Harry Stack Sullivan studied and formulated the interpersonal psychoanalysis, beginning in the year 1892. The basic assumption is that the analysis should focus on the interactions of the client early on so that the therapist can identify with their current mental condition. The therapy is founded on Sullivan's idea that an individual's interaction with others is what renders them with insight about their mental health. Every individual’s personalities is created and shaped by the interactions that he/she has with others beginning from childhood. The therapy is expected to access these disturbances through treatment so that the individual responds to the self which is currently experiencing difficulty.
What to expect?
Interpersonal Psychoanalysis aims at outlining the components of the patient’s personality and how the interaction of these components affect their relationships with themselves and others.
How does it work?
Interpersonal Psychoanalysis proceeds by identifying four problematic areas that might result in depression. The therapist role is to assist the client identify what area has led in their own depression and similar issues. After the recognition part is done, the session consists of the patient dealing with these problematic areas of their self. The four categories are as follows: unresolved grief, role disputes, role transitions and interpersonal deficits.
The sessions begins with focusing on different tasks. The aim of the first session is to recognize and diagnose the causes which are making the patient deal with interpersonal conflicts and the patients reaction to those socially conflicting situation. The therapist’s primary focus is on the client's current relationships, history behind the conflict and the information that helps to resolve this problem. A treatment plan is thereon created. The therapist stresses upon four categories when formulating the individual treatment for the patient.
When the client is dealing with unresolved grief the therapist usually begin working with them so that healthy functioning can be restored. When a major life stressing event occur, people commonly experiences grief. The emotions associated with it causes the individual to disassociate with the negative emotions that has led them to depression and unhealthy behavior. When the client is suffers from a role dispute it can be due to certain expectations that he or she posses from people in their lives and those expectations weren’t met. Role transitions are common in those who could have a history of depression when their lives were transitioning and roles were changing – they might have been unsure about how they should cope with the change. If the therapist finds that the patient is experiencing interpersonal deficits, it can be accounted to the difficulty they face in creating relationships with others for one reason or another.
When is Interpersonal Psychoanalysis Used?
Interpersonal Psychoanalysis is usually employed when an individual is dealing with hardships which is due to the result of the way that they are behaving. Their behavior in this case is viewed as a reaction to past obstacles and relationships.
Role of therapist:
By bringing the important characteristics out through selective inattention the therapist begins the study of the patient. They proceeds by focusing on how the client maintains relationships with themselves, others as well as their tendencies and patterns in which they behave. By analyzing this, the therapist thereupon begin to recognize what might have been the cause for the individual to hold their current behavior. By asking relevant question and allowing the individual to reflect on their thoughts, the therapist starts to understand and alter the patients damaging perception.
The effectiveness of individual interpersonal psychotherapy as a treatment for major depressive disorder in adult outpatients: a systematic review. (2013).