How Interpersonal Therapy Can Be Beneficial

Psychotherapists use interpersonal therapy (IPT) as short term limited-focus way to treat depression. This treatment has been proved to be as effective in addressing interpersonal problems as the use of antidepressants in brief period of time. It was initially developed with adult patients in mind but over time it became clear that ITP was also useful for children and adolescents. ITP recognizes that events that revolve around relationships between people do not lead to depression, however depression happens within the context of relationships thus affecting how people relate with each other and the roles they take up in relationships. Interpersonal therapy seeks to deal with issues that surround relationships, emphasizing the symptoms tied to how a person relates with others such as peers and family.

Therapists using ITP stick to a process of treatment whose effectiveness is also supported by evidence. Interpersonal therapy focuses on 3 main components which includes: social functioning, personality issues and onset of symptoms.

It is important to note that ITP is not a long term form of treatment; ideally it consists of intensive hourly sessions that take place over a span of 2 to 4 months. It does not deal with personality problems but seek to focus on problems that are identifiable as to how the patient either interacts or avoids interaction with others. As the identified problems are dealt with during therapy session the individual begins to see improvement in their mood and signs of depression may start to dissipate.

Usually, depression symptoms are not addressed by therapists except in instances where they might be very severe. Therapists using ITP works closely with patients either as an individual or in a group setting so as to pin point and deal with significant problems in their interactions. It often limits the number of problems to one or two in the course of the whole treatment. This has the effect of focusing on the required changes in interpersonal interactions that is brought to bear on depression.

Interpersonal therapy focuses on at least four problem areas which are liable for causing depression in individuals. Patients are assisted to figure out which specific areas are responsible for causing depression. This helps to focus therapy on those areas so as to assist the patient deal with the problematic issues concerned. The following are the basic problem areas identified by ITP:

Unresolved grief
This refers to grief that is either distorted or delayed and experienced after the individual has gone through some sort of loss in their life. In such instances, the person may not grieve in the usual sense, but is likely to exhibit other symptoms. Grief, especially through death of a loved one, is expected to last for several weeks or months as the person moves on with life. When this is stretched beyond the normal period or is excessive then it begins to pose problems in the life of the individual.

Role disputes
In some instances the individual may have some conflicting expectations with significant people in their lives about certain aspects of how they should relate. Role disputes occur in various areas such as in marriage, school, work and family settings. Problems that emanate from conflicts as result of expectations leads to distress which affects the individual

Interpersonal deficits
This refers to the inability of the patient to have or form meaningful relationships with others. Patients may reports impoverished relationships which may be in quality or quantity. This may lead to the patient withdrawing from or avoiding certain or all forms of social situations.

Role transitions
This refers to problems that may occur in the course of transitioning through life when the patient is expected to take on new roles which demands making certain changes. In some instances the individual may not be able to cope with sudden upheaval.

ITP uses certain techniques through the course of therapy, these may include:

Identifying emotion
Here therapists help the patient to identify their emotions and where they originate from.

Expressing emotions
Patients are assisted to express their emotions in a healthy manner.

Confronting and dealing with their unresolved emotions
The past has a way of catching up with people hence issues from past relationship often can influence current relationships. Therapists help patients to deal with their emotional baggage thus setting them free to be more objective in present and future relationships.

Interpersonal therapy focuses on all the above issues thus assisting the patient who is depressed get new way of making the necessary changes required to deal with interpersonal issues and improving their relationships.

The Basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), employed to treat depression, is a type of therapy which involves conversation and teamwork between a therapist and a patient in an attempt to discover new systematic techniques to change or curb negative thoughts which can arise during depressive states. CBT helps to change the way a person thinks (Cognitive) and reacts (Behavior). These changes can help the patient to feel better since it focuses on the ‘present’ complications and difficulties. Rather than concentrating on the causes of the depression or past symptoms; it looks for methods to improve the patient’s current state of mind and the way they think and approach situations that have triggered their depression symptoms in the past.


An Overview:

CBT for depression is a kind of psychotherapy which typically instructs patients to take into account how their thought patterns influences their moods. Psychological issues such as depression arise out of the cognitive theory of depression, that states, several people get depressed due to recurrent, negative thoughts. Cognitive therapy for dejection typically asks the patients to assess their thoughts and analyze their psychological reactions to those thoughts, with the assistance and supervision of a therapist. This therapy can aid patients in replacing negative thoughts with the positive ones, and it also helps the patients to bring about behavioral transformation that offers positive reinforcement and experience. CBT for despair is effective in treating mild to severe cases of depression.

Theory behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Several cognitive psychologists share a common opinion that thought patterns generally forecast mood. People who usually experience optimistic thoughts enjoy enhanced feelings of happiness and good mood, whereas people who weigh themselves down under negative thoughts often suffer from low mood or exhibit evidence of depression. Many cognitive psychologists state that it is normal to have the sporadic negative thought. Depression most frequently ensues once negative thoughts develop into a habit and keeps recurring routinely. Usually, the patient himself fails to recognize the negative nature of most of his thoughts.

How It Works:

Therapists who employ cognitive therapy for depression believe that it can be treated by minimizing the occurrence of negative and erroneous thoughts that influence the depressed patient. The therapist typically asks the patient to observe his thought processes all through the duration of his depressed mood. The therapist usually asks the patient to present evidence that adverse thoughts may not be precisely true. Once the patient himself uncovers the evidence to disagree with a particular pessimistic thought; the therapist works on it to build a strong positive outlook which is employed to replace the depressing one. CBT typically suggests patients to analyze the way they normally think and swap any disheartening thoughts with the optimistic ones whenever possible.

Additionally, cognitive psychologists request patients to change their behavior and response to circumstances that may possibly spark depression. Most people who suffer from depression experience strong emotions of despondent mood during certain situations or certain times during the day. Therapists typically aid their patients to form positive and favorable responses to these situations and through this technique, patients tend to improve their own situations and benefit from more positive experiences, especially in circumstances and situations that once caused depression and worsened mood.

CBT aids to make the patient understand that the problems are most often formed by their thoughts. The situation itself does not make them unhappy, but it is the way they think about it and react.

Situation: You go for a walk and your friend walks by ignoring you.

Negative thoughts such as ‘he ignored me’ results in you feeling depressed and you choose to avoid your friend.

However, positive thoughts like ‘he looked lost – I hope nothing is wrong?’ implies that you are concerned about your friend and instead of nurturing negative feelings; you contact him to ensure if everything is fine. CBT helps to inculcate positive and helpful thoughts that aid to evade unhelpful feelings and make the person view a situation from a better perspective.

Effectiveness of the Treatment:

Even though the cognitive therapy process for depression may be slow, it is considered to be quite effective. Patients that experience mild to moderate desolation normally notice a reduction of symptoms solely with cognitive behavioral therapy treatment. Patients that suffer from severe depression can obtain significant benefit as well, however they may additionally need to take antidepressant drugs. Psychologists affirm that patients who go through cognitive therapy to treat depression, with or devoid of concurrent use of medication, typically face a lower chance of relapse as compared to the patients who opt to treat depression with over-the-counter medication.

Duration of the Treatment:

CBT normally entails weekly or bi-weekly meetings with a therapist. The number of meetings varies significantly depending upon the issues and objectives, with the treatment process generally lasting from one to six months.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of treatment that has constantly been shown to be amongst the most effectual in reducing or eliminating depression disorders by concentrating on a person’s thoughts and perceptions and their affect on his disposition and actions. CBT has a proven history of effectiveness and for those who do not wish to take antidepressants cognitive behavorial therapy may be a recommended course of treatment depending on the patient’s needs.