Interpersonal Psychotherapy Techniques

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Interpersonal therapy is a therapeutic approach that uses the relationships of the patient in order to change his or her condition for the better. By improving the communication patterns of the patient, as well as the way that he or she relates to people, this therapy aims to treat depression.

The interpersonal therapy comprises a series of techniques. One of them is the identification of the emotion, the purpose of which is basically helping the patient to identify the both one of his or her feelings and its sources. After these have been identified, the Emotion Expression technique steps in to help the patient express it in the best – with a sense of healthy – way possible.

The emotional baggage and the optimal way of dealing with it is another approach of the interpersonal therapy. A lot of people are unconsciously keeping emotions from past relationships and bring them into the new ones, which sometimes have very negative effects on them. When realizing these aspects, the patient starts to be more aware, objective and, at the same time, careful about his or her relationship.

G. Klermann and M. Weissman were the ones that established the foundations of the interpersonal therapy back in the 1980’s. This therapy was originally designed for treating depression, but it evolved and now is a therapeutic procedure that has a pre-established period of sixteen to eighteen weeks and deals with the social aspects of disorders and the improvement of the interpersonal functions.

Other fields in which the interpersonal therapy has been employed are the bipolar and eating disorders and the results were proved to be very good. At least one third of the patients suffering from social anxiety disorder have been very little or not responsive to cognitive behavioral therapy or drug treatment and, as a consequence of this, the interpersonal therapy is considered to be a more viable alternative.

The four areas of the interpersonal therapy have been identified as being the role transition, the interpersonal disputes, the interpersonal deficits and the grief. All of these are addressed during the sixteen to eighteen sessions.

Role transitions are in fact different approaches to different situations and the difficulties in assuming the appropriate approach at a certain point is something to work on with the help of the therapist.

The therapist will help the patient identify some problems in the day to day communication and also instruct him or her to use certain strategies to overcome these issues.

The interpersonal deficits are an area in which the therapist will identify the elements the patient lacks when relating to other individuals with whom he or she has some relationships. If these are missing, the therapist will use the relationship he himself or she herself has with the patient as a test and will help him or her to explore various aspects and deal with various difficulties.

If the patient is overwhelmed by the grief due to someone’s death or any other kind of loss, this will be addressed during the therapy sessions.

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I’ve hurt myself while trying to help myself more than you can imagine, that’s why I want to scientifically analyze every popular self-help technique and ‘method’ there is.