Supportive versus Interpersonal Psychotherapies

Although supportive psychotherapy and interpersonal psychotherapy share some similarities, these therapeutic approaches have many differences. When assessing clients and selecting therapies, it is important to recognize these differences and how they may impact your clients. For this Assignment, as you compare supportive and interpersonal psychotherapy, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your clients. Supportive versus Interpersonal Psychotherapies

Learning Objectives
Students will:
Compare supportive psychotherapy and interpersonal psychotherapy
Recommend therapeutic approaches for clients presenting for psychotherapy
To prepare:

Review the media in this week’s Learning Resources.
Reflect on supportive and interpersonal psychotherapeutic approaches. Supportive versus Interpersonal Psychotherapies
The Assignment
In a 1- to 2-page paper, address the following:

Briefly describe how supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies are similar.
Explain at least three differences between these therapies. Include how these differences might impact your practice as a mental health counselor.
Explain which therapeutic approach you might use with clients and why. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.

Note: The paper should include a title page (including a purpose statement), introduction, summary, and references.

Briefly describe how supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies are similar.

Both supportive and interpersonal psychotherapies apply talk therapy or dialogue to address mental and psychiatric problems. In addition, the two entail the therapist acting as a guide whereby the client/patient is helped in exploring the problem and possible solution. This entails the client simply acting as a guide to aid the client in focusing on the problem areas. Besides that, the two therapies require that the client accept his or her condition and that it presents a problem with an enrolment into the therapy acting as an opportunity to explore solutions (Wheeler, 2014).

Explain at least three differences between these therapies. Include how these differences might impact your practice as a mental health counselor.

Although the two therapies entail applying talk therapies to develop solutions to mental and psychiatric problems, their unique features also cause the two to be different. The first difference is noted in the position that the therapist plays. Supportive therapy requires the therapist acting as a guide with the client presenting all the ideas. Interpersonal therapy requires the therapist to present possible solutions that would work for the client’s unique situation. The second difference is noted in how the sessions are arranged. Supportive therapy has the relationship only occurring within scheduled sessions while interpersonal therapy has the relationship proceeding outside the session to include social contact in the public domain. The third difference is noted in the way social behavior is interpreted. With supportive therapy, social behavior is interpreted as a model presented by the therapist while interpersonal therapy has social behavior interpreted as the client’s personal understanding (Sadock, B., Sadock, V. & Ruiz, 2014). Supportive versus Interpersonal Psychotherapies

Explain which therapeutic approach you might use with clients and why.

As a therapist, I prefer using interpersonal therapy over supportive therapy. That is because interpersonal therapy adopts a comprehensive approach to problem-solving with the client guided to gain a better understanding of the problem and is involved in developing and applying the solution thereby improving the possibility of successful treatment. In contrast, supportive therapy does not offer a comprehensive solution since it adopts an authoritative approach with the client only asked to follow the therapist’s solutions and not participate in developing the solution (Cautin & Lilienfeld, 2015).


Cautin, R. & Lilienfeld, S. (2015). The encyclopedia of clinical psychology, volume II Cli-E. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Sadock, B., Sadock, V. & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Wheeler, K. (Eds.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: a how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Supportive versus Interpersonal Psychotherapies

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