Our well-being is largely dependent on the quality and harmony of our relationships. Interpersonal problems can cause us significant distress, whether due to a conflict with others, the loss of a loved one, loneliness, a breakup, or social uncertainty. If interpersonal problems become a pattern in our lives, distress can evolve into depression, and other mood disorders can be exacerbated.
The goal of Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is to relieve depression and other mood disorders by focusing on underlying relational issues rather than on symptoms. IPT consists of four different components to improve a person’s social environment, coping, and interpersonal functioning. The first aim is to improve a person’s social environment. This may involve strategies to reduce social isolation or involvement in unfulfilling relationships, and to increase engagement in desired relationships. Second, if the client experienced an onset of symptoms following the death of a loved one, IPT will help with managing grief. Third, IPT focuses on assisting the client in coping with life transitions that involve interpersonal difficulties or loss, such as divorce, moving out of town, empty-nesting, and retirement. Lastly, IPT helps the client to manage conflicts that arise in relationships with their partner, family members, friends and coworkers.
IPT is a solution-focused and insight-based therapy approach. You might like IPT if you want to learn practical strategies for improved communication and coping, while also receiving support from your therapist who will listen carefully to the interpersonal issues in your life and help you to clarify your goals and priorities.