Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy

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  • 1 What is Interpersonal Therapy used for?
  • 2 What is Interpersonal Therapy?
  • 3 What can I expect from Interpersonal Therapy?
  • 4 Interpersonal Therapy techniques
  • 5 Areas where Interpersonal Therapy can help

What is Interpersonal Therapy used for?

Connecting with other people, be it family, partner, friends, co-workers, etc., is an essential part of what makes us human. The vast majority of these relationships enrich our lives and offer us a vital social interaction. Relationships are, however, very complex by nature and the way we deal with them can have a significant impact on our mental well-being.

Interpersonal Therapy focuses primarily on the way our relationships affect us and also how other mental health problems can affect our relationships. Helping us in a variety of problems, this therapy is recommended to help treat depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

What is Interpersonal Therapy?

Interpersonal Therapy is a structured, time-limited therapy that normally works on interpersonal relationship issues. The underlying belief of Interpersonal Therapy is that psychological symptoms (like depression) are often a response to the difficulties we have due to a faulty interaction with others. The resulting symptoms can then affect the quality of these interactions, causing a vicious cycle. The hypothesis behind this therapy is that once a person is able to interact more effectively with those around him, the psychological symptoms will improve.

It is a type of therapy that is considered brief, it means that it will have an end date (about 12-16 sessions is considered the norm) and will focus on only a couple of key issues. For this reason, this therapy is best suited for people with rapidly identifiable problems.

What can I expect from Interpersonal Therapy?

The first sessions of Interpersonal Therapy are normally used as a means of evaluation, which allows the therapist to gain a better understanding of what worries him and what he expects to obtain from the therapy. Together with your therapist you will have the opportunity to identify the interpersonal problems that you want to treat and classify them in order of importance. Next, we will work on the main issues raised.

In the next sessions these concerns will be addressed in order to better understand them, learn to make adjustments and apply these adjustments outside of their therapy sessions. To help this process your therapist will offer support in different ways, including the following:

  • Clarification of your problems
  • Communication analysis
  • Listening support

Unlike other more introspective and open therapies, the Interpersonal Therapy focuses entirely on the issues identified. This guarantees an optimal result in a minimum time.

Towards the end of the sessions, you and your therapist will discuss the most important problems such as ending your therapy. This is also an ideal time to tune up and make sure you know how to apply the skills learned to deal effectively with different situations in everyday life once the therapy is over.

Interpersonal Therapy techniques

All therapy sessions vary according to individual circumstances, however, there are certain techniques that can be especially useful with Interpersonal Therapy. These include:

  • Identification of your emotions - For some of us, accurately identifying the emotion we feel at any given time can be difficult. An interpersonal therapist can help you identify emotions from an unbiased perspective.
  • Emotion expression - This involves helping to express your emotions in a healthier way.
  • Coping with the problems of the past - Sometimes the relationships you had in the past can affect the way you interact in the present. Part of the therapy involves looking in your past to see if some patterns have formed.

Areas where Interpersonal Therapy can help

As we have already mentioned, what Interpersonal Therapy offers mainly is to improve the way we interact with those around us. The types of problems normally addressed within this therapy are the following:

  • Interpersonal conflicts: Conflicts can appear in a wide variety of settings, including family, social, marital, school or workplace, etc. Normally they arise from the different expectations of a given situation. If these types of conflicts cause significant discomfort, it is worth analyzing within this type of therapy.
  • Role Transitions: This refers to a change of personal circumstances, for example maternity or paternity, a change of work or one's own job, a change in marital status or a life event that requires adaptation. These changes can be experienced as losses, which leads to depression or anxiety.
  • Duel Control: When someone close dies, the feelings of pain and loss are completely natural. If the pain remains, or is considered to last beyond the "normal" time for grief, it may be something that can be treated during therapy.
  • Interpersonal deficits: This category includes relationships that someone feels weaken you in some way, or relationships that you don't have. This could be a bad relationship with a brother or a lack of friends with whom you feel you can trust, for example. Interpersonal Therapy can help identify these deficits and offer avenues for solution.
  • The Depression: It is considered especially useful for people with depression. Studies suggest that an Interpersonal Therapy course may be at least as effective as short-term treatment with antidepressants. Originally Interpersonal Therapy was developed to help adults with depression, but it has also been shown to be effective in treating depression in adolescents and children. As depression is usually a recurring condition, those affected are advised to supplement their Interpersonal Therapy with another form of maintenance therapy. This means that, in addition to your Interpersonal Therapy sessions, you can complement the treatment with psychoactive drugs or other psychotherapies.

All Psychological Therapies