Calusa Recovery

The Impact of Interpersonal Therapy Techniques on Mental Health


In the ever-evolving landscape of mental health treatment Interpersonal Psychotherapy Techniques emerge as a dynamic and client-focused approach.

This blog aims to provide an exploration of IPT, shedding light on the impact and techniques of interpersonal psychotherapy.

What is Interpersonal Therapy?

Wikipedia defines Interpersonal Therapy as Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, attachment-focused psychotherapy that centers on resolving interpersonal problems and symptomatic recovery. It is an empirically supported treatment (EST) that follows a highly structured and time-limited approach and is intended to be completed within 12–16 weeks. Interpersonal Therapy techniques is based on the principle that relationships and life events impact mood and that the reverse is also true.

Interpersonal therapy techniques focus on your relationships and social interactions. This includes how much support you have from others and how these relationships affect your mental health.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) Types

There are two types of Interpersonal Therapy in general.

Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy

Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy is a time-limited psychodynamic therapy scheduled over 16 sessions which are 50 minutes long. DIT can help people with emotional and relationship problems.

Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy Techniques help you to:

  1. Have a clearer understanding of yourself and others
  2. Be able to recognize and take responsibility for your behaviors around others.
  3. Experience better moods and less anxiety
  4. Improves your ability to see options and make good choices
  5. Be able to recognize and take responsibility for your behaviors around others

Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy

Metacognitive therapy refers to an integrative approach that combines elements of metacognitive therapy and interpersonal therapy. Integrative approaches in Psychotherapy techniques aim to draw on the strengths of multiple therapeutic modalities to address a broader range of issues like anxiety and depression

Interpersonal Therapy Techniques

Interpersonal techniques are a widely used and evidence-based psychotherapy approach that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and addressing interpersonal issues. Specific techniques used in IPT may vary based on the therapist’s style, the client’s need, and the nature of the interpersonal issues being addressed. Therapists often make their approach to the circumstances based on the individual.

Here are some major techniques used in Interpersonal Therapy:

  • Grief: Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone or something important in our lives. Interpersonal techniques aim to help individuals process their emotions, adjust to life without their loved ones, and find meaning in their loss. Interpersonal techniques provide a framework for healing and growth.
  • Role Dispute: IPT defines an interpersonal role dispute as a situation in which the patient and an important person in the patient’s lifetime have differing expectations about their relationship. Interpersonal therapy techniques are used to heal when you and the important people in your life have different expectations about situations.
  • Role Transition: In our lifetime we go through various life transitions in which our role changes. In such situations, depression happens as you don’t know how to cope with it.

Interpersonal Challenges

Interpersonal therapy techniques are used when it is hard to form and maintain good-quality relationships.  These Techniques can help you figure out what is “getting in your way” the most and come up with strategies that can help address the interpersonal challenges you’re having.

How do Interpersonal Therapy Techniques Work?

Interpersonal therapy uses techniques that help adapt to various conditions such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression and personality disorders.

Here’s what the research found out about IPT:

Treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association American Psychological Association (2017), the Institute of Medicine (2008), and other organizations have repeatedly recommended exposure-based psychotherapies as the first-line interventions for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

These treatments help many patients with PTSD, but others are loath to undergo treatment that involves repeated exposure to frightening reminders of their trauma that they actively avoid. Furthermore, some research suggests that exposure may increase symptoms of anxiety and avoidance (Lanius, et al., 2010). Since no treatment has universal benefits, patients with PTSD and their therapists can only gain from having a choice of a range of evidence-based treatments, including therapies not involving repeated in vivo or imaginal exposure. We appreciate the editors’ invitation to describe how Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), which does not require exposure to past trauma, helps relieve symptoms of PTSD.

What does Interpersonal Therapy Treat?

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) techniques is a short-term, structured psychotherapy that focuses on resolving interpersonal issues

It offers treatment for various mental health illnesses like –

  • Major Depression: Initially IPT was developed as a time-limited treatment for depression. It recognizes the impact of interpersonal difficulties on mood and emotional well-being.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: For individuals with social anxiety, IPT techniques can help improve social skills, increase social support, and challenge negative beliefs about oneself in social situations
  • Bipolar Disorder: In the context of bipolar disorder, IPT can be integrated into the overall treatment plan to address the impact of mood episodes on relationship and interpersonal functioning
  • Eating Disorder: IPT has been adapted for use in treating eating disorders. It addresses interpersonal factors contributing to the development and maintenance of disordered eating behaviors.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): IPT may be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for individuals with PSTD, particularly in addressing the impact of trauma on relationships and interpersonal functioning.
  • Grief and losses: IPT is particularly effective in helping individuals cope with grief and loss. It provides a structured framework for expressing and processing emotions related to the death of a loved one or other significant losses.
  • Relationship Issues: Interpersonal conflicts, whether in family, romantic or social relationships, can contribute to emotional distress. ITP helps individuals navigate and resolve conflicts, improving communication and relationship satisfaction.

