What is Interpersonal Therapy?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Human beings are social creatures, and much of a person’s well-being and sense of safety in the world can be traced to the health, or lack thereof, of their relationships. When someone does not know how to communicate with others, or how to set healthy boundaries and enforce them, they can experience distress and even trigger mental health disorder symptoms when conflict arises. People in recovery from addiction can also benefit from learning interpersonal communication tools. Patients with mental health or substance use disorders and their loved ones often need guidance from a qualified therapist on how to navigate their relationships and dealings with others. Regularly attending pre-scheduled interpersonal therapy sessions can meet this crucial need in at-risk patients.

What is interpersonal psychotherapy?

Interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT, is a time-limited type of evidence-based approach to alleviating mental health disorder symptoms. IPT is focused on treating a specific issue in the patient’s life related to their interpersonal relationships and their social functioning. Relationships and social functioning is often a source of significant stress in mental health disorder and substance use disorder patients. A trained therapist in interpersonal techniques sets goals with their patients that are focused on how to resolve issues in four critical areas.

This area of therapy relates to a patient’s tendency to isolate or withdraw from society, or their involvement with a toxic or unfulfilling relationship.

In some cases of mental health disorders or substance abuse, symptoms were triggered by the death of a loved one or another significant loss. IPT will address these issues if present.

Significant life transitions, such as a career change, retirement, moving, or divorce can impact a person’s mental health and their ability to relate to others.

Patients often come to IPT therapy for help with a specific disagreement or fight with a loved one. During IPT, the therapist will give the patient the tools they need to navigate these specific stressors in a healthy way that preserves the relationship or helps the patient enforce their boundaries.

Who can benefit from IPT?

Initially, the therapy was used to treat major depressive disorder. But it is also highly effective for other mental health conditions, and drug or alcohol addiction. IPT is different from other talk therapies, such as CBT or DBT. These therapies focus on the patient’s inner thoughts and responses to stress. IPT instead focuses on how to address interpersonal conflict and communication issues that happen in relationships where mental health disorders or drug addiction are present. Studies have found that IPT is as effective as CBT or DBT. The use of IPT versus CBT or DBT is dependent on the patient’s individual needs and preferences.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug addiction and mental health disorder symptoms, it’s never too late to reach out for help from an experienced team of clinicians and therapists. The doctors and counselors at Mission Harbor Behavioral Health are experienced with a variety of therapy techniques that are effective at alleviating the distressing symptoms of mental health disorders and substance abuse. Please contact Mission Harbor today to explore your options for treatment.

The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.

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