Interpersonal Therapy For Depression | Benefits & Techniques

Interpersonal Therapy For Depression | Benefits & Techniques

What is Interpersonal Therapy?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is an approach of psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal relationships and communication with the social environment around the client. The objective of this therapy is to understand the reasons behind the problem being treated by exploring the relationship with people around the client. 

Basically, this evidence-based therapy is used to treat mood disorders and relationship problems. Also, some other issues are treated using this method.

How Does Interpersonal Therapy Work?

Interpersonal psychotherapy follows a structured treatment procedure to help people get rid of the problems they’re facing. It is divided into three phases. Depending on the condition and problem of the client, the elements of the phases may vary. But the main goal remains the same. 

Below are the three phases of interpersonal therapy-

Beginning Phase

The beginning phase is all about finding out the initial problem and the interpersonal behavior patterns that are the reason behind the problem. Besides these, this phase is also focused on understanding the pattern of relationships, the condition of current relationships, and the ability to create and continue intimacy with people. 

These are typically found out through formal meetings, diagnosis, and different tools and assessment processes. Also, this phase includes interview sessions with the people who are significant in the clients’ life. 

All this information is used to build up interpersonal inventory. Interpersonal inventory refers to the patterns of attachment and states of relationships of the client. It is used to design the next phases of the treatment process. 

After the formal assessment is finished, it is time to make the relationship between the client and the therapist closer because the next phases are highly dependent on the closeness between them. 

At the end of the beginning phase, the therapist talks to the clients about the interpersonal inventory found in the assessment. The client must understand and accept that these issues are affecting their functioning and creating problems in their life.

Middle Phase

While the beginning phase was focused on problem assessment, the middle phase is more focused on the treatment. 

Typically, all the issues are caused by four main problem areas. After the assessment, the problems are organized into four problem areas according to their relevance. It is not necessary that everyone will have issues relevant to all four problem areas. Some people need to concentrate on a single area too.

Problem Area 1- Grief

Grief and loss are common to experience in everyone’s life. This is a painful experience that may result in destroyed relationships. 

If the issues of the clients are associated with grief, the therapist helps them to reassess the situation, accept the painful emotion and the surroundings around it. These things are common. So, destroying the present because of something in the past is not expected at all.

Besides accepting what has happened, the therapist also helps the clients to learn new skills and ways to deal with the grief. And, obviously, helping to improve the relationship with others is also a part of it. 

Improved relationships with people around help the clients to live through those and use those as tools to deal with the grief.

Problem Area 2- Interpersonal Disputes

Interpersonal dispute refers to the conflicts and misunderstandings between the clients and people around them. This has a huge impact on the vulnerability or problems they feel inside. 

The clients don’t even think that those disputes are the real reason behind all the problems. These don’t seem to be so huge, but actually, these are huge and have a deep impact on their minds, feelings, and behaviors.

Some examples of interpersonal disputes are verbal or physical abuse, domestic violence, conflicts of interest, betrayal, sudden anger, high expectations, etc. Such disputes often lead to weak relationships with surrounding people and result in mental weakness and psychological distress.

In such cases, the therapists use different techniques designed for reducing or solving disputes and improving relationships and communication. As a result, the psychological distress and other issues also become solved with time.

Problem Area 3- Role Transition

Role transition is a period where a person has to go through a sudden or expected change that adds to or changes the role he/she was playing in life. Some examples of role transitions are getting married, being a parent, change in job status, having a long-term illness, facing a traumatic situation, etc.

Role transition brings a lot of change in life. Adopting those changes is expected, but in most cases, people face problems adopting the changes. As a result, issues like distress, depression, anxiety, and many others happen.

When it is about role transition, the therapist helps the client to accept the emotional effect resulting after losing the old role, understand the necessity or reality of the new role, admit the new role, and cope with the emotional insecurities. Also, the therapist helps to learn skills and techniques to overcome the challenges of the new role and the ways to accept transitions and changes in life. 

Role transitions problems are treated through talk sessions and different techniques and worksheets.

