Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression

Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression

Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression

Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression


Reflecting the new and exciting trends in the treatment of psychiatric patients, this book presents a model of IPT for clinically depressed patients. Gerald L. Klerman, whose research on depression has made him world renowned, and Myrna M. Weissman, who has written, with Eugene Paykel, an important book on women and depression, have worked with their colleagues to present the empirical basis for their new treatment method. This theory builds on the heritage of Harry Stack Sullivan and John Bowlby and their focus on interpersonal issues and attachment in depression. Research shows that four problem areas predominate: grief, interpersonal disputes, role transitions, and interpersonal deficits. The therapist evaluates the need for medication in addition to interpersonal therapy (IPT) and focuses on the patient's problem area. Acknowledging that these areas are never mutually exclusive, the authors present a clear treatment strategy for each problem area, augmenting their presentation with a discussion of common problems that arise during IPT.


Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression describes the theoretical and empirical basis for interpersonal psychotherapy of depression and offers a guide to the planning and conduct of the therapy. IPT is a new and, we believe, effective therapy developed specifically for the treatment of depression. The book is therefore intended for mental health professionals who are interested in learning the principles of IPT of depression.

IPT of depression has evolved over the past fifteen years from the experiences of the New Haven—Boston Collaborative Depression Research Project in the treatment of ambulatory depressed, nonpsychotic, nonbipolar patients (Bipolar depression refers to patients who were previously called manic-depressive because they have episodes of both depression and mania). Variants of IPT have been tested in several clinical trials of depressed patients: one of maintenance (Klerman et al., 1974; Weissman et al., 1974); the second of acute treatment (Weissman et al., 1979; DiMascio et al., 1979); and the third a multisite collaborative study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, which is currently underway (Waskow and Parloff). At least three other smaller clinical trials of IPT on ambulatory depressives are underway as of early 1984 (Weissman, 1984).

We believe that many types of treatment are suitable for depression, depending on the needs of the particular patient. Many psychological and pharmacologic treatments are available for use alone or in combination, and therapists will best serve each patient's needs by using a combination of research and personal empathy to settle upon a productive line of treatment for the depressed person.

This book evolved from a manual which was developed to train therapists in the concepts and techniques of IPT so that efficacy studies could be undertaken. The project, carried out by Chevron, Rounsaville, and Weissman at Yale University's Depression Research Unit, developed a program for training experienced therapists of different disciplines—psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses—in IPT principles.

This work has involved the efforts of many people over the years, especially the late Alberto DiMascio, Ph.D., who led the Boston portion of the project; Brigitte Prusoff, Ph.D., who was in charge of the data analysis of the two clinics . . .

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