Interpersonal therapy (IPT) was originally created to treat depression. IPT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on you and your relationships with other people. It’s based on the idea that the way we relate to others and ourselves is often at the centre of psychological difficulties.

Are you suffering from depression? Do conflicts with those around you impact your wellbeing and plunge you into a low mood? Or have you suffered a life change that has left you struggling to get back on track? Interpersonal therapy might be for you.

What is interpersonal therapy?

Interpersonal therapy primarily focuses on the way your relationships affect you and how mental health difficulties can affect your relationships. By recognising the problems we have with relating and learning to navigate our social environments better, we feel better.

Interpersonal therapy was initially devised as a treatment for depression in the 1970s. It is currently offered by the NHS in the UK if your depression is severe and hasn’t responded to treatments like CBT.

A meta-analysis of ninety studies found that interpersonal therapy is effective as a treatment for depression and may prevent new depressive disorders and relapse. The study found that IPT may be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating depression. Researchers also found that IPT may be effective in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions.

What can interpersonal therapy help with?

As well as depression, interpersonal therapy is suggested for:

Advantages of interpersonal therapy

  • IPT is effective at treating depression; several studies found that IPT may be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating depression and prevents relapses
  • you will focus on the present; you may discuss your past but only as a reference point to what's happening now
  • you will discover if the way you relate to others is causing problems and how this could be improved
  • IPT is less structured than CBT but more structured than other psychotherapy approaches

How does interpersonal therapy work?

Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, the focus of IPT therapy is not on finding the unconscious origin of your current feelings and behaviour or learning new thought patterns. Instead, IPT focuses on your current reality and the immediate difficulties that contribute to your symptoms.

When you start interpersonal therapy, you will meet your therapist for an initial assessment. Together you will decide on the key issues to focus on in your therapy. Usually, IPT is a short-term therapy, lasting of up to twenty sessions.

How to find an interpersonal therapist

If you are interested in interpersonal therapy, your first task is to find a therapist at the time and cost that suit you. In the UK, the NHS offers interpersonal therapy, often if you suffer from depression that is not responding to treatment. Ask your GP about the services and waiting lists in your area. To find private interpersonal therapists offering online and in-person appointments as soon as tomorrow click here or sign up below.

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