What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy?
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (ITP) helps you improve the quality of interpersonal relationships and increase social functioning in order to reduce distress. This time-limited and focused approach provides strategies to problem solve in four main areas: 1) interpersonal deficits, 2) grief, 3) difficult life transitions, and 4) interpersonal disputes. ITP has shown to be effective for depression, eating disorders, perinatal distress and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, addiction and other mood disorders. At this time, there is limited research on ITP’s effectiveness on anxiety.
ITP for Depression:
ITP is effective in reducing depression as it addresses maladaptive thoughts and behaviors as they apply to your personal relationships. While interpersonal relationships may not cause depression, depression can occur within an interpersonal context and negatively affect your relationships. Symptoms of depression include feelings of loneliness and isolation, by addressing interpersonal issues and improving relationships, these aspects of depression decrease. Depression is addressed in the four main areas of ITP: 1) interpersonal deficits are examined in the context of the therapeutic relationships, helping you to identify what gets in the way of you relating to others; 2) grief or other losses in your life are safely explored during sessions; 3) role transitions are normalized by helping you to find better coping strategies and adapt to new circumstances in a healthy way; and 4) interpersonal disputes improve in therapy through identifying problems with communication and learning problem-solving strategies for your relationships.
ITP for Anxiety:
There is limited research on using ITP to treat anxiety. However, initial data shows promise. ITP focuses on social adjustment and improves interpersonal relationships. ITP can bring positive changes in your life, such as finding a new job, improving relationships with friends and family, engaging gin healthier romantic relationships and feeling more positive in your social interactions, which presumably helps to reduce stress and improve overall mood and functioning.
ITP for Maternal Distress:
ITP has shown to be very effective in addressing maternal distress, as it directive and time-limited. ITP helps you improve communication skills with your partner and build strong and more supportive social relationships. A result of this can be increased confidence in yourself and your role as a mother. Maternal distress is addressed in the four main areas of ITP: 1) interpersonal deficits are explored by looking at your attachment in other relationships and how these may or may not be causing distress; 2) grief is not always talked about with new mothers, but we must acknowledge that having a new baby brings a sense of loss, such as the loss of your sense of self, loss of independence, and loss of alone time between you and your partner, as well as more specific losses, 3) role transitions is obviously a big one for a new mom, therapy focuses on life stage transitions, social relationships and changing social and supportive networks and 4) interpersonal disputes are explored, especially ones that frequently occur after the birth of a new baby, including unmet expectations and intimacy struggles between you and your partner.