Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
Modern Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, time-limited form of psychotherapy, which posits that depression and other psychopathology results when individuals are exposed to significant psychosocial stressors in the absence of sufficient psychosocial support. One key theoretical contribution to IPT comes from attachment theory, which has at the heart of it the idea that human beings have an inbuilt motive toward relating to others. Attachment theorists have emphasised the crucial importance of early attachment experiences, whereas the IPT theoretical model proposes that the need for attachment continues into adult life.
The first phase of therapy is established according to current interpersonal problems that seem to be most closely associated with, for example, the depressive symptoms presented. The goals of decreasing depressive symptoms and resolving interpersonal issues are then discussed and worked on. The middle phase of therapy then deals with focal problem areas which guide the therapeutic intervention by linking symptoms and affect to interpersonal events, changes or isolation. The problem areas to be addressed are viewed from four major domains: interpersonal disputes, role transitions, grief, and interpersonal sensitivity. The final phase of therapy aims to plan for possible future events (that may lead to issues with attachment and impact depressive symptoms) in order to minimize relapse.