The Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) approach to relieving depression and preventing relapse is based on the idea that depression is best understood in the context of social and interpersonal events. The word “interpersonal” is used to describe relationships or communications between two or more people. The primary goal of IPT is to understand the link between a person’s depression and their interpersonal life; that is, how depressive symptoms affect interpersonal relationships and how interpersonal events can generate depressive symptoms. 

How does IPT work?

IPT begins with an explanation of two basic principles: 

  1. Depression is a medical illness that can be treated like any other medical condition
  2. Depression is related to recent events (Bleiberg & Markowitz, 2008). 

There are four potential areas of focus in IPT therapy and the specific strategies used depend on which problem areas are selected (Weissman, Markowitz, & Klerman, 2000).    The four areas include:

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