Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a short-term (16 to 20 sessions) therapy that emphasizes the role of interpersonal issues and relationships. The focus therapy is on interpersonal issues that seem to be most important in the onset and/or maintenance of psychological distress. Usually, these involve a recent transition (e.g., divorce, marriage, break-up, moving, job loss, starting school), a dispute (e.g., marital problems, difficulties at work, family problems, difficulties with friends), a recent loss (e.g., miscarriage, death, illness) or negative interpersonal patterns. The first 1-3 sessions of IPT are devoted to the assessment and identification of your specific interpersonal stressors.
IPT is a time-sensitive treatment, normally delivered over a period of 16 to 20 sessions. The theory behind IPT is that the interpersonal relationships we develop throughout our lives vastly impact our emotions and our mental and physical health.
Some of the reasons that patients begin IPT include:
Essentially any change in your life, which alters your current social situation and causes you mental distress as a side effect, is cause for considering interpersonal psychotherapy treatment.
Before you begin IPT, our therapist may request that you create a list of your life areas where you feel distressed or tension. This helps us determine which interpersonal relationships are triggers for these emotions.
Ask yourself questions like:
The first 1 to 3 sessions of your treatment are then dedicated to assessing these triggers and developing coping mechanisms for handling the interpersonal stress you feel during the day to day life.
As your treatment continues, sessions will begin to focus on problem resolution throughout interpersonal relationship issues. This process will be unique to your personal needs and situation. At the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre, we know no two people are exactly alike. We customize your sessions to meet you where you are in your Interpersonal Psychotherapy journey.
IPT spans a wide assortment of mental stressors and interpersonal problems, including depression, mood problems, and sleep disorders. Within the realm of interpersonal psychotherapy, there are additional subcategories that further distinguish coping strategies for individual therapies.
The four major areas of focus in Interpersonal Psychotherapy are:
Within each of these subcategories, there is a further division between causes, symptoms, and resolution methods. Your plan of action will depend on how individual elements of your interpersonal relationships affect your life.
IPT can be used to treat multiple psychological issues in both adults and adolescents, including stress, conflict within relationships, eating disorders, and depression. Sometimes IPT is combined with other treatments to help improve mental and physical wellness. Your psychotherapy sessions will provide you with the skills and tools necessary to change negative thoughts and emotions into positive experiences long after your treatment has ended. This helps you be a better communicator, leader and improves confidence in interpersonal situations.
The research and results behind IPT have proven it effective in treating many mental health disorders. As your abilities to handle interpersonal strengths, you will notice a significant difference in how you think and feel emotionally and physically.
With longstanding success within the world of cognitive and interpersonal therapy, CITC has been serving Ontario for many years. With intensive training in various aspects of psychotherapy, our team of experienced therapists are consistently following new information and research to supply the newest and best therapeutic practices to our clients.
Interpersonal relationships are a major part of human life. From work to home and beyond, the relationships in your life dictate the events you partake in, the activities you enjoy, the place you work, and much more. When there is turmoil within these relationships, or yourself concerning your relationships, other areas of your life suffer the consequences. This also impacts mental and physical wellbeing.
Working with a psychotherapist at the Cognitive & Interpersonal Therapy Centre provides the skills and support you need to manage your interpersonal relationships and reach emotional and mental goals. By developing the tools needed to self-solve these problems, you can move forward in life confident in any given situation.
Remember, you are never alone. For more information on IPT, we invite you to contact CITC. You can reach out through our online contact page or by calling 1-416-570-5050.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) was initially developed for the treatment of adult depression. It has now been adapted for many different issues and ages, and is a recognized treatment by the World Health Organization.
Interpersonal psychotherapy for adolescents (IPT-A) is a short-term individual psychotherapy for adolescents ages 13–18 who are suffering from depressed mood. IPT-A focuses on how relationships impact mood and how mood impacts relationships. The goals of IPT-A are to help adolescents recognize their feelings and become aware of how interpersonal stressors or conflicts affect their mood. Therapy aims to help adolescents improve their communication and problem-solving skills, better cope with change, develop resilience, and increase social supports.
Grief is chosen as the IPT focus area when psychological distress is associated with the death of a person close to you. Grief can also be conceptualized more broadly as other losses in your life, such as loss of a relationship, loss of physical health, infertility, anticipatory grief of another’s or of one’s own death. The goal of grief as the focus area is to help you work through the phases of loss and to help you come to a resolution of your grief. Working through grief not only means fully exploring and understanding your grief reaction, but also communicating that experience to others and developing a social support network.
Role Dispute is chosen as the IPT focus area when psychological distress is associated with conflict in one or more of your relationships (i.e., spouse, parent, children, friends, co-workers). Goals in therapy include staging the dispute, improving communication, and choosing an action plan. Staging the dispute involves helping you figure out if there are ongoing attempts to bring out changes in the relationship, or if those attempts are at an impasse or if the relationship is beyond repair. IPT helps you to improve your communication, negotiate your role expectations, or transition towards a termination of the relationship.
Your therapist will help you evaluate important aspects of your relationship including: How was your relationship prior to the difficulties? What changed in the relationship? What are the issues in the dispute? What are your expectations about the relationship? What are the other person’s expectations about the relationship? What do you wish would change in the relationship? What stops you from resolving the issues?
Role Transition is chosen as the IPT focus area when psychological distress is associated with difficulty coping with changes in your current life circumstances. Role transitions may occur in many domains including employment, relationship status, physical health, living conditions, socioeconomic status, etc. Sometimes even positive changes in one’s life (marriage, parenthood, moving, job change) can be associated with negative feelings. The therapist will help you to better adjust to these changes and gain mastery in your new role
Interpersonal sensitivity is chosen as the IPT focus area when there is no clear interpersonal or life stressor associated with psychological distress and you describe long standing patterns of poor interpersonal relationships that are affecting your mood. Your therapist will help you examine your interpersonal patterns and help you see if there are specific changes you can make to the ways in which you interact and communicate with others.