Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Sarah Bledsoe

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:
Interpersonal Psychotherapy

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Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a focused, practical, and proven time-limited intervention designed originally for the treatment of outpatients with non-psychotic depression. In the 1970s, Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman sought to compare psychotherapy systematically to pharmacotherapy for the treatment of depression. IPT was originally developed as a manualized intervention that could be reliably delivered by many clinicians and evaluated in clinical trials. IPT grew from the theoretical work of Harry Stack Sullivan and Adolf Meyer, emphasizing the interpersonal nature and psychosocial antecedents of mental disorder, as well as from several empirical studies demonstrating the links between interpersonal stresses and the onset of depression. IPT views the onset of depression as typically occurring in a social and interpersonal context and addresses both the symptoms and the interpersonal life of the patient through a focus on four interpersonal problem areas: grief (complicated bereavement), role disputes, role transitions, and interpersonal deficits (paucity of attachments). The two goals of IPT—to reduce depressive symptoms and help the patient better deal with people and life situations associated with the onset of the current episode of depression—are addressed by assisting the patient to understand depression as an illness and to reduce symptoms by learning new social skills and strengthening or building positive social support networks. IPT’s success in a series of randomized clinical trials led to its expansion to treat a variety of depressive subtypes and other psychiatric syndromes. IPT has since demonstrated efficacy under controlled research conditions for the treatment of a variety of disorders, and the efficacy of IPT as an acute and maintenance treatment for major depression has been well established. IPT has been adapted for the treatment of other mood and non-mood disorders and comorbid conditions, such as depressed HIV-positive outpatients, adolescent depression, dysthymic disorder, depression in pregnant and postpartum women, group format, and bipolar disorder.

Article.  9842 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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