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Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a type of treatment for patients with depression which focuses on past and present social roles and interpersonal interactions. It focuses on the interaction between interpersonal dysfunction and psychological symptoms.

IPT is a type of time-limited psychotherapeutic depression treatment which focuses on recent life stressors of losses, changes or conflicts in current relationships that underlie distress. Examples of the types of interpersonal problems for which this treatment approach can be helpful include disputes with significant others, grief and loss, and social role transitions, such as retirement or divorce.

Techniques of interpersonal therapy include:

  • Identification of Emotion— helping the person identifies what their emotion is and where it is coming from.
  • Expression of Emotion— this involves helping the person express their emotions in a healthy way.
  • Dealing with Emotional Baggage— often, people bring unresolved issues from past relationships to their present relationships. By looking at how these past relationships affect their present mood and behavior, they are in a better position to be objective in their present relationships.

The primary goal of this therapy is to improve communication skills and increase self-esteem during a short period of time. It usually lasts three to four months and works well for depression caused by loss and grief, relationship conflicts, major life events, social isolation, or role transitions.