Problem Area 4- Interpersonal Sensitivity

Interpersonal sensitivity is the appropriateness or accuracy of our thoughts, judgments, and responses towards each other. This is a huge and complex topic to talk about. 

Let’s just know that this has a huge impact on the formation and maintenance of relationships. The problems related to this often make people feel that they are not being treated accordingly. So, they face difficulties to build and maintaining relationships. In the end, they feel lonely and abandoned when others are enjoying their lives with each other. 

This is a big issue that needs to be treated. When the clients have such problems, the therapists help the clients to assess the relationships they have and learn how to strengthen those. Also, they teach new skills that help in building up and maintaining strong relationships. 

And obviously, the internal triggers and feelings that create such situations are also removed or resolved with care. Therapists make sure that the issues are not arising in the future again.

Final Phase

The final phase is all about preparing the clients for the closure of therapy. After the therapists see progress in the middle phase and reach the expected position, the final phase starts. 

It mainly focuses on making the clients prepared for the problems they’ll face after the therapy is ended. Also, the therapists evaluate the progress in this phase. 

The final phase doesn’t last for a long time. Once the therapists come to know that the clients will be fine after the therapy is finished, they announce the end of the therapy.

There could be an additional phase which can be called the Maintenance phase. It is the set of sessions after the final phase that is needed for restructuring the gain from the therapy. This phase helps the therapists to keep updated about the clients and assist them when needed.

What is Interpersonal Therapy Used for?

What is Interpersonal Therapy Used for

In the past, interpersonal psychotherapy was used to treat some acute points of depression. But, with time, it has proved its effectiveness in treating a lot of other issues. Right now, the below issues can be effectively treated using IPT.

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Dysthymia
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Perinatal and Postpartum Depression
  • Eating Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder

Also, issues with the four problem areas are solved by IPT. As it focuses on the interpersonal relationship with people, any problem, which has relationship and communication conflict as the root cause, can be treated with IPT.

IPT also works great to prevent relapse if any symptom of relapse is seen. BY improving relationships with people, it helps the clients to stay busy with productive and enjoyable tasks. Thus it keeps relapse away.

Benefits of Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy directly focuses on the relationship, communication, and struggles with those. As a result, it can help us in a lot of ways. Below are the benefits of interpersonal therapy. 

  • Improved Relationships- As interpersonal therapy focuses on the gaps in weak relationships and fills those gaps up, it results in improved relationships without any doubt. Also, it helps the clients to learn how relationships affect their mental activities and daily life. So, they focus on improving current relationships and give effort to new relationships.
  • Improved Communication Skills- Interpersonal therapy focuses on helping the clients to learn communication skills that can help in relationships. As a result, their communication skills improve a lot, which helps them on different occasions in their daily life. 
  • Decreased Depression- As interpersonal therapy helps to improve communication and manage relationships efficiently, the clients don’t feel down or alone anymore. This results in decreased depression because a major fact that contributes to depression is the feeling of being left and lonely. 
  • Improved Confidence- When the clients become able to solve many issues just by improving communication skills, their confidence increases. A good and effective communication skill develops confidence. Also, when there are strong relationships with surrounding people, the feeling of being left alone exists no more. This also improves confidence. 
  • Short-term Therapy- Interpersonal therapy is not so lengthy process compared to most other therapies. Typically it takes around 16 weeks with a session every week. So, this is affordable too in terms of both time and cost.

Interpersonal Therapy Techniques

Interpersonal Psychotherapy uses multiple techniques to help people get rid of depression and other problems. Some of the common techniques that IPT uses are given below.

Interpersonal Therapy Techniques

Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is an intervention that focuses on knowledge transfer from the therapist to the patients, and sometimes their family members too, that helps the patients and their family members to cope with the illness and improves the efficiency of the therapy.

In psychoeducation, the therapists help the patients to understand the problem and remind them that there is a solution to the problem. Knowing about the problem or illness helps the patients to adopt the ways the therapists use to solve it. When they know that the situation can be improved through a structured therapy process, they become mentally strong too.

