Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

Treatment Options - Interpersonal

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, focused therapy approach for depression. It focuses on addressing interpersonal issues and social functioning. IPT recognizes that interpersonal relationships don’t cause depression, but depression can impact and affect one’s interpersonal relationships. 

IPT addresses interpersonal issues as an effective treatment method for mild to moderate forms of clinical depression. It focuses on empathizing with how depression impacts a person’s relationships with their family and peers and providing support to one's interpersonal relationships. 

With IPT, you learn how to fix your life's problems right now to improve your quality of life immediately. 

Four Problem Areas Interpersonal Therapy Addresses

Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on giving you strategies to address problems in four different areas of your life. 

  • Role Disputes: This is when you have issues with someone else in your life about your role in the relationship. Your therapist will help you figure out the problem, look at patterns within the relationship, and find a solution that satisfies both parties. 
  • Role Transitions: When you have a significant transition in your life, such as starting a new job, moving, or having a child, it can be challenging to adjust to your new role. Your therapist can help you move on from your old role and embrace the new role and phase of life.
  • Grief: Losing someone you love requires a healing journey. It is normal to be upset when someone dies and to need a temporary break from your usual activities. However, grief shouldn’t stop you from living your life or from achieving your long-term goals. Sometimes, grief may occur long after losing someone. Your therapist will help you learn how to cope and deal with grief in a healthy way.
  • Interpersonal Deficits: If you have relationships that don’t feel fulfilling like something is missing, your therapist will help you examine your past and present relationships. They will help you figure out how to build meaningful, lasting relationships. 

How Interpersonal Therapy Works

IPT is a short-term form of treatment. It generally consists of 12 to 16 one-hour weekly sessions, with additional sessions added if needed. 

You will work with your therapist during the first few sessions to gain an understanding of how interpersonal therapy works. 

You will work together to identify specific interpersonal issues or problems you are currently experiencing. You will record all interpersonal issues in your life, rank them, and figure out which issues are most important to treat to address your depression. 

By undergoing this process, you will be able to focus your remaining sessions on the issues you have identified that you want to work on the most. 

You will learn how to more deeply understand the interpersonal issues you are facing, how to make adjustments in your life, and then actively apply those adjustments to your life. You should notice a change in your personal life and relationships at the end of your treatment based on this action-orientated approach. 

Your therapist will use a range of different techniques to help you address your interpersonal issues, including

  • Emotional identification: Your therapist will help you identify underlying emotions, where they come from, and how to move forward.
  • Healthy expression: Your therapist will work with you to help you learn how to share and show emotions in a non-destructive manner. 
  • Dealing with the past: IPT primarily focuses on issues in the present, but you will also learn how your past can affect the present and how to look at present situations more objectively. 
  • Supportive listening: Your therapist will listen to your issues in a supportive manner.
  • Communication analysis: How you communicate and express yourself to others can impact your interpersonal relationships. Your therapist will help you analyze your communication style. They will help you make adjustments to improve your interpersonal relationships. 
  • Encouragement of affect: This is about providing you with a safe space to experience and deal with unpleasant and unwanted emotions and feelings. You will learn how to accept those feelings. 
  • Role-playing: Role-playing can be very useful to take what you learn in therapy and apply it to real-life relationships. 

The heart of your sessions will be about addressing the issues you identified in your first few sessions and learning how to address them using the techniques you learn in IPT. 

In the last few weeks of therapy sessions, you will deal with facing the end of therapy. You will explore what this loss means to you. You will also focus on how to apply the therapy.

After interpersonal therapy ends, you can supplement the process with ongoing maintenance. Ongoing maintenance consists of less frequent, ongoing sessions, where adjustments made during your short-term IPT are reinforced, and you get the support you need to continue implementing the strategies you learned during IPT.

Benefits of Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy can help you manage depressive symptoms and improve your everyday life. 

  • Better relationships: You will learn how to have healthier and more fulfilling relationships. 
  • Coping skills: You will learn to cope with undesired emotions, such as grief, in a healthy way. You will learn how to manage emotions so they don’t negatively impact your life. 
  • Problem-Solving: You will learn skills to help you handle stress and communicate your thoughts and feelings better. You will learn how to better solve problems in productive ways. 
  • Handle depression: You will learn skills for handling depressive episodes, especially how they impact your interpersonal relationships. 


Use Interpersonal Therapy to Get the Help You Need

Finding the proper treatment when you have treatment-resistant depression can be challenging. Interpersonal therapy is one of the 200 treatment options our expert team will consider when developing your treatment plan. IPT can be one tool you use to manage your depression. 

Options MD is here to help. Text us to start treatment now. Join our Facebook community, where you can connect with other individuals with treatment-resistant depression. 

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