5306 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA  206-403-1148

Interpersonal Process Therapy 


Would you like to reshape how you relate to others, and to yourself?

Do you find yourself navigating through the intricate maze of emotions, struggling with interpersonal challenges, and yearning for a change that not only alleviates your symptoms but transforms your life? If so, you're not alone. Many individuals seek a profound understanding of their emotions within the context of relationships. Welcome to a therapeutic approach that addresses both the complexities of emotions and the intricacies of interpersonal connections – Interpersonal Process Therapy (IPT).

Engaging in Interpersonal Process Therapy, also known as Interpersonal Psychotherapy, helps you to analyze your patterns of interaction across all relationships in your life and create needful changes to overcome barriers to intimacy in future interactions and decrease the presence of depressive and anxious symptoms in your life.

If you are ready to better understand how your relationships with others, your family experiences, and your perception of yourself intersect with and impact your mental health, our skilled Interpersonal Process Therapists are here to help. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if IPT at Thrive for the People is the right fit for you.

What is Interpersonal Process Therapy?

Interpersonal Process Therapy, or IPT, is a therapy process that treats symptoms of depression and other mood disorders by reforming how you relate to the people in your life. It is a goal-oriented therapy process that requires reflection on your primary patterns of engaging with others and actively creating opportunities for changing those patterns in your everyday life.

The theoretical rationale behind IPT draws inspiration from the interpersonal school of psychology, emphasizing the reciprocal relationship between symptoms and interpersonal relationships. By addressing problematic interpersonal circumstances associated with the current symptoms and reasons for coming to therapy, IPT aims for symptom remission and improved interpersonal functioning.

You and your therapist will look at how you can make targeted, deliberate changes in your relationships—like how to better communicate your emotions to others, or how to include more people in your life in line with your values—to shift your interpersonal context in the world to a place that better serves you and meets your needs. Having deeper, stronger, and healthier interpersonal relationships is the ultimate goal of IPT therapists.



Is Interpersonal Process Therapy Effective?

IPT was first explored in 1969 to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and has been refined into a highly effective treatment method over time. The major question asked when IPT has been studied has been, “Does it work?”. Over time, in over 250 randomized clinical trials, the answer has been a resounding “Yes”.

Developed by visionaries like Gerald L. Klerman, M.D., and Myrna M. Weissman, Ph.D., IPT has proven efficacy not only in treating acute major depression but is also increasingly understood to be beneficial for PTSD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more.  It has in fact been shown to be as effective as medication for depression and can help some people for whom medication fails, as well.

The success of IPT comes from its structure. As you work with your skilled IPT therapist in Seattle, you’ll reshape your world so you can feel safer to express yourself, with less interpersonal stress. You’ll solve the tensions in your interpersonal relationships, and reap the benefits of an improved mental state. 

How Does Interpersonal Process Therapy Work?

When you start work with an IPT therapist, you will examine and make shifts in how you approach your current relationships. The goal is ultimately to help you to accept the changes that have happened in your life by creating a stable, supportive interpersonal structure for you, in the here-and-now of the therapy session.  

Beginning IPT: Information Gathering and Goal Setting

In the first few sessions, you and your therapist will look at your mental health symptoms, review your current interpersonal relationships, and try to fully define the event or events that preceded your decision to come to therapy. You and your therapist will refine your understanding of your existing relationship patterns, and how they formed based on your life experiences, so you can successfully make change.

After initial sessions, you will start work on your relationships, in order to meet your goals. IPT is very personalized, based on what is happening in your life and your own relationship patterns. Your therapist will help you by offering interpersonal skills and approaches to try out, based on your needs.

Questions that may come up in session, when fleshing out your goals and needs can include:

  • Do you need to assert yourself more or ask for your needs to be met?

  • Do you need to try to spend more time with other people?

  • Do you need to find ways to express emotions like anger or sorrow, healthily, in your relationships?

  • Do you need to change how you approach conflict resolution in your relationships?

  • Do you need to make substantial changes, like ending toxic relationships?

  • Do you need help working on accepting the shifts in your role in society and in the lives of others? 

IPT In Action: Working to Meet Your Goals

As you work toward your goals, you’ll share with your therapist your successes, and discuss and work to resolve any difficulties you experience. You may be asked to formally track your experiences and moods, to better see how the IPT process is serving you, and to allow you and your therapist to make adjustments if needed. 

You’ll have space in sessions to make plans and rehearse scenarios you’d like to enact in your relationships. You and your therapist will look at the ways you have shifted your understanding of yourself, and review how your relationships are changing with the changes you’re making in your interpersonal life.



IPT in the Long Term: Solo Work and Maintenance Sessions

In your last few sessions with your IPT therapist, you’ll make plans for continuing your relationship work on your own, and review your successes so you can see how far you’ve come. If your therapist feels there is a need for follow-up sessions, you’ll schedule those, but ultimately, you will soon be working on your own, maintaining the changes you’ve made and utilizing your improved interpersonal skill set.

After completing IPT with your therapist in Seattle, you’ll have a stronger understanding of yourself in the context of your relationships and will have the skills to move forward in shaping those relationships to support you through tough times.

Interpersonal Process Therapy In Seattle, WA

Interpersonal Process Therapy is a first-line, highly effective treatment for mental health concerns. When you decide to work with one of our experienced Washington clinicians using IPT, you’ll shift your approach to relationships, ultimately alleviating your mental health symptoms and improving your life. If you’re looking for in-person sessions with a skilled IPT therapist as a Seattle resident, or for online sessions as a resident of Washington State, contact us today. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you, to help you make the change you need to live life fully.



In-Person and Online Therapy

Our office is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

5306 Ballard Ave NW,
Seattle, WA

Can’t make it into the office? We also offer online therapy for your convenience.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit.


We are excited to welcome Maricor Coquia, LMHC, as the newest member of our team. Mari has openings for individual and couples therapy.