We don’t live our lives in a bubble. Whether we want to or not we have to live with each other and this can affect our day-to-day experiences.
Interpersonal therapy, or IPT, is a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective for depression and anxiety in adolescents.
IPT helps us deal with our relationships with others. For adolescents important relationships include ones with parents, friends, and sometimes romantic partners. When you are depressed or anxious you might carry emotions that push you to communicate negatively with someone else. In turn that person communicates negatively with you and it can lead to problem, which often can end up making you feel worse. (Like snapping back at your mom, “Fine!” when she asks how school was on a day that didn’t go so well. She then gives you the silent treatment later that night when you try to tell her about a friend who is being distant. Now you’re even more frustrated – you can’t talk to your mom, you can’t talk to your friend. What’s going on?) This can go round and round in circles and may cause you to have even worse symptoms. IPT helps you learn skills to express your real emotions so that you can effectively communicate with someone else. It also teaches you to understand how your behavior can affect someone else.
You might have someone in your life who you feel like doesn’t listen or care or talk to you in the way you want. However, it’s important to realize how your actions affect that person too. Our emotions can build off of one another. IPT helps us identify what emotions we feel when we interact with someone and how these emotions affect our interactions. By recognizing what is going on we can make better decisions about how we want to communicate with each other. (Saying: “Hey mom – I’m sorry, but I need some alone time and then I’ll come back out and talk to you in 30 minutes. Thanks, I appreciate you asking though.”)
Have you tried IPT? How’d it go?