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Interpersonal Psychotherapy and the Social Work Exam

interpersonal psychotherapy What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)? We could go into some detail, but then Wikipedia has it laid out so nicely, why waste your time? Here's the short version, just the bullet points about IPT:

  • Created in 1969, a hybrid of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Theory (Harry Stack Sullivan).
  • Short-term, time-limited, empirically validated.
  • Focuses on relationships, communication patterns. Identification and expression of emotion, dealing with unresolved grief are stressed.
  • Used at first primarily in research with depression. Use has widened some to clinical practice.

Will this be on the social work licensing exam? IPT shows up more often as a distractor (an incorrect answer) than not. But, just in case, it doesn't hurt to have these basic lodged somewhere at the back of your exam-taking brain. Having a sense of what various therapies offer helps avoid that stomach-churning, confidence-busting experience of being mystified by material the exam. "Wait, what's IPT? I've never heard of it!" Yes, you have!

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