What is Interpersonal Therapy?

What is Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy is one of the forms of therapy that the My Possible Self app is based upon. It’s a trusted form of therapy which focuses on how our interactions with other people can affect our feelings, and vice versa.

What does Interpersonal Therapy help with?

Interpersonal Therapy can be effective for people with depression, as well as anxiety, PTSD, addiction and social phobia, among other things. It helps people resolve conflicts, improve relationships and understand the impact life events can have on our interactions.

For example, Nicola and her partner have found they’re arguing a lot recently. Nicola doesn’t want the relationship to end, but she finds herself becoming more and more distant and irritable. She seeks support from a therapist who asks Nicola about what’s been happening both inside the relationship and in other aspects of her life.

During the sessions, it emerges that Nicola’s job is at risk due to a restructure at the company she works for. Nicola’s previous relationship broke down when her partner was made redundant. Financial pressures put a heavy strain on the relationship and in the end they went their separate ways. Nicola is worried that if she gets made redundant, her partner will leave her. She has been distancing herself from her partner as a defence mechanism in anticipation of things going wrong.

The therapist helps Nicola to identify these fears, and to voice them to her partner, which leads to a long and very positive talk about the future.

How does Interpersonal Therapy work?

Interpersonal Therapy looks at how we relate to and communicate with each other. It recognises that depression isn’t always a direct result of relationship issues, but that there is a close link. It doesn’t only look at relationships with partners – IPT also covers how we interact with friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Building up a supportive network of people is important to our mental health, and this is the rationale behind interpersonal therapy.

It’s usually used in face to face therapy but, as with our app, it can be used as part of digital health programmes.

What is involved in Interpersonal Therapy sessions?

 The therapist may explore the immediate issues that are impacting your relationships, as well as what else is going on in your life and what has happened in the past.

You and your therapist you will then work together to define any interpersonal issues you want to address. Together you will then address these concerns to understand them better, learn how to make positive changes. Here at My Possible Self, we incorporate Interpersonal Therapy techniques in our self-improvement app, to help people have more positive interactions for better mental health. You can download the app here.

Does Interpersonal Therapy work?

Research has shown that IPT is an effective treatment for depression. IPT is a versatile form of therapy that can also be used to help with other issues. It may be used on its own, or alongside other treatments, such as medication.

For IPT to be effective, the person in therapy must be willing to self-reflect and examine their role in the problem. Like CBT, IPT helps people to regain control of mood and functioning.

My Possible Self is a digital mental health toolkit that uses IPT techniques to take you on a self-development journey. It uses content that’s proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression in eight weeks. get the app now, and why not start with our free module, Managing Fear and Anxiety.

Sam Weston

I am a social media manager, content writer and audio enthusiast - I set a world record once upon a time!