At Paradigm New York, we draw upon a number of different treatment modalities, including Teen Interpersonal Therapy. Teen Interpersonal Therapy is most often incorporated in treating Depression, but may also be used to address other Mood Disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety, and/or Eating Disorders. The focus of this therapy are the relationships in teens’ lives and the interpersonal issues and challenges, which contribute to the teens’ overall current symptoms and stress. The goals of Teen IPT include: improved interpersonal relationships and social functioning, symptoms resolution, and improved social support.
During Teen Interpersonal therapy sessions, therapists work with teens to identify and evaluate certain troublesome aspects of relationships that may trigger negative symptoms and/or add to the teens’ current struggles. Therapists often work with teens both in group and individual settings and might first help teens to identify one or several consistent challenges within their interactions. Then, teens will work to identify which challenges extend across multiple different interactions, such as peer relationships, social interactions, and family relationships. These struggles which teens recognize as being consistent throughout multiple interpersonal relationships will then become the focus of treatment.
The Teen Interpersonal Therapy process has three stages: the initial phase, the middle phase, and the termination phase. The initial phase is dedicated to teens’ diagnosis and then helping teens to become familiar and knowledgeable about their current condition. During this time, teens are able to ask questions, talk freely with their therapists, and become more aware of the reasons behind their current experiences.
The middle phase is dedicated to therapists and teens working together to identify the relationship between their relationships and their mood: both how challenges in relationships may trigger or aggravate symptoms and how current symptoms may make it difficult to connect and communicate well in relationships. After identifying these connections, therapists will then help teens to identify tools and resources the teens can use, which will help them to more successfully navigate their relationships, which may include practicing certain behaviors and/or strategies, during sessions. Ultimately then, the goal is for teens to become more empowered and confident in their relationships, which will in turn help to alleviate symptoms and/or equip teens to avoid certain pitfalls that may trigger symptoms.
During the termination phase of ITP, teens continue to practice and implement the work they did during the middle phase, but in addition, will also reflect upon which strategies have been most useful. Therapists might support teens to identify which tools and/or practices teens should continue, as well as potential problematic areas that have not yet been successfully addressed and still need more support. Therapists will also support teens to gain a perspective on what their treatment experience has been and to recognize the important progress they’ve made, which should energize and further their continued efforts, moving forwards.