“You helped by giving me the ladder to exit from a very dark, deep hole which I thought I would be stuck in. Thank you for offering me IPT and giving me the chance to live again”.
(Klerman & Weissman et al, 1984)
Over the years, I have observed fantastic results with IPT, and from clients who have come my way after other therapeutic interventions have not fully tackled symptom resolution.
IPT is practical time-limited, and focused therapy for moderate-severe depression. The importance of relationship-based concerns and communication are explored, which is a key feature of depressive illness.
IPT places focus on the present, so avoids delving too much into causes. Instead, there is acceptance of depression's ability to both cause and reflect interpersonal change and hardship. IPT focuses on everyday challenges that arise maintaining relationships and resolving problems while suffering from a significant depressive episode.
IPT's main clinical goal is to link mood to interactions, and how to recognise that effectively managing interpersonal problems can enhance both relationships and that of a depressive condition at the same time.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy's Objectives:
1. To alleviate depression symptoms
2. To improve the social and interpersonal functioning
IPT is a psychotherapy that is based on scientific data. It has been researched as an acute intervention, as well as a maintenance therapy for major depression. It has been adapted for bipolar disorder and dysthymia. Applications with anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder are ongoing.
As IPT is offered up to 16 sessions (8 with a brief model or up to just 6 with Interpersonal counselling (for distress or mild/moderate depression) this short-term, structured therapy, has three stages, specific goals and uses a variety of techniques.
Assessment takes place in the initial phase, with a focus on both the collaborative diagnosis of depression and the development of an understanding of the interpersonal context:
1) Interpersonal Dispute
2) Interpersonal Role Transitions
4) Interpersonal Sensitivities
Working collaboratively, we will identify which of the four areas link to our therapy focus, based on symptoms and interpersonal experience. This area serves as our main focus in the second stage, therefore working to alleviate symptoms by resolving the principal area of difficulties. The ending of therapy is acknowledged from the offset but really addressed in the final stage, in the context of recurrence and relapse prevention.