Interpersonal Psychotherapy

What Is Interpersonal Psychotherapy and When Is It Worthwhile?

Interpersonal psychotherapy is very different from the more commonly used intrapsychic therapy, as it focuses on relationships rather than the psychology of individual patients who are being treated. In other words, rather than addressing the psychological condition of a patient through internal treatment, interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on how the patient interacts with other people.

Interpersonal psychotherapy can be used to treat most of the conditions that intrapsychic therapy is used to treat, including:

You may have learned something about interpersonal therapy and you’re considering it as an alternative to standard therapy. Here are a few things that every patient should know when considering or pursuing this special type of treatment.

The Value of Interpersonal Relationships

Relationships can give a psychologist, psychiatrist, or sociologist a lot of information about his subjects. The way that a patient interacts with other people has always been important to fields of psychology, and interpersonal psychotherapy simply focuses more on developing these relationships in a healthy way.

Like standard therapy, interpersonal therapy starts by setting goals and achieves them through the application of therapeutic techniques. These techniques can vary greatly from one therapist to the next. However, while the challenges and conditions of various patients will require intelligent and varied treatment on the part of the therapist, all interpersonal therapy is based on established concepts. As such, it’s very important to find a therapist who is well trained and capable of addressing your individual needs.

Finding an Interpersonal Therapist

All fields of psychological treatment require a knowledgeable and well trained individual, and this is no different in the field of interpersonal therapy. Patients should look for a therapist with a degree in sociology or psychiatry. It’s also beneficial to choose a therapist with a long history of interpersonal psychology work, or at least a therapist who has an established career in psychotherapy and in administering treatment.

As interpersonal therapy is a very specialized area, it requires special knowledge and experience. The International Society for Interpersonal Psychotherapy (ISIPT) is a great place to start if you’re trying to find a therapist with a specialization in this field. The ISIPT works to certify therapists and to provide patients with the information that they need to make a knowledgeable decision.

Once you’ve found a therapist, you will work with him or her to develop a treatment schedule. You’ll set goals and meet them by developing your interpersonal relationships. The means used to achieve your goals will vary by therapist. Many therapists will spend most treatment time talking with individuals and helping them realize ways that relationships can be improved.

The skills of the patient are developed over time, and depending on the conditions of the patient, an interpersonal therapist may be necessary for a few months or for many years. Many patients are concerned about cost, as interpersonal therapists charge hourly rates that can climb over $200 an hour. However, many therapists offer special rates to patients who can’t afford these costs, and some offer income-based schedules. In certain situations, it may be possible to pay for therapy with insurance.

Using an interpersonal therapist can be an excellent way to treat a variety of issues. However, every individual should be careful to choose a licensed professional and should consider whether interpersonal therapy is right for them. Developing relationships is an effective form of treatment for many problems, and for some patients, interpersonal psychotherapy can succeed where traditional therapy has failed.


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