Also, what the patients know about the problem, they can find out the actual reasons behind the problem and create their own ways of fighting the issue and other related problems. This helps the therapist to treat the patient in a better way.  Thus psychoeducation plays an important role when IPT is in action.

Communication Analysis

Communication analysis is the process of evaluating and understanding the communication of the patients with the people around them. Lack of communication skills can be one of the major reasons behind the issue that IPT is treating. So, it is a commonly used technique. 

In this technique, the patients talk about a conversation with the significant one in their life. Or, the therapist can use a move script to check the communication between them. In the process, the therapists check the tones, expressions, non-verbal communication, etc. 

After it takes place, they ask the patients to talk about what was meant to be communicated and what is actually communicated. 

Depending on this practice and the feedbacks, the therapists evaluate the communication pattern and use techniques to develop the communication skill if needed.

Role Play

Role play is the technique where the therapists communicate the patients as different significant people of their life. The role of the therapists can be anything- better-half, father, mother, best friend, or anything. 

Role play helps the therapists to explore the feelings of the patients and understand the thinking and communication pattern. 

Also, role play plays an important role in teaching different new ways of thinking and communicating as well as practicing those. Sometimes, by playing the role of the patients, the therapists help them to understand how to communicate.

Explorations of Options and Decision Analysis

This is an interesting but very easy technique in IPT. In this technique, the therapists talk about an interpersonal problem that the patients are facing. Then, they ask them to find out some solutions to that problem. 

At first, the patient might not want to do it saying there is no option, but the therapists should tell them there are options and some of those are good. At the initial stages, the patients need help in finding out the options. But with time, they start finding out options easily. 

After the options or solutions are there, they are asked to check the feasibility of the options and pick the best one according to the resources available. 

This technique helps the patients to be able to handle interpersonal problems from different angles. Also, it is very useful for patients with grief to understand that there are always ways to move on.

Socialization and Pleasurable Activities

This technique mainly focuses on improving the condition of the patients by gradually socializing. If the patients keep themselves isolated and withdrawn from social activities, depression and other negative thoughts get a better scope to bring them down more and more. 

So, the therapists ask them to start limited social activities like greeting people online or going to walk for a few minutes. The socialization level and frequency are gradually increased with time. 

Gradually increased socialization helps the patients to create new connections and spread the network. With this, the scope of getting support from peers is also increased. Connection and communication help to lift the mood.

Also, the therapists ask the patients to join and be active in potentially pleasurable activities. The patients may not find the enjoyment, but they’re still instructed to continue it. Thus, multiple activities are experienced by them. 

Here, finding out the perfect pleasant activity for the patients is not necessary. The most important thing is surfing through multiple activities. So, even if an activity is not pleasant to the patients, they should do it a few times. 

These are some common techniques used by IPT to treat different issues. There are many more therapies. Depending on the context and necessity, the therapist may use any of those. The main focuses of the techniques are identifying the reasons behind interpersonal problems and helping the patients to learn and practice new skills and behaviors.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy Worksheets 

Worksheets used for Interpersonal Psychotherapy are very useful as these help the therapists to get many insights of the patients. Besides, some worksheets are used to help the patients adopt the changes and learn the skills. Let’s know about some commonly used worksheets used by IPT in the treatment process.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy Worksheets

Mood Thermometer

A mood thermometer is a worksheet that allows the therapists to understand the impact of different interpersonal activities on the mood of the patients. 

The mood thermometer worksheet contains 3 columns. The very first column contains the mood score, the second column is for the anger/sadness and the third column contains the reasons behind the mood. 

The score of 1 in the mood thermometer indicates the time when the person is happy with zero feelings of emotions like sadness or anger. On the other hand, the score of 10 represents the time when the feeling of anger or sadness was the maximum. 

In the ‘Situation’ column (3rd column), they write the situation when this emotion happened. 

Mood thermometer is filled up by the client typically using the events that have happened in-between the sessions. Using this, the therapist can understand how was the mood of the patients throughout the week and what the reasons behind that were.

Closeness Circle

Closeness circle is a worksheet that helps the therapists to understand the degree of closeness with people around the patients. Also, it helps the patients to have a visual representation of their relationship with surrounding people. 

