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Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

❇️ Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is mainly used for moderate to severe depression, but has also been used for other issues.

❇️ IPT is a time-limited, structured therapy, (usually 8-16 sessions) which looks to reduce the symptoms of depression and improve interpersonal function and social adjustment.

❇️ IPT is based upon the premise that psychological issues can occur as a response to difficulties in the interactions clients have with others. When this goes wrong, this cycle can continue as the depressed mood influences how they are able to interact with others.

❇️ The main focus is in the here-and-now-, in current circumstances and interpersonal relationships. Addressing distress is by looking at resolving any disputes and difficulties in relating to others, by developing insight and making changes.

❇️ The framework follows phases of assessing the problems to select the focus for the work; interventions within the relevant interpersonal problem area; followed by reviewing progress and setting up measures for relapse prevention.

❇️ By focusing on, and improving the quality of interactions and relations with others, clients can improve their mood and wellbeing. Clients often access IPT for issues like bereavement, relationship issues, life changes that involve their relationships with others, and when they are suffering due to conflict with others.

NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which tells NHS doctors which treatments to use for diseases and conditions) recommends IPT as part of its 2022 guidelines for depression in adults where medication alone is not suitable or not helping (NICE NG222; 1.9.5), and in combination with medication for people with depression who also have a diagnosis of personality disorder (NICE NG222; 1.11.2).


Depression in adults: treatment and management
NICE guideline [NG222]Published: 29 June 2022

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