Interpersonal Therapy

We don’t live our lives in a bubble. Whether we want to or not we have to live with each other and this can affect our day-to-day experiences.

Interpersonal therapy, or IPT, is a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective for depression and anxiety in adolescents.

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IPT helps us deal with our relationships with others. For adolescents important relationships include ones with parents, friends, and sometimes romantic partners. When you are depressed or anxious you might carry emotions that push you to communicate negatively with someone else. In turn that person communicates negatively with you and it can lead to problems, which often can make you feel worse. (Maybe your child snaps back at you, “Fine!” when you asks how school was on a day that didn’t go so well. You then as a result give your child the silent treatment later that night when they try to tell you about a friend who is being distant. Now your child is even more frustrated. What is going on?) This can go round and round in circles and may cause you to have worse symptoms. IPT teaches skills to help your child express their real emotions so that they can effectively communicate with someone else. It also teaches them to understand how their behavior can affect someone else.

You might have someone in your life you feel like who doesn’t listen or care or talk to you in the way you want. However, it is also important to realize how your actions affect that person too. Our emotions can build off of one another. IPT helps us identify what emotions we feel when we interact with someone and how our emotions affect our interactions. By recognizing what is going on we can make better decisions about how we want to communicate with each other. (Your child could instead say: “Hey mom – I’m sorry but I need some alone time and then I’ll come back out and talk to you in 30 minutes. Thanks, I appreciate you asking though.”)

Has your child tried IPT? How’d it go?

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