The Closeness circle consists of a small circle and gradually bigger circles around the smallest circle. Inside the smallest circle, the name of the patients is placed. The first circle around the smallest one represents the closest people. The next circle represents the people who are less close. Thus, with the increase in distance, the closeness reduces gradually. 

In a closeness circle, typically there are 3-4 circles of closeness. The patients are asked to write the names of people around them in the circles according to the closeness. Thus, the closeness circle is fulfilled.

The closeness circle visually represents the meaningful and close relationships of someone’s life. Both the therapists and the patients find it helpful.

Interpersonal Relationships Worksheet

An interpersonal relationship worksheet is a way of exploring the relationships of the patients with other people in their life. 

This worksheet contains several questions related to a specific person. The questions are about the person, their feeling about him/her, the relationship and communication between them, etc. A typical interpersonal relationship worksheet contains around 12-15 questions related to a person. 

The patients are asked to fill up the worksheet with specified and clear answers to the questions. They should put their honest feeling. 

With the help of this worksheet, the therapists can understand how much impact a person has on the patient’s life. Typically, a patient has to fill up multiple worksheets for multiple people. 

The interpersonal relationship worksheet is typically used at the primary phase of the treatment process when the therapists are looking for the core motives behind the problem.

Interpersonal Parenting Tips Worksheet

This worksheet is used for the parents to improve their communication with their children. With time, the relationship between the parents and children becomes stained. This worksheet helps to improve the condition.

This sheet focuses on four things to reduce the conflict in the parent-child relationship. These are- 

  • Finding the Right Time to Talk

This section contains a few instructions like not talking about a problem when the temper is high, taking time to cool down before talking about a problem, and remembering that children act the ways they see you act. After that, it asks to list down some examples of the times and scopes when a problem or issue can be talked out.

  • Considering the Intention instead of the Outcome of an Effort

This section asks to recognize the efforts they are putting in, no matter it is a game, task, or anything. If things don’t go as planned, let them know that it’s okay to fail sometimes. Also, it suggests reassuring them when things are not going well. After that, it asks to list down some situations where they need reassurance.

  • Finding the Balance in Talking and Responding

This section asks to stay calm in negative responses. Though it is tough, it is a great way to maintain the relationship. It suggests starting sentences with ‘I feel’ in a conflicting situation. Also, instead of sarcasm, it suggests maintaining a natural tone, especially in a situation that is emotionally charging. Then it suggests making a list of ‘I feel’ sentences that might be appropriate. 

  • Practicing Self-care

This section says that it is tough and stressful to take care of children. So, often the parents should look for help and support from family members, partners, or friends. Taking care of own self helps to take better care of the children. Then, it suggests making a list of self-care ways that are useful for taking care of children.

After completing the list, the therapists ask to put it somewhere easily noticeable to remind them what to do while taking care of the children and trying to improve the relationship and communication with them.

This list can also be used to improve the relationship between two adults.

Wanting to be Heard Worksheet

People often feel that they are not being heard in a relationship. This worksheet suggests the ways in which a person can be heard and make the communication effective without creating a conflict. 

Like the interpersonal parenting tips worksheet, it also contains some specific focuses to work on. These are- 

  • Using Good Timing

It suggests avoiding talking about a serious issue when the other person is worried about something, tired, or angry. It tells to wait until the person comes to a stable situation to listen to and think properly. Also, making an appointment or fixing a time to talk helps a lot. Then it suggests listing some specific times which are appropriate for important conversations.

  • Making Time for the Other Person

It suggests listening to what the other person says in the conversation and understanding his/her feeling regarding the matter. Also, it asks to take ‘no’ as a ‘no’. Putting pressure on someone to accept something can’t be an effective way of communication. Then it asks to make a list of the situations when the patients don’t want to listen to others. 

  • Using ‘I feel’ Statements

It says that using ‘I feel’ statements helps the other person that the conversation is constructive, not an argument. Also, ‘I feel’ statements help them understand the actual feeling inside. People are not mind-readers. So, it is necessary to use ‘I feel’ statements so that they get the feeling. Then it suggests listing some ‘I feel’ statements that can be used to start conversations or in the middle of conversations. 

