Supportive verses Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Supportive verses Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Supportive Psychotherapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Psychologists use both supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies in their daily practices. Supportive psychotherapy can be described as any practical approach that is used by the therapist to assist the patients to deal with problems and emotional distress, which they might be experiencing (Harari, 2014). Examples of this therapy are advising, comforting, encouraging, and listening to the patient sympathetically and attentively. In this therapy, the psychologists offer an emotional outlet to the patients thus enabling them to express themselves. On the other hand, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a brief approach, which is attachment-focused. This therapy primarily aims at addressing interpersonal issues faced by the client thus enhancing symptomatic recovery. Supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies have some similarities. On the contrary, the two therapies are different from each other. Supportive verses Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Similarities between Supportive and Interpersonal Psychotherapies

Both therapies aim at reducing symptoms of adverse circumstances and other mental disorders, including depression, anxiety among other conditions. Additionally, both therapies are time-limited since they are supposed to be implemented within a specific period. In most cases, these therapies last from two to four months until the symptoms of the condition have subsided. Nonetheless, the therapies can continue for around three years depending on the needs of the patients.


Differences between Supportive and Interpersonal Psychotherapies and their impact on the Practice of Mental Health Counselor

First, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) focuses on the relationship between patients and other people (Bellino & Bozzatello, 2015). Therefore, this therapy aims at improving these relationships thus reversing the interpersonal problems and mood state of the patient. In contrast, supportive therapy focuses on the feelings of an individual. In this approach, therapists encourage the patient to accept the current situation to be able to manage their symptoms. Secondly, IPT has greater efficacy in improving the symptoms of various conditions such as depression and alcohol dependence (Van Hees et al, 2013). On the other hand, the efficacy of supportive therapy in improving the symptoms of this condition is relatively low.  Finally, interpersonal psychotherapy is primarily used to reduce the symptoms of various mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder within a short duration. On the contrary, supportive psychotherapy is used as the initial therapy for a limited period before another approach is implemented. Supportive verses Interpersonal Psychotherapy

The differences between the two psychotherapies are likely to impact the practice of the mental health counselor. First, interpersonal therapy will enable the counselor to improve the relationship of the patients with people surrounding them while the supportive therapy will allow the clinician to improve the feelings of a person. Additionally, interpersonal psychotherapy enhances the practice of mental health counselors than supportive therapies. Finally, supportive therapy provides the counselor with the initial basis for treatment while interpersonal psychotherapy can be applied throughout the treatment process due to its efficacy in managing the symptoms of this condition.

The Recommendable Therapeutic Approach

I might use the interpersonal psychotherapy approach with a client due to its effectiveness in managing the symptoms of various mental disorders. In particular, this therapy will enable me to improve three major areas of the client’s life (Markowitz, Choo & Neria, 2018). First, the approach will be used to improve the relationships of the client thus enabling the client to have fulfilling and healthy relationships. Additionally, this therapeutic approach can be used to guide the patient to develop coping skills. These skills will, in turn, enable them to overcome any undesired emotion and grief in their lives. Lastly, this approach will be used to impart problem-solving skills to the clients thus enabling them to overcome stressing situations in their lives.


Markowitz, J. C., Choo, T. H., & Neria, Y. (2018). Do acute benefits of interpersonal psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder endure?. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry63(1), 37-43.

Harari, E. (2014). Supportive psychotherapy. Australasian Psychiatry22(5), 440-442.

Van Hees, M. L., Rotter, T., Ellermann, T., & Evers, S. M. (2013). The effectiveness of individual interpersonal psychotherapy as a treatment for major depressive disorder in adult outpatients: a systematic review. BMC psychiatry13(1), 22.

Bellino, S., & Bozzatello, P. (2015). Interpersonal Psychotherapy Adapted for Borderline Personality Disorder (IPT-BPD): A Review of Available Data and a Proposal of Revision. J Psychol Psychother5(229), 2161-0487. Supportive verses Interpersonal Psychotherapy