Maintaining the Focus on Current Interpersonal Relationships

Throughout the course ofIPT-G, it is important to maintain a focus on current interpersonal relationships. The therapist must consistently keep each member’s problem area and associated goals in mind while acting as necessary to refocus discussions that veer off track. Vague or symptom-laden discussions should be diverted to refocus members on specific and personal accounts of targeted interpersonal problems. Tangential discussions should be interrupted or related back to the central themes and goals of treatment. This approach emphasizes topics of personal emotional importance to members. By continuously reinforcing the connections among members and highlighting their relevance to the group as a whole, the therapist can maintain focus when members shy away from addressing problems directly while in group.

Linking Problem Areas

Each of the four problem areas addressed in IPT-G falls within the context of interpersonal relationships. Accordingly, certain problem areas share strategies with others. This similarity allows therapists to link one member’s work with another’s. For example, the tasks of developing or reestablishing social relationships and exploring feelings associated with the problem context apply to all four interpersonal problem areas. While integrating the four problem areas might seem problematic and create challenges in directly addressing members’ identified problems, group members can actually benefit from reflecting on how another member’s issue may relate to their own lives, even if it does not fall within their identified problem area. Moreover, many members will have a secondary problem area to address. Linking the various problem areas helps to encourage common work among group members and often enhances the sense of cohesion among group members.

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