Feature Article

Interpersonal therapy in the general practice setting

Kay Wilhelm, Robert May
Already a subscriber? Login here for full access.
Full Text: PDFFull Text: HTML



Interpersonal therapy is a useful tool for the treatment of patients with depression and other mental disorders. A shorter version is available for GPs, which offers a more tailored intervention and greater treatment options.

Key Points

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) has a strong evidence base for the treatment of depression.
  • IPT offers a short-term, unique approach that differs from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
  • Interpersonal counselling (IPC) is a shorter, manual-based version of IPT that is readily adapted to the general practice setting.
  • IPT and IPC formulate a patient’s mental illness in the context of their social environment.
  • IPC can be delivered by GPs and practice staff with an interest in psychological therapy with the aid of available manuals.
  • IPT works well with the medical model and the use of antidepressant medications and lends itself more adaptively to some patient circumstances than CBT.
  • IPT has been expanded to a wide range of mental disorders including anxiety, substance use and depression related to medical illness.
  • An awareness of IPT and IPC allows a more tailored intervention and greater treatment options for GPs and patients. 

    Picture credit: © Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/
    Model used for illustrative purposes only