It is about a month since ISIPT held its ninth international conference “How IPT brings us together”. IPT therapists all around the world gathered to share experiences and discuss interpersonal psychotherapy, IPT, from a theoretical, clinical, and scientific perspective. Initially, the plan was to get together in Florida. Due to a strange time of the pandemic, instead we met over a well-organized internet-based platform. The conference began with a “warm-up-day”; either an introduction day to the IPT method or a "train the trainer" day. Before that, however, all the conference participants had the chance to take part in many interesting, pre-recorded presentations. This “flipped classroom-inspired” arrangement, enriched the lectures and discussions that then were held at the conference in many ways. During the conference itself, new research results and various applications of the method were presented. We got to see how IPT is used for people in all ages, in different psychiatric conditions, in a variety of problems and in different cultures. The conference presenters shared experiences of educating, supervising, and implementing IPT on a larger scale - and despite the pandemic. Several features were about communicating IPT over the telephone, online and in an internet format (IT-IPT).
IPT, which was created by a psychiatrist (Gerald Klerman) and a social worker (Myrna Weissman) in the early 1970´s, could in a way be called interpersonal psychiatry - partly in view of the medical model and the method's frequent stance of putting ongoing mood/symptoms in a context of interpersonal relationships and affected by the environment.
In various ways, the conference was permeated by this theme of interpersonal psychiatry; that psychotherapy is carried out in - and influenced by- the society and how the society is built up, is strongly linked to people's psychological, psychiatric, and psychosocial well-being. The conference's Keynote Speakers conveyed the importance of finding ways to teach, disseminate and implement IPT in a larger scale. Myrna highlighted the importance not to forget interpersonal counselling (IPC), an intervention that can be delivered by many different occupational groups and sometimes laymen, trained and supervised by certified IPT-supervisors.
One of the many highlights was Dr. Beverly Stoute's keynote address, "How Our Mind Becomes Racialized Across Our Cultural Boundaries." Psychotherapy is taking place in a context of another context, something we can’t lose sight from. The take home message from all the keynote speakers had to do with social justice in one way or another.
In a true spirit of a work made by a psychiatrist and a social worker – IPT.
See you all at next conference which will take place in Amsterdam 2023.