Interpersonal Therapy for Depression
Can IPT Work in a Group Setting? continued...
As the sessions progress, each individual's focus would be addressed and both the therapist and the other group members would help that person learn how to adjust his or her approach to the issues. The therapist might suggest role playing or brainstorming to help find the right intervention. Or the therapist might suggest communication training among members of the group. When conflict arises between group members, the therapist will often allow the group members to resolve it themselves while serving as a mediator to help avoid excessive negativity or criticism.
As with the individual therapy, termination is an important part of the process. There is still the same sense of loss, and members of the group are asked to confront that loss and to make themselves aware of the evolution of their own adjustments and how to use them to manage symptoms that may emerge when the sessions end.
What Happens After Interpersonal Therapy Ends?
Because depression is sometimes a recurrent condition, and because some people may experience multiple recurrences, patients are encouraged to supplement IPT with ongoing maintenance. Maintenance takes the form of once-monthly sessions in which the adjustments made during the short-term IPT are reinforced. The goal is to prevent the stress of increased social interaction from leading to new episodes of depression, and to help the individual continue to function at least at the level he or she was at when regular sessions ended.