Kathryn L Bleiberg and John C Markowitz

Weill Medical College of Cornell University, USA

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited (12-16 sessions), diagnosis-targeted, empirically tested treatment. Relative to most psychotherapies, it has been carefully studied but, until recently, used primarily in research settings and not widely used in clinical practice. The success of IPT in the treatment of outpatients with major depression has led to its testing for an expanded range of diagnostic indications. Furthermore, it has grown from being a treatment used by research therapists into an increasingly popular treatment approach for clinicians in private practice.

The increasing focus on the empirical grounding of treatments and growing economic pressures on treatment accord greater stature to treatments like IPT. This has been reflected not only in a growing interesting in clinical training in IPT but in treatment guidelines from several countries and professional organizations. A local example is What Works for Whom? based on a report commissioned for the National Health Service of the English Department of Health (Roth & Fonagy, 1996) The rising international interest among researchers and community clinicians led to the organization of the First International Conference of Interpersonal Psychotherapy, held in June 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference provided an opportunity for clinicians to learn more about IPT and its adaptations.

This chapter is intended for clinicians in the United Kingdom who are interested in exploring IPT as one of the available evidence-based interventions for mood and other disorders. Readers should also know that there is a British Interpersonal Psychotherapy Society as well as an international one (http://www.interpersonalpsychotherapy.org/). This chapter provides a brief overview of IPT for clinicians. For greater depth of discussion, the reader is referred to the IPT manual (Weissman, Markowitz & Klerman, 2000).

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