Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, approach originally developed to treat mood disorders but can be used to treat other disorders. The main goal of IPT is to improve the quality of a client’s interpersonal relationships and social functioning to help reduce their distress. IPT provides strategies to resolve problems within four key areas. First, it addresses interpersonal deficits, including social isolation or involvement in unfulfilling relationships. Second, it can help patients manage unresolved grief—if the onset of distress is linked to the death of a loved one, either recent or past. Third, IPT can help with difficult life transitions like retirement, divorce, or moving to another city. Fourth, IPT is recommended for dealing with interpersonal disputes that emerge from conflicting expectations between partners, family members, close friends, or co-workers.
IPT differs from other traditional psychodynamic approaches to therapy because it examines current rather than past relationships and recognizes—but does not focus on—internal conflict