Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)

Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)

What is Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM)

Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) stands as a unique and lesser-known approach to treating mental health disorders. SSCM was initially developed for individuals with eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa, but has since expanded its application to various other mental health conditions.

Specialist Supportive Clinical Management was developed in response to a shortage of evidence-based treatments for anorexia nervosa. In the early 2000s, a group of researchers led by Ross D. Crosby and colleagues recognised the need for an effective treatment that could be delivered by non-specialist clinicians. Consequently, SSCM was created as a manual-based therapy that could be implemented by general mental health clinicians with minimal additional training. Since its inception, SSCM has been subjected to several studies and has been adapted for use in the treatment of other mental health conditions such as Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Principles of SSCM

The primary principle underlying SSCM is the provision of a supportive and empathic therapeutic relationship. This approach emphasises the importance of the therapeutic alliance, fostering trust and collaboration between the therapist and the client. SSCM integrates elements of psychoeducation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy to facilitate the client's understanding of their disorder and to help them develop coping strategies that promote recovery.

Techniques used in SSCM

SSCM employs a variety of techniques to provide comprehensive support to individuals with mental health disorders. Some of the core techniques include:

1. Psychoeducation: SSCM therapists educate clients about their mental health condition, its symptoms, and potential health consequences. This knowledge empowers clients to better understand their struggles and work towards recovery.

2. Nutritional rehabilitation: For clients with eating disorders, therapists provide guidance on healthy eating patterns, meal planning, and weight restoration, as needed.

3. Goal directed therapy with an emphasis on quality of life

4. Relapse prevention: As clients progress in their recovery, therapists help them develop coping strategies to prevent relapse and maintain their improvements.

Effectiveness of SSCM

Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of SSCM in treating eating disorders and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Research has shown that SSCM is as effective as other evidence-based treatments such as CBT and interpersonal therapy (IPT) for Anorexia Nervosa, and may even yield better results in some cases.

How long is treatment?

Treatment ideally is conducted over a 20-30 week period with a frequency of weekly appointments. There are three phases in SSCM, the first phase is the assessment phase (sessions 1-3). The second phase focuses on treatment (Sessions 3-17) and final stage is the concluding phase (sessions 17-20).    

Who might benefit from it?

• Individuals that are ambivalent to change/ low motivation for change

• Individuals that have tried several therapeutic approaches with little success

• Individuals wanting a flexible approach in therapy where there is freedom to create your own agenda

• Individuals wanting a slower approach in therapy

Need help?
We are a psychology centre focused on empathetic treatment of complex mental health issues and eating disorders for adults and adolescents (ages 14+).

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