  • Doing the Homework

It suggests doing homework on what is being asked. Being ready for compromising is good for both parties. For this, thinking about multiple solutions helps great. Instead of sticking to a solution, compromising and meeting at a point that is acceptable for both parties is a good practice. Then it suggests making a list of the compromises the patients can do in a particular situation. 

  • Not Giving Up

It says that people take time to accept and cope with the change. So, searching for new ways of communicating and solving the problem instead of giving up is always suggested. Besides helping in solving the problem, it also helps to learn new ways of communication. Then it asks to list a few ways in which finding new ways of communication helps. 

Practicing this worksheet motivates and helps to learn the ways of communication where a person is heard. Putting the sheet somewhere where it is easily visible reminds the ways to be heard in communication. Thus, it solves the interpersonal problems that happen because of not being heard. 

Emotional Repetition and Attention Remodeling

The patients use some words and phrases frequently while describing their situation or talking about their problems. This worksheet helps the therapists to track those words and utilize those in different techniques. Using these words through different techniques helps to reduce the emotional intensity of the situation and be practical. 

This worksheet contains 2 columns. The left one contains the negative words or phrases, and the right one contains the context or situation in which those words are used. After preparing the worksheet, the therapists practice attention remodeling.

Before using the technique, the therapists remind them that they are being judged harshly. Then, the whole thing is done following the process below-

1. The therapists repeat the words and phrases slowly a few times. Pushing so far is not a good idea. The therapists should be careful about it as the patients already feel distressed after hearing the words.

2. Patients are asked to close their eyes and think about a situation that is the reason behind the negative emotion. 

3. They are asked to take a single frame of the situation that hits the most and hold the picture in mind.

4. Then they are instructed to drop the hands to the sides and be careful about any sensations they feel in the room.

5. After a few moments, they are asked to divide their attention into two parts- one focusing on the picture of the distressing situation and another one focusing on the current environment- the sound, smell, and feeling they can sense closing the eyes. Then, they are asked to hold the split attention.

6. In the end, they are asked to tell how they feel about the intensity.

If this exercise is done a few times, the intensity of the negative feeling about the situation decreases a lot. Thus, they can be emotionally stable while communicating.

How Long does Interpersonal Therapy Last?

Typically interpersonal therapy is a short-term therapy. It requires around 12-16 sessions for the therapist to complete the whole process. 

Just like many other forms of psychotherapy, it requires 1 session per week. So, if there is no sudden issue or necessity, interpersonal therapies last for around 12-16 weeks. 

However, issues like the condition of the clients, speed of recovery, adaptability to new changes, etc. have an impact on the length of the interpersonal therapy.

How Much does Interpersonal Therapy Cost?

A lot of factors including geographical location, and experience of the therapist have impacts on the cost of interpersonal therapy. So, obviously, there is no fixed amount that we can show you.

However, the cost of interpersonal therapy stands somewhere between $70 and $175. Though you’ll find cheaper or costlier therapies than this range, this is the most common range.

Don’t worry about the cost, because you have some great options to reduce the cost. You can take help from insurance companies. Also, you can look for therapists who provide a discount or use a sliding scale method to adjust the cost per session. Some therapists provide discounts if you pay for multiple sessions at a time. 

Another option for reducing cost is taking help from government-funded institutions that provide support for mental health. If you can meet the conditions, you’ll get huge support for treating your mental health issues. 

Also, if it is convenient, you can look for online therapies. You may have to put a bit more effort into the sessions, but you can avail online sessions at a reasonable cost.

Interpersonal Therapy for Depression

The formation of interpersonal therapy says that it was first introduced to treat some acute phases of depression. So, we can see that IPT may not treat depression fully but helps to fight depression and makes other treatment processes work easily. Also, it can be used to prevent relapses of depression after treatment.

Why does IPT Work Great on Depression?

