Chapter 10. Theory of Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Joshua D. Lipsitz, Ph.D.
DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9781585623648.369939



Since the publication of the original interpersonal therapy (IPT) text (Klerman et al. 1984), little attention has been paid to clarifying the unique conceptual approach of IPT. This is no accident. IPT was devised with a clear emphasis on clinical utility and practical efficacy rather than theory (Weissman 2006). Its advocates have tried to retain focus on IPT technique and on efficacy research. However, inattention to theoretical issues has led to some confusion about the conceptual boundaries of IPT and how this treatment contrasts with other commonly used psychotherapies (Markowitz et al. 1998). It has also been suggested that lack of elaboration on IPT's conceptual approach may impede broader dissemination—as practitioners are unsure what distinguishes IPT from other approaches (Stuart 2006).

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