Interpersonal Therapy and Depression
Since interpersonal therapy is a short-term form of treatment, it is often combined with other types of "maintenance" therapy for depression, such as supportive counseling on a monthly basis. The focus on interpersonal therapy is mainly on the relationships in your life and examining dysfunction in these relationships.
During the first phase of treatment, usually lasting for the first three sessions, the main focus is primarily on understanding the presenting problem, that is, the issue or issues that caused you to seek treatment in the first place. The symptoms of depression and your interpersonal relationships are discussed in detail, such as difficulties with your spouse, immediate family, work relationships, friendships, and so on.
The second phase of treatment examines the problems in your primary relationships. The difficulties you are experiencing with others is believed to cause or exacerbate your depressive symptoms are looked at in detail. Additionally, issues such as grief or delayed grief in response to the loss of a loved one, role transitions, such as becoming a stay-at-home mom after having worked for a number of years and interpersonal deficits are examined. Interpersonal deficit means that you have difficulties maintaining relationships across the board, that is, there is an underlying issue, or social deficit, that is preventing you from enjoying fulfilling, meaningful relationships. The therapist tries to work with these issues and promote change through the establishment of the therapeutic relationship, identification of the issues, and bringing them to light and consequently trying to modify these behaviors.