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    Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Questions to Ask

    1. Question: What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

    Response: Interpersonal therapy is a form of psychotherapy evidence-based approach, created by Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman to address patients who dealt with depressive moods. Since 1960 this method has developed and is based on the idea of how our relationships with others affect our feelings about ourselves and our behavior toward others.

    The primary outcome isn’t so much on childhood or developmental issues but rather on solving current problems and relationship conflicts in the present time. It’s also known as couple therapy because it focuses on more than one person.  The goal is to help individuals improve their communication skills and problem-solving abilities as it relates to “real-time” life events.

    2. Question: How does Interpersonal Psychotherapy work?

    Response: When you consider interpersonal psychotherapy, you should realize that there are two primary parts. One is cognitive, which implies thinking about your thoughts and feelings. This component assists you alter negative thought patterns and behaviors. The second part is affective, implying emotional management. This element enables you to learn how to handle your own feelings and take steps to change them. The structure of the counseling sessions involves both components. You’ll begin with an assessment of your life circumstances and then move into the therapeutic process.

    • Identify the problem. What caused the conflict with the other individual? You and your counselor will focus, during the beginning of your sessions, on gathering data and making decisions about the direction of treatment. A list will be created of all the important interpersonal relationships in your life (interpersonal inventory) and then grouped into four major categories: Conflict in relationships, Life changes, grief or loss, and difficulties in starting/maintaining relationships.
    • Recognize your role. Identify the role of your own emotional responses that contributed to the conflict, which will occur most likely in the middle sessions, and where you’ll learn to control your reactions with the support of the counselor. You both will work together to create new ideas for solving problems and implement them between sessions.
    • Move forward. You and your counselor, during the final sessions, will process together any feelings of sadness related to ending treatment as well as discuss the issues from the interpersonal inventory and how they’ve been dealt with.

    3. Question: How long does Interpersonal Psychotherapy last (number of sessions, typically)

    Schedule appointment on calendarResponse: Patients who want to participate in interpersonal therapy can expect to attend between 10 to 12 sessions. Depending on the severity of the condition being treated, the length of treatment varies. The goal of this type of psychotherapy is to help patients learn how to interact with others more effectively. This includes learning how to respond appropriately when they are feeling depressed or anxious. Interpersonal therapy also helps them understand what triggers their depression and anxiety. The therapist will teach them skills that will allow them to cope better with these emotions. Treatment for major depression disorders and anxiety disorders can last 12 weeks.

    4. Question: What are some main techniques of Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

    Response: There are several techniques used in interpersonal psychotherapy which include :

    • Dialogues. This type of therapy involves having a conversation with another person where you and the other participant share thoughts and feelings. Both parties listen carefully to each other without interrupting. In order to make sure that you understand the information given, you must repeat back what was said. This is done so that you don’t misunderstand anything. The counselor will navigate through the discussion by asking questions and listening to the responses.
    • Role-playing – This is where both parties of the conflict, while in a therapeutic setting with a trained professional counselor, take turns acting out roles and discuss new ways of interaction, and explore the feelings and thoughts of each partner involved. The counselor may provide pre-written scripts and questions to help you both practice expressing your feelings in a safe environment.
    • Cognitive restructuring – This will help you examine your own thoughts and emotions and then change them accordingly. The counselor will take your responses and go further by asking “why?” questions. The goal is to understand yourself better so that you can get to the root of what caused you to behave the way you did or said what you said.
    • Self-monitoring – This technique helps you understand your own thinking processes and how you react to others. It also helps you become more objective when making decisions. You will be asked to keep track of your moods, thoughts, behaviors, and interactions with others. The counselor and you will take this information and uses it to recognize patterns and make changes in behavior when necessary.

