Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Denise E. Wilfley, Allison L. Shore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief, time-limited treatment that was originally developed for the treatment of major depression. IPT is derived from theories in which interpersonal function is recognized as a critical factor in psychological adjustment and well-being. IPT is also based on empirical research connecting change in the social environment to the onset and maintenance of depression. Although the initial goal of IPT is to reduce symptoms of depression, the major goal is to improve the quality of the patient's current interpersonal relations and social functioning. IPT moves through three defined phases, each of which is associated with specific strategies and tasks for the therapist and patient. Its well-defined and unique treatment strategies are aimed at resolving problems within four social domains: grief, interpersonal role disputes, role transitions, and interpersonal deficits. IPT has been found to be efficacious for major depression and has also been successfully adapted to treat other types of mood and nonmood disorders (e.g., eating disorders and anxiety disorders). In this article, IPT's development, treatment phases and strategies, therapeutic stance, and outcome research are described. In addition, areas in need of further research are delineated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Time-limited psychotherapy


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