Interpersonal Therapy demonstrates that symptoms of depression and other mental diseases might appear after a disturbing change in one's social environment. Several social factors can cause it. These include a loved one passing away, separation from a family member or friends, or a conflict with a partner. A life transition, such as moving away for new job opportunities, school, marriage, or relationship, or becoming unwell may also cause it. Once affected, symptoms might impair a person's ability to interact with others. This can lead to unfortunate upheavals in their lives. Many depressed patients may also become self-critical and blame themselves. They may lose sight of their surroundings and turn inward.
Whether these changes in life events occur before or after developing and exhibiting symptoms of mental health issues, IPT requires patients to address the distressing event(s) and develop social abilities. If the patient can overcome their personal and relationship issues, their symptoms can also resolve. So, it is crucial to contact your mental healthcare provider when your symptoms worsen and affect your social abilities.
Communicating these concerns takes time. One may also feel hesitant to visit a therapist when they are facing stressful life events. But now, you can bring therapy home to you! Online interpersonal therapy allows you to opt for treatment from the privacy and comfort of your home. This method enables those in rural, underdeveloped areas with limited resources to access treatment more quickly. Virtual sessions can have more pros, even from a clinical perspective. That is because they need less time and resources yet provide effective outcomes.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a time-limited, evidence-based practice. It is also an attachment-focused treatment. It centers on relieving the symptoms of several mental health disorders. This is achieved by improving and enhancing interpersonal functionality. This means that this short-term treatment strives to cultivate strong attachments as it believes that relational deficits impact mental health.
The treatment is short, usually about 12-16 weeks. Its goal is to reduce the suffering of the patients to improve their relationships with those around them. The primary focus of this approach is on the social support you receive from others and how those relationships affect your mental health. The proponents believe that your mood and life situations, especially your relationships, are related. And working on interpersonal effectiveness skills can improve your mental health.
For example, a person going through a job transition may feel that their depressive symptoms have developed after getting into the new role. In this case, IPT may help them better adjust to these changes, accept the new life, and practice mastery over it. It's crucial to rebuild your self-esteem, and this treatment approach can help by assisting you in feeling in control of the demands of your new job. Your therapist will also assist you in developing a feeling of hope and improved coping mechanisms for any challenges your new life and career may present. We frequently lose control over the situations in our lives, but we do have power over how we react to those circumstances. With IPT, you can constructively exercise this power and lead you to the path of recovery!
The treatment process generally starts with a general patient assessment. Then, it is structured into four parts. This is what the treatment model looks like:
Initial Sessions: The initial phase requires the IPT practitioners to conduct an interpersonal inventory. This includes a brief description of the people in the patient's life and how those relationships impact them. This can analyze the patient's relationship patterns, level of intimacy, and specifically, an evaluation of existing relationships. The therapist will have to figure out those relationships which can be classified as one of the four focus areas. These are grief and loss, role disputes, role transitions, or interpersonal deficits. This determines the rest of the therapy.
This is followed by signing a contract, which includes details about each session's number, frequency, and duration. It also provides information about the agreed clinical foci of the treatment, the roles and expectations from the patient and the therapist, contingencies, such as missed sessions, medical illnesses, and holidays, and critical information about treatment boundaries and conduct.
Intermediate Sessions: The middle phases need a collaborative effort of the therapist and the patient to address the problems rectified in the initial clinical trials. After identification, the patient must explore their perceptions and expectations about the relationship. This can help determine the link between the challenging area and the symptoms exhibited.
Following this is a brainstorming session to find out and put in place the proposed solution. The patient is also responsible for sharing feedback about the tried solution and its outcomes in the following session. The patient and therapist then discuss these outcomes and make any necessary adjustments. This can be beneficial in managing similar future scenarios.
Treatment Conclusion: The terminal 3-4 sessions revolve around the termination of the contract. It also reviews the progress of the patient in terms of symptom relief. This provides better proof of the effectiveness of IPT. The specific targets of treatment completion are to foster the patient's independent functioning. It also aims to increase their sense of competence. This part of the treatment process aims to consolidate gains and anticipate future problems. Even though the patient is expected to function independently and effectively, the IPT therapist will be in contact in case of emergencies.
Maintenance Therapy: Maintenance treatment intends to prevent relapse and maintain productive and efficient interpersonal functionality. Unlike traditional therapy, IPT does not terminate after the concluding sessions. In fact, therapeutic encounters in the future are anticipated, and provisions are prepared for them.
There are various benefits of IPT. These include:
IPT uses various traditional and directive techniques. All types are implemented to help the patient modify their interpersonal relationships. Some common techniques include:
IPT was initially developed by Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman as a brief therapy for major depressive disorder because patients with depressive symptoms frequently struggle with connections. This can lead to social isolation. However, it can now treat several other mental health conditions. These consist of:
We often dismiss the importance of sustaining relationships. However, as illustrated, it can lead to several severe problems. IPT can help you cope with many of these interpersonal conflicts, but some people think there is a shame when seeking therapy. This is not the case at all.
There is no shame in seeking help if you need it. We all have our problems, and sometimes, we need someone else to talk to. A professional knows how the mind works and can teach you some techniques to cope productively.
And with IPT, you can learn this and more. Speaking to a counselor is beneficial and can help you grow. A good counselor will tell you if they can help you, and you can try a session and see if it's for you. You never know; you may improve little by little and come out with a new outlook on life.
At DocVita, we have several experts in this field. They can lend you a helping hand and a compassionate ear, helping you through this challenging phase of life by providing effective treatment to suit your personal needs. Book an appointment with us today!