Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) was developed as a time-limited, individual, outpatient treatment for patients with acute major depression. Social supports have been demonstrated as protective against depression, and social disruptions as triggers and consequences of depressive episodes. The IPT therapist helps the patient to understand his or her problem as a treatable medical illness that occurs in an interpersonal context, and helps the patient to solve a crisis in that context. This leads to improvement of both the patient's life and mood disorder. IPT for depression focuses on one or two of four problem areas, defined in a formulation that links the mood diagnosis to its interpersonal context. These four problem areas all have empirical support for their relevance to major depression.
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