Impact of interpersonal Therapy techniques

Interpersonal Therapy Techniques offers several benefits for individuals facing various mental health challenges. Here are some key advantages of IPT Techniques:

  • Focused Approach: IPT is a focused and time-limited therapy that concentrates on specific interpersonal issues, making it effective for addressing targeted concerns.
  • Improves Communication Skills: IPT helps individuals enhance their communication skills, fostering better understanding and expression of emotions within interpersonal relationships.
  • Addresses Interpersonal Conflicts: The therapy is particularly adept at addressing and resolving interpersonal conflicts, whether in relationships, family dynamics, or social interactions.
  • Adaptable to Various Issues: While initially developed for depression, IPT has been adapted for various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and grief.
  • Collaborative Approach: IPT is a collaborative process between the therapist and the individual, emphasizing a supportive and collaborative relationship to achieve therapeutic goals.
  • Enhances Coping Skills: Individuals learn effective coping strategies to manage interpersonal challenges and navigate life transitions, contributing to improved mental health.
  • Addresses Root Causes: IPT focuses on the interpersonal context of emotional difficulties, aiming to identify and address the root causes of distress within relationships.

Does Interpersonal Therapy techniques work

A case study on the experience of interpersonal therapy techniques

Dynamic interpersonal therapy (DIT) is a brief manualized psychodynamic intervention for depression. This is the first study exploring clients’ experiences of DIT specifically and brief, manualized psychodynamic psychotherapy (PP) in general. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was the methodology employed. Five participants completed a semi-structured interview, three weeks to ten months after completing DIT. The scores of pre- and post-therapy outcome measures of depression and anxiety were also available.

Two emerging superordinate themes are presented here: ‘The Distinct Features of DIT’, referring to how its therapeutic style and time limitations were experienced, and (2) the ‘Impact of Therapy’, referring to perceived outcomes.

While previous findings showed that the therapist’s perceived limited activity in long-term PP was experienced as hindering/unhelpful, the perceived sense of direction in DIT appeared adequate to most participants. Secondly, the time limitations provoked complex responses. Reactions to the distinct elements of DIT are to be treated both as therapeutic opportunities and as challenges.

Further, in line with psychoanalytic theory, most participants described relational changes that went beyond symptom relief and remained in progress after therapy ended. Intriguingly, there was no consistency between participants’ qualitative accounts of change and the scores of the outcome measures.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What’s the difference between IPT and CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and IPT are both considered treatments of choice for depression and other mood disorders.

The treatments are similar. They are both short-term and diagnosis-targeted.

While IPT views depression as a biological predisposition that is triggered by interpersonal challenges, CBT sees it as a result of maladaptive strategies reinforced by dysfunctional behaviors. IPT focuses on addressing interpersonal challenges, while CBT focuses on identifying thought patterns that may negatively impact your behaviors, and therefore, your mood.

What are the three phases of IPT?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) typically involves four phases:

  • Initial Phase: This is the assessment and diagnostic phase where the therapist and client work together to understand the client’s current problems, establish treatment goals, and develop a therapeutic alliance.
  • Intermediate (Middle) Phase: The focus shifts to addressing specific interpersonal issues, such as grief, role disputes, role transitions, or interpersonal deficits. The therapist helps the client explore and understand patterns in relationships and communication.
  • Final Phase: This involves actively working on interpersonal issues identified in the previous phase.

The therapist helps the client develop strategies to improve communication, express emotions, and navigate relationships more effectively.

Who is the father of Interpersonal Therapy?

In 1969, Dr. Gerald Klerman and Dr. Eugene Paykel, together with colleagues, were designing a study to test the effectiveness of various antidepressants alone and in combination with psychotherapy. Thus, Dr. Gerald is the father of ITP.

What are the supporting pillars of ITP?

That IPT is not developed in the traditional manner of theory leading to practice does not mean that it does not have solid theoretical foundations. Specifically, IPT is supported by three theoretical pillars: attachment theory, communication theory, and social theory. The most important of the three is probably attachment theory.


In summary, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) stands as a valuable therapeutic technique, focusing on improving interpersonal relationships to alleviate psychological distress. Through its structured and time-limited nature, IPT provides individuals with practical tools to address interpersonal challenges and enhance emotional well-being.

Get Help Now

Interpersonal Therapy techniques are most often used during the acute phase of major depression, but they can also be provided as a maintenance treatment to help prevent relapse and recurrence of illness.

It is also used to treat mental health disorders like anxiety, bulimia nervosa, chronic fatigue, and mood disorders such as bipolar and dysthymic disorders.

If you are suffering from any of the above illnesses then you can contact Calusa Recovery and get personalized help from the experts. Calusa Recovery is a South Florida depression treatment and addiction treatment facility that provides efficient care for co-occurring disorders. Our specialty at the center is treating co-occurring mental health disorders with addiction, with better results. Our recently remodeled space is secure and encouraging for every client during this moment of profound change in their lives.

Begin Your Journey

Request a 100% Confidential Consultation

"*" indicates required fields


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *