Negotiating the Treatment Contract
Interpersonal Psychotherapy, like all other psychotherapies, requires the collaborative establishment of a set of ‘rules’ for its conduct. The contract in IPT is for the benefit of both the patient and the therapist. For the patient, it establishes expectations for the treatment along with the obligations of both the patient and therapist in the conduct of IPT. For the therapist, the IPT treatment contract provides a practical and theoretical guide to treatment, particularly with patients whose individual attributes increase the likelihood that problematic psychodynamic processes will emerge during the therapy. Since both the patient and therapist have important contributions to make to the contract, it should be a collaboratively negotiated ‘treatment agreement’ between patient and therapist, rather than being rigidly dictated by the therapist.