IPT is a highly structured, time-limited approach, which works on the principle that psychological symptoms of depression can be improved if we improve our interactions with others. Similar to CBT it maintains a here and now focus and does not delve into past experiences of relationships. IPT treatment encourages you to utilise your social support and network to aid your recovery. As a stand-alone approach to treatment this will last 12-16 sessions.
Treatment will include 4 assessments session, during which we will explore the story of your depression which we will map onto a timeline. This can help establish when depression first became a feature which will guide our focal area. The assessment sessions will also involve gather information about your current social support network and how you access this for support, as well as how this has changed since your episode of depression.
The treatment sessions will involve different strategies depending on the focal area. Each session will involve an evaluation of your depression symptoms over the week and how these have been effecting depending on your social interactions or possibly lack of. Strategies include communication analysis for example – exploring in detail how you effectively communicate with others; how successful this was and ways to improve this. Treatment may last between 6-8 sessions.
The final part of treatment is focused on relapse planning; reviewing what you have learnt about your experience of depression; how you utilise support from others to aid your recovery; warnings signs for relapse; how to manage a relapse as well as how to access support in the future if needed. This can involve 2-4 sessions.
I regularly incorporate elements of IPT into my practice even if using CBT and EMDR as one of the main messages from IPT is how we access support from others to help in the recovery of mental health.