Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)



Why Interpersonal Therapy​ (IPT)?

IPT is an evidence based treatment and focuses on relieving symptoms by improving social support and interpersonal functioning.
IPT focuses on interpersonal relationships and communication.

How does IPT work?

A central idea in IPT is that symptoms are linked to a lack of perceived social support and current difficulties in everyday relationships with other people.
IPT focuses on four areas and are as follow:

  • CONFLICT -relationships are a source of tension and distress.
  • TRANSITION as related to life changes that affect people’s feelings about themselves and others.
  • GRIEF and loss.
  • SENSITIVITY – characterised by difficulties in starting or sustaining relationships mainly caused by an insecure attachment.

The structure of IPT consists of three phases as follow:

Assessment or first phase – focuses on collecting information about the client’s timeline, interpersonal inventory and making decisions about the focus of therapy.
The middle phase -focuses on using therapeutic techniques to address the problem.
The Ending phase  – focuses on dealing with any sense of loss associated with the end of therapy and prevention and relapse plans.

Who can benefit?

IPT is most often used during the acute phase of major depression.

It is also used to treat the following mental health problems:
– Anxiety
– Bulimia nervosa
– Chronic fatigue
– Bipolar.

IPT has been adapted to treat clients from adolescence to old age. It is both a stand-alone treatment and combined treatment -with medication.

Theoretical Background

IPT was developed by Klerman and  Weissman in the 1970s and based on the work of Stack Sullivan, Meyer, and Bowlby.