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Interpersonal Therapy for Depression – Refresher Day for IPT trained therapists

Dr Roslyn Law

Wednesday, 29 January 2025


Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) was developed to understand and treat depression in an interpersonal context. Unlike its psychotherapeutic predecessors, IPT is framed around four set interpersonal themes which it was argued could be applied to a heterogenous clinical population.  Limiting the clinical frame of reference to one of four predetermined themes is rarely, if ever, something therapists have done before coming to IPT but something they commit to in all future casework under the IPT banner.   This framework has been largely maintained as IPT has developed its reach across the lifespan and different diagnostic groups. 

Does this suggest a robust central tenet or lack of imagination?

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


This clinically and practically focused workshop will provide an in-depth examination of the four focal areas which provide structure and thematic direction to IPT practice. Practitioners will be asked to unpack the nuts and bolts of how they routinely work, identifying preferred and avoided focal areas, blind spots and missed opportunities which are the frequent consequence of highly practiced activity. Routine practice can make us more efficient at doing the same thing repeatedly, typically with the same outcome. Deliberate practice invites us to do the same thing better each time and with improved outcomes.
During this workshop participants will revisit some of the most fundamental aspect of the IPT model to understand the rationale and evidence for their inclusion and experiment with new ways to maximise their impact from screening to the end of therapy. The potentially limiting implications of framing focal areas as here and now, depression precipitating life events will be examined along with the possibility of expanding beyond a simple choice of one in four to understanding each focal theme as a manifestations of latent vulnerability factors.
Cross cultural differences in how the focal areas are employed have revealed that not all focal areas were born equal. This has direct implications for who receives IPT and who is excluded. Assumption of differential process and outcomes have led some to restrict practice to three of the four original options. In contrast, IPT innovators have updated the original selection to suggest novel focal areas that more closely reflect the concerns and common challenges of different clinical groups. This formulation based rather than selection-based approach will be evaluated.

Participants will be encouraged to revisit how the focal areas are used to frame their clinical work, how they are linked to goals and outcomes. To enable this, participants are asked to bring a summary of their IPT casework over the last 18 moths to the workshop. This will include the focal areas they have chosen, the goals set within each area and the outcomes achieved.

Learning Objectives

1. Participants will be able to describe the evidence which led to each focal area being included in IPT.
2. Participants will be able to identify self-limiting practices that have evolved in their focal area selection and implementation.
3. Participants will generate new ways of expanding the range of focal areas the work with and the depth of collaboration they achieve in each area.

Training Modalities

Please remember there are no break-out rooms. What to include can be a variation of: didactic content, Q&A, and other methods may include: video/live role play, experiential components, polls (the host will set these up for you and load them on the day). Please note that any videos must be captioned – if you plan to use videos and they are not already captioned please let us know and we will arrange to do that for you. We need at least two weeks’ notice to be able to do this.

Key References

About the presenter

Dr Roslyn Law is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, IPT Lead at Anna Freud and Honorary Senior Lecture at UCL. Dr Law is the author two public facing books on IPT – Defeating Depression (2013) and Defeating Teenage Depression (2016) and is currently writing a third. She has contributed four chapters to the forthcoming IPT manual, IPT-A Global Reach, Weissman & Mootz (Eds) (in press) written in collaboration with colleagues in Scotland, Finland and Ukraine, and has co-authored a chapter with Kieran Rose on When Helping Professional Hurt in the forthcoming book, “Improving Access to Mental Health Therapies for Autistic Children and Young People: Promoting Self-agency, Curiosity, and Collaboration. Pavlopoulou, Crane, Hurn & Milton (Eds) (in press).

Who should attend

This one-day refresher workshop is suitable for those who have completed IPT practitioner accreditation. The workshop is open to recently qualified and more experienced staff looking for a refresher.

Details coming soon

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