Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

A time-limited, organized kind of psychotherapy called interpersonal treatment (IPT) aims to improve interpersonal functioning while reducing symptoms. Rather than focusing on difficulties related to childhood or development, it addresses relationships and present challenges. IPT is useful in treating major depressive disorder, anxiety, bulimia nervosa, bipolar disorder, chronic tiredness, and dysthymic disorders. It can be given one-on-one or in groups. Four main areas of attention for the treatment include relational conflict, life transitions, bereavement, and challenges in establishing and maintaining relationships. It comprises information gathering in the first sessions, problem-solving in the middle sessions, and progress evaluation and grieving process in the last sessions before treatment ends.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)


Klerman, Weissman, and other researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the United States in the 1970s had an impact on the creation of IPT. In an effort to combat depression, they began looking into how interpersonal connections contribute to the emergence and persistence of depressed symptoms.

Formalization of IPT: In 1984, Klerman and Weissman published the book "New Applications of Interpersonal Psychotherapy," which formalized the principles and techniques of IPT. This book provided a structured manual for conducting IPT, making it easier for therapists to implement.

Focus theme / core-concept

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy approach that focuses on improving a person's interpersonal relationships and addressing psychological symptoms by addressing specific interpersonal issues. The core concepts of IPT revolve around understanding and addressing the connections between an individual's emotions, thoughts, and interpersonal experiences.


1. IPT has been extensively studied and proven effective in treating depression, particularly mild to moderate forms.

2. IPT is typically a shorter-term therapy, lasting 12 to 16 weeks on average. This structure can be appealing to individuals who prefer a more focused and time-limited approach to therapy.

3. IPT places a strong emphasis on understanding and improving one's relationships with others. It helps individuals identify and address problematic interpersonal patterns and communication difficulties.

4. During IPT, individuals work with their therapist to set clear and specific treatment goals related to their interpersonal issues.

5. IPT often involves learning and practicing effective communication skills, which can be valuable not only in resolving current issues but also in preventing future interpersonal conflicts.


1. IPT seeks to alleviate the individual's psychological distress and symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

2. IPT aims to improve the individual's ability to navigate and manage their relationships more effectively.

3. IPT helps clients identify specific interpersonal difficulties or conflicts that are contributing to their emotional distress.

4. IPT encourages clients to express their emotions openly and constructively.

5. The therapy focuses on building or strengthening the individual's social support network.


1. Identification of Interpersonal Issues: The therapist helps the individual identify specific interpersonal issues and conflicts that may be contributing to their emotional distress.

2. Expression of Emotion: Encouraging the open expression of emotions related to identified interpersonal problems is a crucial aspect. This helps individuals articulate their feelings and understand how emotions impact their relationships.

3. Communication Analysis: Therapists and individuals work together to examine patterns of communication within relationships. This includes exploring how messages are conveyed, and interpreted, and the impact on emotions.

4. Role-playing: Role-playing scenarios are used to help individuals practice and improve their communication skills. This can be particularly helpful in addressing difficult or sensitive conversations.

5. Problem Solving: IPT helps individuals develop problem-solving skills to address interpersonal issues more effectively. This involves exploring potential solutions and considering the consequences of different actions.

6. Grief Work: For individuals dealing with loss, IPT incorporates grief work to help them process and come to terms with the emotions associated with the loss of a loved one or a significant relationship.

7. Role Transition: IPT addresses life changes and transitions, such as marriage, divorce, retirement, or job changes. The focus is on helping individuals adjust to these changes and manage associated emotional challenges.