Depression

John C. Markowitz

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, diagnosis-targeted, empirically tested treatment. Relative to most psychotherapies, it has been carefully studied and relatively little practiced: until recently, most of its practitioners were researchers. Yet, the success of IPT in the treatment of outpatients with major depression has led to its testing for an expanded range of diagnostic indications, and to its increasing clinical dissemination.

In our era, the empirical grounding of treatments and economic pressures on treatment have both gained increasing importance, according greater stature to treatments such as IPT. This has been reflected not only in a growing interest 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 UK Department of Health (Roth & Fonagy, 1996). This chapter is intended for clinicians in the UK who are interested in exploring IPT as one of the available interventions for mood and other disorders. Readers should also know that there is a British Interpersonal Psychotherapy Society as well as an international one (www.interpersonalpsychotherapy.org/). A recent meeting of the latter group indicated that IPT training for clinicians has advanced farther in the UK than elsewhere in the world.

This chapter provides a brief overview of IPT for clinicians. For greater depth of discussion, the reader is referred to the IPT manual (Weissman et al., 2000).

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