One-At-A-Time Therapy FAQs

What is OAATT?

One-At-A-Time Therapy (OAATT) offers a one time session that can help you move forward when you’re facing a specific problem. It is intentionally structured with the mindset that a single session is enough to help you get unstuck. You leave the session with a clear, tangible plan. While a single session might be all you need, more help is available. Other campus and community resources can be identified when building your plan. You can also book another OAATT session after two weeks.

How do I access an OAATT session?

  1. Book an appointment online.
  2. Our admin staff will send you an email confirming your appointment within two business days and send you paperwork.
  3. Fill out the paperwork, which includes a consent form and questions to reflect on before your session.
  4. Attend the appointment.

Who can access OAATT?

OAATT sessions are available to all undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Alberta. If you recently accessed an OAATT session, you must wait a minimum of two weeks before booking another. If you are already connected to short term therapy or enrolled in a therapy group at CCS, you must wait two weeks after those services have ended to access OAATT.

How do I know if OAATT is right for me?

You may be a good fit for OAATT if:

  • You have a specific concern or goal, but don’t know what to do about it.
  • You are motivated to address the concern.
  • You are action oriented and want solutions you can implement.

What kinds of problems can OAATT help with?

OAATT can help with all kinds of problems as long as they’re specific and present/future oriented. Some common examples of issues that are appropriate for OAATT include:

  • Making a difficult decision
  • Coping with a breakup
  • Facing a life transition (eg. moving to a new place, graduating, starting grad school)
  • Dealing with a conflict
  • Preparing for a challenging conversation
  • Managing work/life balance
  • Navigating a relationship concern
  • Supporting someone who is struggling 
  • Experiencing homesickness

What should I expect at an OAATT session?

There are four phases to an OAATT session :

  1. Preparing: The paperwork you fill out before the appointment will help you reflect. It will ask you to identify your main concern, your strengths/supports/resources that can help in this situation, as well as your hopes for what you want out of your session. It’s helpful to reflect on your concern before the session so you can get the most out of it. 
  2. Goal Setting: We work with you to set a realistic and attainable goal at the start of the session.
  3. Exploring the Work: We explore the concern together and create a plan for next steps. This process involves identifying your strengths, skills and external resources. We will also look at potential barriers and begin problem solving to help you build confidence and motivation to engage in the plan. 
  4. Doing the Work: At the end of the session, we encourage you to reflect on the session, digest and absorb what you learned and take action. One session is all many students will need. If you need more help, you can rebook another session.

What is the difference between one at a time therapy (OAATT) and short-term therapy?

OAATT is a therapy framework that aims to help you get unstuck and find solutions in one session. It works best for specific concerns or goals that are present or future focused. It doesn’t explore the past or historical issues.

Short-term therapy typically involves multiple sessions booked over time to address ongoing mental health and clinical concerns that may be too big to address in one session.  

How long is the wait time to book an appointment?

You can book an appointment up to three business days ahead of time. New appointments open up everyday and are first-come first-serve. You can also call our clinic at 780.492.5205 and ask if there are any same day appointments available.

We don’t keep a wait list. If you can’t find an available appointment or a time that works for you, follow the online booking prompts for interim and/or alternative options. You will be offered other campus and community resources.

Where are the appointments?

In-person therapy appointments are located in SUB 2-703. Reception is open year round Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

CCS also offers telehealth appointments by phone or video.

How much does it cost?

You have free access to all our services at CCS if you are an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Alberta.

Who will know that I am accessing therapy?

Therapy is confidential. We do not share information with the rest of the university or people you know. For example, if a relative or professor contacts our office about you, we cannot and will not share any information including whether or not you are accessing our services. If you want information to be shared with someone, you must provide written consent. 

There are a few circumstances in which professionals may have to break confidentiality for legal or ethical reasons. These situations include:

  • If you are at imminent risk of harming yourself or others
  • You disclose knowledge of ongoing abuse or neglect of a child or dependent adult
  • Your file is subpoenaed or testimony is required by a court of law
  • You suffer a work or school related injury (physical or psychological) that legally must be reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board.

What if I need medication?

If you live with certain conditions including severe anxiety or depression, you may benefit from taking medication. Oftentimes medication combined with therapy can be very effective. If you are interested in medication, you can talk to a physician or request a referral to a psychiatrist. It can also be helpful to see a doctor to ensure your symptoms are not caused by a physical condition. There can be physical causes (eg. hypothyroidism or anemia) for changes in mood, energy, concentration that may require medical treatment rather than therapy.

What are the differences between a counsellor, psychologist, clinical social worker, and psychiatrist?


The term "counsellor" is unregulated in Alberta and so anyone who provides counselling can use this title, regardless of training. Mental health treatment providers can be psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, or have other professional designations, so ask your provider about their credentials!


“A practicing psychologist is trained to assess and diagnose problems in thinking, feeling and behaviour as well to help people overcome or manage these problems. A psychologist is uniquely trained to use psychological tests to help with assessment and diagnosis. Psychologists help people to overcome or manage their problems using a variety of treatments or psychotherapies,” ( Canadian Psychological Association, 2023). Psychologists in Alberta require a master’s degree and/or a doctoral degree. Only individuals registered with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) may use the title "psychologist."


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental health. They provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. They have the ability to prescribe medication and their treatment approaches tend to be more biologically based. Psychiatrists can also provide therapy. 

Clinical Social Workers

“Clinical social work is a specialty practice area of social work which focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances." (National Association of Social Workers, 2004). Clinical social workers in Alberta require a master’s degree and/or doctoral degree. Only individuals registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers may use the title “social worker.”