To know why IPT is a great tool to fight depression, we should focus on the reasons behind depression. Depression is a complex issue and often there is more than one reason behind it. 

But if you look at the prime reasons behind depression, you’ll see that conflict with surrounding people, grief from someone’s death, major life-changing events, distance from close people, and the feeling of being alone or abandoned are some of the major reasons behind depression. 

If you’ve gone through the part ‘How does Interpersonal Therapy work?’ of the article, you must know the reason behind IPT’s effectiveness in treating depression. 

The core problem areas IPT focuses on are grief, interpersonal sensitivity, interpersonal disputes, and role transition. These are some of the major roots of depression. That’s why IPT works great to treat depression.

Techniques IPT Uses to Treat Depression

IPT uses several techniques to bring out the thought and feelings of the client, assess those, and help the client understand what’s wrong. Below are some of the common techniques IPT uses to help the clients. 

  • Empathetic Listening

Empathetic listening means listening to the client’s feelings and emotions with care and attention. Therapists use this technique to ensure that the clients are expressing everything they have in their minds. 

Typically people in depression can’t express their emotions and feelings always. They need a friendly and empathetic environment to talk. Through empathetic listening, the therapists assure that environment. As a result, clients feel safe while talking. 

  • Clarification

Clarification refers to helping the clients understand the mistakes and misconceptions from their sides. People with depression always think that they are right about everything and others can’t understand them. 

But sometimes mistakes and misunderstandings come from their sides too. Using the clarification technique, the therapists help them to understand their problems. 

For this, the clients and the therapists should have a friendly and strong relationship. That’s why this is typically used at the end of the middle phase of the process.

  • Role Playing

Role playing helps the therapists in two ways. 

It helps the therapist to explore the feelings of the patients. Here the therapists act as close people of the patients and talk to them about some contexts to understand how their thinking patterns work. 

Also, role playing helps the therapists to teach and practice new ways of thinking and communicating. Here the therapists sometimes place themselves in the patients’ place to help them understand how to communicate. Also sometimes they act as close people around them and examine how the process of adopting is going on.

  • Communication Analysis

Communication analysis is the process of understanding and assessing the communication of the clients. 

In this technique, the therapists work on the communication between the clients and their significant others. Typically the conversation is a movie script. The therapists check the tone, expressions, non-verbal communication, etc. 

Then the patient is asked what was meant to be communicated and what is actually communicated. Sometimes, the same questions are asked to the significant ones too.

Depending on this practice and the feedbacks, the therapists assess the communication pattern and use techniques to improve the communication skill if needed. 

  • Encouragement of Affect

Encouragement of affect is a technique that is used to help the patients to experience and accept the unwanted or unpleasant emotions caused by interpersonal connection and communication. 

In this technique, the therapists create an environment and talk to the clients as a shape of role playing and take them through unwanted or unexpected emotions multiple times. Using this technique, they help the clients to experience those so that they can face similar things in real life without that much problem. 

These are the common techniques used by therapists to treat depression using IPT.

Interpersonal Therapy for Bulimia

Bulimia, or Bulimia Nervosa, is a type of eating disorder that is life-threatening. In this disorder, the patient at first eats a large amount of food and then tries to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. 

The ways of getting rid of the extra calories might be different in different patients. For example- some may use excessive weight loss supplements. Self-inducing vomiting is another common way of trying to reduce weight. Also, they may perform excessive exercise that may result in weakness or getting faint. 

No matter how the patient tries to get rid of the extra calories, the focus is on reducing the calories. So, the focus of the therapy is helping them understand that the extra calories are not a huge problem and that can be reduced in healthier ways.

How IPT Works to Reduce Bulimia Nervosa?

To treat bulimia, CBT is the most perfect psychological method. This is an effective and efficient one. Compared to CBT, IPT is a bit slow process to treat bulimia. Also, IPT can’t treat bulimia as effectively as CBT

The main focus of IPT is improving relationships and communication skills. On the other hand, bulimia nervosa is totally dependent on eating habits. So, the question that arises is- how IPT can treat Bulimia Nervosa?

