What Is Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy?

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What Is Interpersonal Therapy?

Interpersonal therapy, also known as dynamic interpersonal therapy or DIT for short, is a type of psychotherapy. It focuses on the interpersonal relationships and social roles of patients to help them improve their mental health.

Dynamic interpersonal therapy is based on the premise that psychological symptoms, such as depression, are often a response to difficulties in relationships. It was initially developed in the 1970s by Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman for the treatment of depression.

While DIT treats depression, it has been adapted for other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder. It’s an evidence-based treatment, meaning that it occurs in research studies and is effective for certain conditions.

What are the Different Types of Interpersonal Therapy?

Dynamic Interpersonal therapy (DIT) is a common, structured, and time-limited form of psychotherapy that focuses on addressing current problems and improving interpersonal relationships.

The primary types of DIT include:


      • Standard Interpersonal Therapy (DIT) —  This is the basic form of DIT that treats depression. It focuses on four problem areas: grief, role disputes, role transitions, and interpersonal deficits.

      • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) — This form of DIT treats bipolar disorder. It combines traditional DIT techniques with techniques to help patients strengthen their routines and social rhythms, aiming to prevent the onset of manic and depressive episodes.

      • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Adolescents (DIT-A) —  This variant of DIT treats depression in adolescents. It focuses on the same four problem areas as standard DIT but with modifications suitable for this age group.

      • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Postpartum Depression (DIT-P) — This form of DIT focuses specifically on postpartum depression. It helps new mothers navigate the significant life changes, role transitions, and interpersonal disputes that can trigger or worsen postpartum depression.

      • Brief Interpersonal Psychotherapy (DIT-B) —  This version of DIT is a short-term, crisis-focused treatment. It treats a variety of disorders and helps in situations where longer-term therapy isn’t feasible, such as in emergency rooms or inpatient psychiatric units.

      • Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (DIT-G) —  This type of DIT happens in a group setting. It allows participants to learn from and support each other. It can be effective for a variety of conditions, including depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

      • Interpersonal Therapy for Eating Disorders (DIT-ED) —  This is a specific form of DIT that treats eating disorders. It focuses on interpersonal issues that can contribute to these conditions.

      • Interpersonal Therapy for PTSD (DIT-PTSD) —  This approach treats individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. It focuses on interpersonal conflicts, role transitions, and other issues that might contribute to PTSD symptoms.

    Please note that these types of DIT might vary in the length and number of sessions, the specifics of the therapeutic techniques used, and the precise focus of the therapy, depending on the specific needs of the individual or group.

    Remember that while DIT is often used for conditions like depression and anxiety, it can also be beneficial for a range of other mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and more. It’s always important to consult with a mental health professional to determine the best therapy type for your individual needs.

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    Techniques Used in Interpersonal Therapy

    DIT is a time-limited treatment that typically lasts for 12 to 16 sessions. It targets the areas of interpersonal issues that are most relevant to a person’s current state.

    These areas are typically grouped into four categories:

    • Grief work  If a patient is dealing with loss, the therapist may use techniques to help the patient work through their grief. This could involve discussing the loss, expressing emotions related to the loss, and developing ways to cope with the loss.
    • Interpersonal role disputes —  This is an assessment of the patient’s interpersonal relationships. This step helps the therapist and patient identify social and relational issues that may be contributing to the patient’s mental health condition.
    • Roleplaying —  This technique is used to rehearse new behaviors, improve communication, or practice conflict resolution. The therapist may play the part of someone in the patient’s life, giving the patient an opportunity to practice new skills in a safe environment.
    • Interpersonal deficits —  This DIT technique helps you examine your interpersonal weaknesses. This can include thoughts of inadequacy, difficulty expressing emotions, and any other sentiments or ideas that are hindering you from communicating properly.

    How Can Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy Help Me?

    Dynamic interpersonal therapy can be beneficial for a variety of conditions including:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Insomnia
    • Fatigue
    • Migraines
    • Irritability
    • Aches and pains
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Restlessness
    • Runny nose
    • Sweating
    • Diarrhea
    • Goosebumps
    • Chills
    • Tremors

    Remember, individual experiences with therapy can vary greatly, and what works best will depend on your unique circumstances, symptoms, and needs. If you’re considering therapy, it’s always a good idea to consult with a mental health professional who can guide you toward the most beneficial form of therapy for you.

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    Mental Health Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

    If you or a loved one are considering mental health treatment, the behavioral therapy experts at South Coast Behavioral Health are here to help. We can assist with addiction and mental health issues, including mood disorders and depressive disorders using our psychodynamic therapies. 

    Aside from DIT therapy, we offer a variety of mental health treatment approaches, including:

    • Individual therapy
    • Group therapy
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Therapy for trauma

    Residential Treatment in California

    With residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach patients get round-the-clock medical attention and monitoring while living at the institution full-time. We also offer gender-specific care.

    In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

    Partial Hospitalization in California

    Most clients start treatment with South Coast in our residential treatment program. After completing that, many desire something that still provides structure and support, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach.

    A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, partial hospitalization offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for several hours each day, returning to their homes in the evening.

    This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives completely on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.

    Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California

    For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery.

    With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.

    This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at a facility. The types of therapy we offer include dynamic interpersonal therapy and other evidence-based treatments. 

    Get Started Today

    If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea of what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.

    Reach out today to speak with a representative who can help you determine your treatment options and get you started on the road to recovery. We have different types of therapy, including online therapy, that can help you with depression and anxiety. 

    Pierce Willans
    Kelly McIntyre
    Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
    Read More About addiction Treatment & Recovery
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