Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a short-term therapy designed to help with a variety of concerns, including anxiety and depression. IPT takes an approach of viewing interpersonal relationships as a main contributor to distress. Disorders, such as depression, are viewed as the result of an interaction of a person’s level of social support, interpersonal crises, and one’s own strengths and vulnerabilities. Typically, some sort of interpersonal problem or life challenge, such as a major transition, puts stress on a person. If they do not have the social resources, including support and the skills needed to utilize that support, then their situation worsens, leading to depression or another mental health concern.
IPT helps by teaching a patient the skills necessary to solve their problem, build and utilize support, and solve interpersonal difficulties that are keeping the problem from getting better. Therapy often involves homework assignments designed to help a patient reach practical goals and practice real-world interpersonal skills, such as assertiveness skills. Because therapy is typically planned to last only a few months, there is a great emphasis on putting skills into practice and making changes as soon as feasible. If a person can either solve their problem or build enough support around them to cope well with the problem, then therapy has been a success.