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Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

Abstract: What is interpersonal therapy?

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Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

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Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 23 Aug 2008.

What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)? What is Interpersonal Counselling (IPC)


IPT = Interpersonal Psychotherapy is a short-term highly-structured type of psychotherapy with a strong focus on one area of interpersonal problems. The basic therapy manual has been developed for depressive disorders, but similar manuals are available for other psychiatric disorders (e.g. eating disorders).

The main idea of this therapy is to look at the social functioning in one of 4 possible areas of life:

  • Interpersonal Disputes = conflicts
  • Role transitions = marked changes in life
  • Grief (e.g. loss of a loved person)
  • Interpersonal deficits
The therapy is limited to not more than 12 or 16 one hour sessions.

IPC = Interpersonal Counseling is an even shorter option used in medical settings. The current psychosocial functioning is the main focus of this counseling approach (six short sessions of about 15 to 20 minutes). If you are interested in Interpersonal therapy, read more on the webpage of the International Society for Interpersonal Psychotherapy

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