Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy

By Myrna M. Weissman; John C. Markowitz et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Specific Techniques

Many of the techniques used in IPT are common to psychodynamic psychotherapy and were long ago described by Bibring ( 1954) and by Menninger and Holzman ( 1971). On the other hand, IPT differs from psychodynamic psychotherapy in important respects ( Markowitz, Svartberg , and Swartz, 1998). The IPT techniques are used as part of a strategy that differs from psychodynamic psychotherapy: to treat a depressive episode rather than principally to increase insight. Each technique is used in a specific sequence and with varying frequency, depending on the characteristics of the patient and the particular interpersonal problem the patient describes. These techniques, which will be familiar to clinicians who practice many forms of psychotherapy, are defined here to specify the range of options open to the therapist practicing IPT. Techniques are not the major element of IPT: it is the strategies, described in the previous chapters, that are distinctive.

Each patient needs a different combination of techniques. The techniques are listed here in order of increasing intrusiveness on the part of the therapist and, with the exception of the adjunctive techniques, in the order they are most often used as the therapeutic relationship develops.

Patients are encouraged to use the time-limited treatment as a time to discuss feelings about, as well as to take action to change, the interpersonal problem area. Patients are encouraged to be open about their feelings, painful and pleasant, and (to use a phrase from Christopher Fairburn's Oxford IPT group) to use the time in therapy to change things.

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