Do you have constant relationship troubles? Has life changed a lot, and you feel a bit lost? Or do you often feel alone, even when with others?

What is interpersonal therapy?

Interpersonal therapy, also called “IPT therapy”, is a short-term talk therapy, done in groups or one-on-one.

It believes that there is a direct link between our relationships and the way we feel.

By fixing our relating issues, we can improve our moods, and by improving our moods, our relationships benefit, in what is a sort of symbiotic relationship.

What are interpersonal deficits?

The focus of interpersonal therapy is on what it calls ‘interpersonal deficits’. These are:

  • social isolation (loneliness, not feeling connected to those around you)
  • unresolved grief (the loss of someone recently or in the past)
  • life transitions (retirement, moving country, divorce)
  • interpersonal disputes (fights with partners, family, friends, colleagues, or even conflict with yourself).

How is IPT different than other talk therapies?

1. It doesn’t look much at your past.

With IPT, after the first few sessions where your therapist gets to know you, the focus is on the relationships you are dealing with here and now.

2. It doesn’t look for what is ‘wrong’ with you.

Instead it focuses on is what is wrong with your relationships and social environments. What patterns are you stuck in that aren’t working for you?

3 It’s not focused on your thoughts and feelings.

Interpersonal therapy of course discusses your distorted unhelpful thoughts, when they arise in discussions about your relationships. But it doesn’t focus on fixing your thoughts like CBT therapy, which sees thinking as the main cause of mood disorders. Again, here the focus is on relating.

4. It looks outwards, not inwards.

When we have a mood disorder we blame ourselves, and many therapies look to find what is wrong with our thoughts and feelings. Interpersonal therapy looks outward for the causes of your distress. Has there been a role change, such as a new job or breakup? A loss or bereavement? A fight with a colleague? The idea is that solving these exterior issues helps you feel better.

5. There is a strong focus on a warm relationship with your therapist.

With interpersonal therapy your therapist works to quickly develop an empathetic connection with you.

What can interpersonal therapy help me with?

Interpersonal therapy was originally designed to treat major depression, with a study showing it was comparable to the use of a tricyclic antidepressant, and as effective as CBT.

But it is now also suggested as helpful for the following:

Is it the same as ‘dynamic interpersonal therapy’?

DIT, or ‘dynamic interpersonal therapy’, is also a short-term therapy that focuses on your relationships.

But DIT integrates psychodynamic components. Psychodynamic therapy believes your present day issues are created by unresolved past issues. This means that unlike interpersonal therapy, which focuses on your current relationships, DIT will see you talking about and troubleshooting your past relationships.

Is interpersonal therapy right for me?

Do life events tend to quickly affect your moods? And do you find you often have difficulties communicating or relating to others? Have you struggled with depression and anxiety lately? And want a therapy that doesn't make you endlessly talk about your family and history? Then IPT might be perfect for you.

Ready to try interpersonal therapy and stop feeling lost and lonely? Use our easy booking tool to find your perfect IPT therapist now.

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