February 20, 2017

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

What is IPT?

Interpersonal Therapy is a time-limited and structured psychotherapy for moderate to severe depression. A central idea in IPT is that psychological symptoms, such as depressed mood, can be understood as a response to current difficulties in our everyday interactions with others. In turn, the depressed mood can also affect the quality of our relationships. An example may help: If someone is depressed they may withdraw from those close to them, apparently refusing their help (perhaps because they feel like a failure and are ashamed of this). Family and friends may feel rejected and hurt, unable to understand why their offers of help are not taken up, and they may, in turn, pull away. The depressed person may take this as confirmation of their view of themselves as a failure, and this could make them feel even more depressed and withdrawn, setting up a vicious circle.

The main focus of IPT is on difficulties in relating to others and helping the person to identify how they are feeling and behaving in their relationships. When a person is able to interact more effectively, their psychological symptoms often improve.