Interpersonal psychotherapy for chronic depression


  • John C. Markowitz

    Corresponding author
    1. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and New York State Psychiatric Institute
    • Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 525 East 68th Street, Room 1322, New York, NY 10021; e-mail:
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Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, manualized, life-event-based treatment of demonstrated efficacy for acute major depression. This article describes its adaptation and application to chronic forms of unipolar depression. The interpersonal difficulties of chronically depressed patients present a potentially good fit for a therapy that builds interpersonal functioning, but the chronicity of illness and paucity of life events of dysthymic patients complicate the use of IPT. Recent outcome research is reviewed. A case example illustrates the clinical approach and potential benefits. Based on a limited number of studies, the benefits of acute IPT for chronic depression appear non-specific and modest. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol/In Session.