    5. Question: How does Interpersonal Psychotherapy help improve depression symptoms?

    Depressed husband wife looks at himResponse: To fully utilize the Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) method for depression, it’s important for both the counselor and you to understand why you have developed depressive symptoms. You will work with the counselor to identify what has been going on in your life that has contributed to the depression. It’s not enough just to say “I’m depressed.” You need to explain how these events have affected you and how they might affect others around you. From this point on, sessions are geared toward the two of you working together to find solutions to the problems that have led to the depression. You’ll also learn how to identify and deal with common relationship problems that often lead to depression.

    6. Question: What other conditions or emotional distress can Interpersonal Psychotherapy help treat?

    Response: Interpersonal therapy can be used for a variety of mental health and emotional issues. A few of these are listed below:

    • Social Phobias – A person who seeks out a therapist using the method of Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) will learn how to communicate better with family members, coworkers, and others. This technique helps clients overcome their fears of rejection and develop greater self-confidence when expressing themselves.
    • Depression – A patient learns to identify and work through the underlying causes of their depression. By learning to relate to others differently, patients can begin to experience less depression.
    • Anger management – Interpersonal therapy helps people who struggle with anger issues learn how to control their emotions so they don’t hurt themselves or others. The therapist helps the client learn how to recognize their own triggers and how to deal with them appropriately.

    7. Question: Does Interpersonal Psychotherapy work?

    check yes or noResponse: There are several studies showing that interpersonal therapy works well for treating your feelings of depression and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that IPT was just as effective as medication in treating major depression. Another study showed that IPT was significantly more effective than antidepressant medications in reducing symptoms of depression. Furthermore, there are also studies showing that IPT helps other mental conditions such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum depression,  interpersonal conflict, post-trauma stress disorder, and eating disor­ders.

    8. Question: How can you find a therapist who offers Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

    Response: If you want to find a therapist who specializes specifically in Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Psychology Today has a great online search tool for finding one near you. Another option, which would take longer but might be worth doing, is calling around your local counseling practices and asking them if they specialize in interpersonal psychotherapy or if they know someone who does. The therapists at New Heights Counseling are trained in interpersonal psychotherapy; schedule an appointment by following this LINK

    9. Question: Does insurance typically cover Interpersonal Psychotherapy?

    Response: Certain insurance companies may cover some forms of therapy, including interpersonal therapy. You should always ask both your insurance provider as well as the counseling practice that you’re considering attending any questions you may have before scheduling an appointment, especially if you’re unsure whether or not they cover interpersonal therapy.

    Additional Resources:

    Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Psychology Today

    What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), CAMH

    Interpersonal psychotherapy: principles and applications, National Library of Medicine

    Interpersonal Psychotherapy Book, American Psychological Association

    Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Mental Health Problems The American Journal of Psychiatry

    Get Support From A Mental Health Professional

    Get help new heights logo phoneThe staff at New Heights Counseling & Consulting, LLC wants you to know, that help is available. Call us at (850) 757-1552 to set up an individual session with one of the professionals who specializes in Interpersonal issues and utilizing appropriate techniques. We are here to help people overcome anxiety, mood disorders, social phobia, mental health disorders, and other major life situations and challenges. Treatment for depression and Check out our staff bios on our website at meet our team. Therapists will be there for you no matter where you’re at in your pursuit of wholeness and healing.

    Other Mental Health Services Offered At New Heights Counseling

    We offer helpThe staff at New Heights Counseling provides both individual therapy and couples therapy, for a wide variety of mental health concerns, mental disorders, and relationship difficulties. Weekly sessions are available with our mental health providers by calling the office. Our services are for children, adolescents, and adults and we offer in-person sessions at our Fort Walton Beach, FL location and online therapy for the state of Florida.

    We are located on the 2nd floor of WorkSpace Suites at 1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 1057, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Get directions here Google Maps or visit our office location webpage. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM. Evenings/Weekends by appointments. Call (850)757-1552.

    About the Author:

    Colleen Wenner New Heights Founder Clinical DirectorColleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling Center, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida as well as an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. She is also licensed by the state of Virginia to provide professional counseling. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.

    Colleen has always advocated for mental health wellness and she has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She has been featured on a variety of podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast to name a few. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.