis for your child that you need support with Edgar Psychological can help.


[1] Perkins, R., & Scarlett, G. (2008). The effectiveness of single session therapy in child and adolescent mental health. Part 2: An 18-month follow-up study. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 81(2), 2044-8341. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/147608308X280995

[2] Duvall, J., Young, K., Kays‐Burden, A., Duncan, D., Cohen, N., & Kiefer, H. (2012, November). No more, no less: Brief mental health services for children and youth. Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.excellenceforchildandyouth.ca/sites/default/files/resource/policy_brief_mental_health_services.pdf