Interpersonal Therapy

Creative Healing offers Interpersonal Therapy sessions to those suffering from interpersonal and relationship issues.

What is Interpersonal Therapy?

Interpersonal Therapy (also known as IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on symptom relief and improving interpersonal function. This treatment helps patients improve relationships, change expectations with relationships, and improve a patient’s social support network.

The four key problem areas that IPT addresses are:

  • Grief
  • Interpersonal disputes and role disputes
  • Role transitions
  • Interpersonal sensitivity

IPT is based on the Biopsycholgical-Cultural-Spiritual model, the idea that mental health problems are rarely limited to one area of human experience, but are often impacted by the patient’s biology, psychological state, and cultural and spiritual beliefs.

Interpersonal Therapy addresses the fact that interpersonal distress is connected to psychological symptoms. Generally interpersonal issues occur due to an acute crisis or stressor. The patient’s ability to manage the crisis are heavily influenced by their Biopsychological/Cultural/Spiritual model as well as their vulnerabilities to illness, temperament, and personality. This forms what is called an Interpersonal Triad – the crisis is formed by an Acute Interpersonal Crisis, this is then exacerbated by inadequate social support, which is then further impacted by Biopsychological/Cultural/Spiritual model vulnerabilities.

IPT Focuses on rapidly reducing the patient’s symptoms, improve social adjustment and help the patient learn how their conditions affect relationships, while giving them tools to cope.

How Does Interpersonal Therapy Work?

IPT moves through five distinct, time-limited phases deigned to last from 12-16 weeks. These are:

  • Assessment
  • Initial sessions
  • Middle sessions
  • Conclusion of Acute Treatment
  • Maintenance sessions

During the assessment phase, Creative Healing counsellors will complete a standard clinical interview and determine whether you are suited to IPT treatment.

If both you and your counsellor agree that Interpersonal Therapy is the correct process, initial sessions begin. During initial sessions you and your counsellor will agree on a contract of treatment, including agreeing to undertake homework. You will also be encouraged to create an IPT inventory that aims to confront how you approach relationships. Your counsellor will also help you gauge and connect with your social support network.

Middle sessions are used to address one or more of the key IPT problems using key IPT techniques. Your Creative Healing counsellor will work closely with you to improve communication skills or help you modify expectations regarding relationships and disputes. Together you will develop solutions to issues that you will then be encouraged to implement in your daily life. Further sessions work to refine your new found techniques.

Unlike traditional psychotherapy, IPT does not terminate with a severing of the connection between you and your counsellor. Instead it is a movement from the acute phase of treatment to maintenance sessions. You will agree to a new treatment contract with your counsellor, with maintenance sessions spaced out further than the acute phase of treatment. Your Creative Healing counsellor will aid you in preparing for future crises and ensuring you have all your tools in place.

Maintenance sessions are often used to address acute issues that might arise in the future, helping you to alter and refine your coping tools. These treatments are much wider spread and generally used as needed.

IPT teaches patients new communication skills and helps them develop insights into how they communicate their needs to others. Patients learn how to cope with future problems and how to better problem solve. IPT teaches patients how to better adapt to changes in life, from role changes to relationships, to health issues.

IPT also teaches mindfulness, showing a patient how to link moods to events, and how this impacts relationships. This structured therapy is considered the therapy of choice, along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, for a wide range of mental health issues.

Who is Suited to Interpersonal Therapy?

IPT focuses on resolving interpersonal problems and their symptomatic recovery. As such, it was initially developed for the treatment of depression and how it impacts the patient’s relationships with family, marriage, work and their community.

Over time, IPT has been found to treat a wide range of issues, including:

  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-partum Depression
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Grief
  • Family Therapy

IPT is also an excellent therapy for those who experience change as loss by aiding the patient in redefining the change in a balanced and acceptable way for the patient. Issues with change include:

  • Situational role transitions such as job loss, promotion, graduation, and migration
  • Relationship role transitions including marriage, divorce, and step-parenthood
  • Illness related role transitions such as chronic illness, and adaptation to pain and physical limitations
  • Post-event role transition like PTSD, and issues arising from refugee status

Finally, modified IPT is an excellent treatment for children and teenagers, especially those exhibiting early signs of depression or other mental and developmental disorders, including:

  • Separation from parents
  • Development of romantic relationships
  • First experience of death
  • Adapt methods for dealing with interpersonal issues,  especially associated with onset of depression or other disorders

Parents are encouraged to attend some of these IPT sessions in order to learn about the issue at hand, the impact on the family, and how to support their child’s treatment.

If you wish to explore IPT further, please feel free to contact Creative Healing today.

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