Interpersonal Psychotherapy

A review of the literature suggests that a small number of non-cognitive or behavioural treatment alternatives exist for the treatment of social anxiety (for a review see Lipsitz & Marshall, 2001). These studies show promising results but are limited by a lack of rigorous methodology, such as incorporation of control groups or larger sample sizes. Promising results come from a recent uncontrolled trial applying interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) to nine individuals with social anxiety disorder (Lipsitz et al., 1999). IPT is a time-limited treatment approach that focuses on disruptions in the psychosocial and interpersonal context which may underlie psychological disorders. Treatment includes the identification and exploration of primary interpersonal problems, examination of communication styles, decisions analysis and role playing. Following 14 weeks of treatment, seven (78 %) clients were classified as responders by independent evaluators and general symptom improvement was found on several clinician-administered and self-rated measures of social anxiety. Further controlled evaluation in a larger sample is needed.

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