Interpersonal Therapy

IPT is a short-term treatment for youth with depression and interpersonal problems. It focuses on relationships, life transitions and how to improve the way you communicate and relate to others. IPT helps youth learn to identify emotions and the links between events and feelings. It shows those who are dealing with a loss or major life change like starting high school or losing a good friend how to build new skills and supports. With IPT, youth begin to see how the way they communicate can cause problems. They learn how to think through issues and express themselves more effectively.

IPT is an evidence-based treatment. It can be delivered in either individual or group format (see section on group therapy for more information). IPT can be combined with family therapy for younger teens.

What types of challenges are best suited for IPT?

IPT is used mainly as a treatment for depression. It can also help youth deal with specific issues, including grief, conflict, and with major changes at home, school, work and in their social life.

IPT can be modified for the treatment of:

  • problems with substance use
  • eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa
  • bipolar disorder
  • dysthymia

How long will it take?

IPT usually lasts for 8 to 20 sessions, but this depends on the individual. Older youth normally meet with the therapist alone and parents are included in sessions at the start, middle and end of therapy.  Research shows that follow up sessions (once every 1-2 months) will decrease chances of relapse.

BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.