Actually, IPT doesn’t have a direct impact on bulimia. IPT focuses on the reasons that may cause overeating and bulimia. Thus, by directly or indirectly working on the reasons behind the issue, IPT treats this problem. That’s why IPT takes time to show its impact on Bulimia. 

Below are the ways IPT may have impacts on bulimia-

  • A common reason behind binge eating is feeling left alone. IPT helps to improve relationships and communication. Thus, they leave eating extra calories. When there are no extra calories, there is no bulimia.
  • It is unspecified yet, but it is believed that binge eating is caused by depression too. People in depression tend to eat more. It decreases depression and thus reduces binge eating. As a result, bulimia is also gone. 
  • A benefit of IPT is it improves self-confidence. When people are self-confident, they don’t think much about their bodies. No matter there are extra calories or not, they are always confident. They don’t try to reduce the calories using unhealthy ways. Thus, the symptoms of bulimia nervosa are gone after treating using IPT.
  • IPT helps the patients to get rid of other unhealthy reasons behind binge eating like grief, changes in their life roles, and similar others. Thus it helps to slowly get rid of the behavior of eating in huge amounts. This is another way IPT helps to get rid of bulimia.

Thus IPT works to help people with bulimia nervosa.

Interpersonal Therapy for Anorexia

Anorexia or Anorexia Nervosa is another type of eating disorder. Like bulimia, people facing anorexia are also willing to lose the extra calories gained. But in this case, they try to reduce the extra calories by following a strict diet chart. 

They limit the quantity of food they take. Sometimes the restriction is so bad that they barely eat. 

So, anorexia is almost similar to bulimia, but the difference is in the behavior patterns of the patients. 

And even if the expected amount of weight is lost, they become afraid of gaining weight again. So, they keep restricting their diet.

How IPT Works to Reduce Anorexia Nervosa?

The reasons behind bulimia and anorexia are the same. As a result, the ways IPT is used to treat anorexia are similar to the ways it treats bulimia. It focuses on the interpersonal reasons behind anorexia. Besides, it helps to improve self-esteem. As a result, the client doesn’t feel the necessity of getting rid of extra calories quickly. 

Therapists follow almost similar procedures to treat bulimia and anorexia. The process is slow but effective to fight these and keep these away. According to random clinical trials, IPT brings moderate to good results in treating eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. 

This might not seem very impressive. But when it is about psychotherapies and the outcome is ‘moderate to good’, this is something to be happy about.

Interpersonal Therapy Pros and Cons

Just like all other types of psychotherapy approaches, interpersonal therapy also has some pros and cons. So, while you’re going to know about it or receive treatment using it, you should know the advantages and disadvantages it has.  

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of IPT.

Pros of IPT

  • IPT helps to improve relationships by improved communication and better connection
  • Helps to talk about their feeling without the worry of being judged or threatened
  • It teaches communication skills for growing confidence
  • It helps to learn social skills that ensure more connections
  • IPT helps to know how to cope with sudden situations using communication and social skills
  • IPT reduces the feeling of loss and grief of something or someone and helps to manage to live with that without facing many issues
  • Helps to develop a healthier and easier way of managing and expressing emotions
  • Helps to avoid behaviors like unhealthy, negative, hostile, damaging, self-destructive behaviors.
  • IPT brings stability in moods
  • IPT helps people to be more self-aware and enhance self-esteem

Cons of IPT

  • To get the most out of IPT, the clients should be willing to go through the process. If someone is not willing and just there because someone wants them to take the therapy, the chance is it won’t work effectively. 
  • IPT follows a different approach comparing to most other therapies. It is a controlled and short-term therapy. So, if someone has gone through other therapies previously, going through a new approach of therapy can be difficult for them.

Final Verdict

Interpersonal Psychotherapy is different compared to many other psychotherapy techniques in different ways. Still, it is an effective part of psychotherapy that helps people to get rid of problems like depression, relationship problems, lack of communication skills, etc. Issues like mood disorders are also treated effectively using this.

IPT is still growing through practice and research. This is a great way for the therapists to explore the relationships of people and use those for the betterment of the situation.

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