Talk therapy plays an important role in helping people recover from clinical depression, but with so many types, it can be difficult to choose whether therapy is right for you. Here are three reasons to consider interpersonal psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy, also often called “talk therapy” or simply “therapy,” is one of the two first-line treatments for depression, the other, of course, being antidepressants. Anyone with moderate to severe depression is likely to benefit from a combination of the two, while people with mild depression can often recover with the help of therapy alone.
Deciding that it’s time to explore therapy is a very important first step, but it’s also where things can get confusing. There are, after all, what appears to be a million different types of therapeutic approaches, and choosing which one is right for you can be tricky. Why might interpersonal psychotherapy be a good option for you if you suffer from depression?
What is interpersonal psychotherapy?
AGREE. You know what “psychotherapy” is and probably also what “interpersonal” is, but in case you don’t, it refers to anything that happens between people, mainly relationships of any kind and communication. Interpersonal psychotherapy, TIP for short, is, then, a type of therapy that focuses on the relationships between you, the person going through it, and other people in your life.
Many of the different types of therapies out there were originally developed to treat patients with specific problems or disorders, and IPT is no exception – it was designed precisely for people with major depression. The idea, now fairly well researched, is that common problems people go through can contribute to causing depression, or at least make it worse. TIP is intended to help you find new and better ways to deal with these common “interpersonal problems”:
- Grief: which can trigger adjustment disorder with depressed mood, as well as major depression.
- Role transition – where you struggle with your place in the world as you change, such as when you retire, have a baby, or get divorced.
- Role dispute: where you have conflicts with people who are important to you.
Interpersonal deficits: being socially isolated and alone.
In therapy, you would analyze your feelings, your situation, your past, other people in your life, and work to create solutions. The therapist will listen to you and teach you techniques that have been shown to help.
So why should people with clinical depression consider IPT?
1. Interpersonal psychotherapy effective in treating for depression
A large number of scientific studies have examined how well interpersonal therapy works, how effective it is in treating depression. It is important, here, to point out that the fact that one therapy works well does not necessarily reflect badly on another therapy that also works well, but nonetheless:
Research has shown that interpersonal psychotherapy has a “moderate to large” effect as a treatment for depression. That means it is quite effective.
TIP in combination with antidepressants was found to be more effective than TIP alone, but not much more effective.
Studies have not indicated that interpersonal therapy is better at helping people recover from depression than cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of therapy that is even better known, but neither has it been shown to be less effective. The two appear to offer similar benefits.
2. Interpersonal therapy is fast
When you’re depressed, you’ll benefit from therapy that works – fast – so you can feel better as soon as possible and get on with your life. Interpersonal therapy was designed to be “time-limited,” which means you should notice a significant improvement in your symptoms in a short period of time. The standard format consists of 12 to 16 sessions, one per week, which can last between 45 minutes and an hour. Some people only have or cho sessions, and this may also work well.
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Your therapist will give you “homework,” but the good news is that therapy sessions will be short-lived, and you can reasonably expect to feel much better within a predetermined time frame.
3. Helps you overcome interpersonal difficulties
No two depressed people are the same, so it stands to reason that different people benefit from different treatment approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy, the other main therapy option, focuses on helping patients identify faulty thought patterns and unhelpful behaviors, so they can later change them. Some people are going to have trouble with this central idea, as it assumes that you have trouble with “wrong” thinking and “destructive” behaviors by definition.
These are not the core ideas of interpersonal therapy, which instead help you develop better ways of coping, better ways of relating to other people, better ways of problem solving interpersonal problems, better ways of expressing yourself, and better ways of develop social relationships. systems support. That sounds a lot more positive, doesn’t it?
Interpersonal problems are unlikely to be the sole cause of major depressive disorder and other diagnoses that fall under the umbrella of “depression,” but they can make an absolute contribution and worsen your symptoms. It makes sense that this more open therapy can help you, then.