Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is an evidence-based therapy model proven effective in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Originally designed to help people with mood disorders, IPT is based on attachment and the power of relationships to help heal. This is why IPT is recommended as one of two preferred evidenced-based treatment models for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (the other being Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). So how can you tell if IPT is the right treatment for you?
You are struggling with role transition due to a new life adjustment.
When a major life transition happens such as having a baby, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and alone. You may question who you are as you juggle multiple roles. It may be hard to ask for help or clearly assert your needs. Interpersonal Psychotherapy helps to identify supports, where you are in the timeline of your life, and what you hope is to come.
You are struggling in your relationship with your partner.
Difficulties in relationships can happen when adjusting to life changes. You and your partner may have agreed to a 50-50 division of labor prior to baby’s arrive and it isn’t working out that way. You may be carrying the emotional load and start resenting your partner, but don’t say anything about it. In exploring relationship challenges, IPT helps explore the breakdown in communication in order to gain more support.
You are experiencing loss and grief.
Not all life transitions are happy ones. Many moms also grieve the loss of who they use to be, feeling lost in the transition into motherhood. Additionally, if infertility challenges or miscarriage occur, people who you thought would be there for you often don’t know what to say or aren’t present. This can leave you feeling alone in your grief. Being able to tell your story and feel seen and heard is an important part of the grief process.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy is not a rigid model.
While it is a brief therapy model, it may bring up things that someone may want to explore further as relief from the immediate challenges emerge. While IPT was developed as a talk therapy model, I have found that because of it’s relational approach, it pairs well with drama therapy in its exploration of relationships, roles, timelines, personal stories, feeling seen, role plays and practice in the art of communication.
I love using IPT in my work not only with mothers struggling with perinatal mental health challenges, but also with women going through menopause whose children are now leaving home. Since being trained to provide IPT, I have seen beautiful progress in the clients that I collaborate with. My hope is that it speaks to you too.
Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.
If you are a mother who needs support, please contact me for a free 15 minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit in working together.