Interpersonal Psychotherapy
for Depression

WHAT IS INTERPERSONAL PSYCHOTHERAPY?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), as developed by Drs. Klerman and Weissman in the 1960s, is a short term evidence based model for the treatment of clients with depression. IPT is recommended by the Canadian and American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations in their treatment guidelines as the gold standard of treatment equal in its effectiveness to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). IPT can be provided to adolescents, adults and geriatric patients individually, in groups, or with couples and families.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF INTERPERSONAL PSYCHOTHERAPY?

IPT views depression as being somehow connected to the important relationships in your life. The client is never viewed as being at fault for being depressed. Rather, depression is viewed as a treatable illness just like any other illness. The focus of IPT is to reduce depression symptoms, improve interpersonal functioning, and increase social support. Through initial assessment, the therapist and client will locate the client’s depression-related stressors in one of four interpersonal focus areas:

 

Role Disputes: depressed mood related to strain in one or more of your relationships

Role Transitions: depressed mood related to the stress of taking on a new role

Complicated Grief: depressed mood due to unresolved grief

Social Deficits: depressed mood due to social isolation

 

Once a focus area has been determined, the client will create a very specific goal and, with IPT skill-specific support from the therapist, work to achieve this goal in a specific number of sessions.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INTERPERSONAL PSYCHOTHERAPY?

IPT is an evidence-based therapy which means there is scientific evidence that it is effective in treating depression.

It is a no-fault therapy which takes the pressure off of clients in believing they are to blame for their depression: this often leads to early improvements in mood.

IPT works to empower the client to use tools and newly acquired skills beyond the therapy setting.

IPT utilizes a well defined client goal so that progress can be measured.

IPT is short term, typically 12-16 sessions, so it is cost effective.

IPT is time-limited and this works to motivate the client to achieve their goal.

IPT offers an optional maintenance component (i.e once per month) to help to maintain gains over time.