Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, and the most searched for issue on RSCPP. If you are affected by depression, you may be experiencing low mood, loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities and, in more severe cases, suicidal thoughts. One of the treatments for depression, recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is interpersonal therapy. We asked RSCPP's Chartered Psychologist Helen Macallan to explain what it is and how it works.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) focuses on the 'here and now' - exploring your disputes, frustrations, anxieties and wishes, in relation to the significant others in your world. It aims to help you develop more effective strategies to deal with these interpersonal issues. Unlike most other therapies, this may include inviting significant others to one or more of the therapy sessions (only, of course, with your agreement).
IPT starts by recognising that if you are experiencing depression, you not only have to cope with your own symptoms but also the way in which your depression both impacts and is influenced by your relationships with those around you. Drawing on well established approaches to understanding depression, IPT places particular emphasis on the your current interpersonal relationships, while not ignoring the symptoms of depression you are grappling with.
It is a focused and time-limited therapy - most often 16 sessions.
Following interpersonal therapy you would hope to feel less weighed down by depression, to understand the way that depression has impacted you, and be more connected to your significant others. You may be more able to recognise the way that your patterns of interaction might contribute to or influence your mood, and may have found ways to talk together with them in more constructive ways.