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Inter-Personal Therapy (IPT)

What is Interpersonal Therapy?

IPT is a time-limited and structured psychotherapy. A central idea in IPT is that psychological problems, such as depressed mood, can be understood as a response to current difficulties in relationships. In turn, the depressed mood can also affect the quality of our relationships.

An example may help: If someone is depressed they may withdraw from those close to them, apparently refusing their help (perhaps because they feel like a failure and are ashamed of this). Family and friends may feel rejected and hurt, unable to understand why their offers of help are not taken up, and they may, in turn, pull away. The depressed person may take this as confirmation of their view of themselves as a failure, and this could make them feel even more depressed and withdrawn, setting up a vicious circle.

 Your therapist will ask you questions to help you to take stock of the relationships that are important to you, looking at their strengths and any problems. Once you and your therapist have gained a clearer picture of the relationship difficulties that are connected with your symptoms, you can then agree on the main relationship problem areas that therapy will focus on

 This information is taken from the leaflet “Which Talking Therapy for Depression?” (DoH, 2009) To read the full leaflet please click here.

To find out more about IPT and what you can expect from your therapist visit: and read the guide for service users.

Last updated: 18 February, 2013

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