Strategies for Measuring the Quality of Psychotherapy: A White Paper to Inform Measure Development and Implementation. B. Interpersonal Therapy


IPT is newer than CBT and has been used predominantly in the treatment of depression. It is provided over the course of 12-16 weeks and focuses on the connection between an individual's mood and interpersonal stress (Markowitz and Weissman 2004). IPT providers address the context in which the presenting problem(s) arose and help the individual to develop coping and communication skills, and to improve his or her relationships with others.

The research supporting the effectiveness of IPT is not as extensive as that for CBT, but there is some evidence for its effectiveness in treating depression among both children and adults. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2009) recommended using IPT in the treatment of depression and suggests that individuals should initially receive 16-20 sessions of IPT over a 3-4 month period. Two other guidelines also recommend using IPT in the treatment of depression (see Table II-1), but do not suggest a specific length of treatment. Studies suggest that IPT is more effective than usual care or wait list controls, and some studies have shown that it is as effective as CBT in treating depression (Clark et al. 2012; Cuijpers et al. 2011; Jakobsen et al. 2012; Maalouf and Brent 2012; Van Hees et al. 2013). The effectiveness of IPT has been demonstrated in specialty mental health treatment settings, but its effectiveness in primary care settings is unclear (Cape et al. 2010). Its effectiveness in treating mental health problems other than depression is also uncertain.

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