Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Christine A. Beliard

Committee Member

James Hibel

Committee Member

Ronald J. Chenail


In response to the growing awareness of the issue of accessibility to mental health services (World Health Organization, 2013), single session therapy (SST) has been implemented in various settings throughout the world. (Hoyt &Talmon, 2014b; Miller, 2008; Miller & Slive, 2004; Talmon, 2014). Although there has been much advancement in the knowledge and application of SST, an understanding of therapist-client interactional patterns that enfold in SST is extremely scarce. In this study, I investigated how therapists collaboratively improved the talk in SST turn by turn in such a way that promoted therapeutic improvement. I utilized conversation analysis (Sacks et al., 1974) to analyze a video-recording of a SST consultation within a single instrumental case study format (Stake, 2005). The findings of this study provide an interactional understanding of the collaborative practice, valued in SST literature (e.g., Campbell, 2012; Miller & Slive, 2004; Slive et al., 2008). Specifically, the therapists’ collaborative manner is exemplified in how the therapists oriented to the moment-to-moment interaction with the client within and across various interactional practices to coordinate their interaction, form and maintain the therapeutic relationship with the client, invite therapeutic change, and negotiate advice with the client. The findings of this study offer SST therapists and supervisors a potential interactional repertoire that they can utilize in their SST consultations and SST trainings. This study also presents a method of psychotherapy research that can address the research-practice gap (Strong & Gale, 2013).