Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Myrna Weissman on IPT -- Wise Counsel Podcast

On both Wise Counsel and Shrinkrapradio we have had Dr. David van Nuys discuss a wide variety of therapeutic approaches with a similarly large variety of guests. What those discussions are mostly about, are the techniques of the therapy, the underlying thoughts and about case examples. It makes you wonder what approach a particular patient needs and it is both instructive and a bit disconcerting to hear the interview with Scott Miller (Shrinkrapradio #66) who explains that the success of a therapy can mostly NOT be ascribed by the therapeutic approach but rather by the readiness of the patient to undergo the therapy -- it is what Scott Miller calls The Heroic Client.

So it is actually quite rare if a kind of therapy, in advance, limits itself to a certain kind of patient. IPT - Interpersonal Psychotherapy - does this and Myrna Weissman makes it very clear why. It makes for a very fresh and wholly different kind of discussion on a certain technique. What Myrna Weissman talks about is that use of IPT that has been sufficiently tested in comparable cases, so that we scientifically can say it works. Or in other words, she removes the success stories of the approach from the realm of individual cases to the large numbers. And according to the numbers, IPT is most fit for treating depression.

This attempt to test the treatment and make sure it works not just in individual cases, but also across the board, is paired with an attempt to make it carried out uniformly. My thought is: otherwise you couldn't test it and compare cases, but the idea is also to make sure inexperienced therapists are carefully instructed how to carry the therapy out. The effect should at least be that it doesn't matter whether I go to one therapist or the other with my depression, IPT turns out more or less the same.

Would this emphasize all the more that the success is dependent on the client (when the person of the therapist doesn't influence the approach)? Or would this kind of approach make for independent on client as well as it has made sure to work in any which case? Interesting question. In any case, a very refreshing way of reviewing a therapy and hence a good podcast.