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Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Healing with a Relational Focus
Paula Ravitz, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.; Priya Watson, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.
FOCUS 2014;12:275-284. doi:10.1176/appi.focus.12.3.275
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Paula Ravitz, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto.

Priya Watson, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto.

The authors receive book royalties and report no other financial relationships with commercial interests.

The authors thank Jamie Park in the Mt. Sinai Hospital, Department of Psychiatry Research Office for assistance with manuscript review and editing, the Mt. Sinai Hospital Morgan Firestone Psychotherapy Chair, the CAMH Office of Education, Dr. Alan Ravitz, Susan Biglieri, and Edward McAnanama for their clinical wisdom and assistance with the manuscript. No funding was received for this project.

Address correspondence to Dr. Ravitz, 600 University Ave., Room 930, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ont., Canada, M5G 1X5; e-mail: pravitz@mtsinai.on.ca


Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on relationship stressors and ways to adaptively engage with social supports. Since the first controlled IPT depression study 40 years ago, new applications of the model have emerged, informed by research and public health needs. Evidence for its effectiveness has led to its inclusion in expert consensus treatment guidelines for the treatment of depression, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder. This paper provides a clinical synthesis of IPT, reviewing adaptations that include: IPT-A, for use with adolescents with depression; interpersonal social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), for patients with bipolar disorder; IPT, for patients with eating disorders; and IPT, for patients with depression in culturally diverse settings. With its clear clinical guidelines, therapist- and patient-friendly approach, and data supporting its effectiveness, IPT is easily integrated into mental health care to help patients with mood or eating disorders and interpersonal problems.

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Figure 1. IPT for Depression Pocket Card.

Adapted & Reprinted from “Psychotherapy Essentials to Go: Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression” © 2013 by Paula Ravitz, Priya Watson, Sophie Grigoriadis. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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Table 1.Consensus Treatment Guidelines that Include IPT


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Sample questions:
Which of the following best represents the role of psychotherapy in the treatment of bipolar disorder?

See Swartz and Swanson; Results, p 252
An evidence-based psychotherapy that has not been tested as treatment for individuals with bipolar disorder is which of the following:

See Swartz and Swanson; Table 2: Description of Evidence-Based, Bipolar Specific Psychotherapies, p 259
How does psychopathology develop within the framework of metacognitive theory?

See Mundy and Hofmann; Meta-Cognitive Therapy, p 267
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