Supportive Psychotherapy Versus Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Supportive vs. Interpersonal Psychotherapies



Supportive vs. Interpersonal Psychotherapies

Similarities Between Supportive and Interpersonal Psychotherapies

The similarities between supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies are that they are better at reducing the symptoms of depression than usual care and the waiting list. Besides, the two psychotherapies work equally well for various patient groups with depression, for instance, older and younger patients as well as for mother with depression after giving birth. Besides, both psychotherapies are effective in combating phobias since patients get encouraged to ventilate all their feelings as well as discuss their problems.

Differences Between Supportive Psychotherapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Interpersonal therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the focus tends to be on patients’ relationships with family members and peers plus the way that they see themselves. IPT (interpersonal psychotherapy is based on exploring or discovering issues in relations with other people with the aim of assisting people to detect and modify interpersonal complications or problems, to comprehend and to manage relation problems (Vanda Counseling and Psychological Services, 2015). On the other hand, supportive psychotherapy tends to be the attempts by therapists by any practical ways whatever to assist patients to handle or deal with their emotional problems and distress in living. It comprises advising, comforting, reassuring, encouraging, and mostly listening sympathetically and attentively. The therapist offers an emotional outlet, i.e. the chance for clients to express themselves as well as be themselves. Simply, supportive psychotherapy aims at building patient self-esteem, defenses, and improve functioning, while IPT aims at enabling better control over behavior and mood (, 2018).

Additionally, supportive psychotherapy is utilized to assist people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. After an individual gets established in the mental health services care, they tend to receive general support instead of specific talking therapies. For instance, in consultations with a therapist, they will regularly be listened to and get encouraged or even get assisted in planning their daily activities (Neuman, 2018). Supportive psychotherapy can take days and years. Nevertheless, interpersonal psychotherapy hasn’t been proven as being effective to treat psychotic disorders. IPT is dependent on a client completing a 12-16 week of treatment. In case patients drop of the therapy before completing the suggested or recommended number of counseling sessions plus homework assignments, the likelihood is high that they will not benefit fully in finding a last relief from the depressive symptoms.

As a mental health counselor, the differences in the two therapies will help me to shave different approaches of problems that face my clients. For instance, integrating the two techniques will help me in helping clients deal with the past and the current problems. For instance, interpersonal psychotherapy will help me in assisting clients to deal with the current relationship issues such as bullying and domestic abuse. Besides, supportive psychotherapy will be useful in helping clients to deal with the past and current issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The Therapeutic Approach to Use

The therapeutic approach that I may use with clients is supportive psychotherapy. This is because it helps patients to deal with their entire and different problems that are affecting their lives. Besides, supportive psychotherapy emphasizes long-term change instead of a short-term compliance and the desire to change will come from within the clients instead of getting imposed by the counselor (Staff, 2018). This increases the probability that the changes are going to be long-lasting. Listening actively and closely and showing genuine empathy will encourage patients to share their thoughts and feelings and thus speeding up the therapeutic process.

References (2018). Psychotherapy and defense mechanisms – Knowledge for medical students and physicians. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jul. 2018].

Neuman, F. (2018). Supportive Psychotherapy. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: [Accessed 14 Jul. 2018].

Staff, A. (2018). Supportive psychotherapy | Definition. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jul. 2018].

Vanda Counseling and Psychological Services. (2015). Strengths and Weaknesses of Interpersonal Psychotherapy – Vanda Counseling and Psychological Services. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jul. 2018].