Centre for Continuing Education

Advanced Interpersonal Psychotherapy Course

Psychiatry. Encouraging a healthier community.

Developed and delivered by the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and open to all health professionals for continuing professional development.

This is an advanced course in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), a time-limited individual psychotherapy focused on symptom relief and interpersonal functioning. IPT has been empirically demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of affective disorders and interpersonal problems, and research is ongoing into its use with anxiety and somatoform disorders.

This course will expand on the basic training in IPT. The use of IPT with difficult patients and the flexible application of IPT will be emphasized. Thorough assessment treatment planning will also be a focus. Grief and loss, one of the most important applications of IPT, will be reviewed in detail. Applications for special populations and groups will also be covered.

This course is open to those who have already completed a Level A IPT course of two or more days.

Basic Training versus Advanced Training

Basic Training (Level A) in IPT is a 2-day course designed to teach participants to conduct IPT with a variety of clients. Patient evaluation and selection are emphasised, as well as the structure and basic techniques of IPT. The 3 IPT problem areas are reviewed, as are the conclusion and provision of maintenance treatment. In sum, clinicians should have all the tools and skills they need to do IPT with uncomplicated clients.

In contrast, Advanced Training in IPT is a 2-day course designed to enhance participants' skills and to assist them in treating more complex and difficult cases. The Advanced Training focuses much more on treatment of clients with maladaptive attachment styles, as well as those with comorbid diagnoses. A more detailed review of Grief and Loss in particular is conducted. Participants also have more time to engage in interactive practice, and to discuss clients with whom they are working in their own practice. In addition, the Advanced Training includes skill building in integrating other approaches such as behavioral activation, motivational interviewing, and cognitive therapy within an IPT framework.

The difference between the Basic Training and Advanced Training is summarised in the table below:

Topics Basic Training Advanced Training

Instruction in Attachment Theory Managing Maladaptive Attachment Styles
Structure Implementation of IPT Structure Adapting IPT Structure for Complex Clients
Techniques Basic IPT Techniques Advanced IPT Techniques
Problem Areas Review of IPT Problem Areas In-depth Work in Grief and Loss
Integration Instruction in Adherent and Quality IPT Integrating other Psychotherapies into an IPT Frame

Both courses rely heavily on participant discussion, interactive exercises, and review of experts conducting IPT.

Advanced Training is highly recommended for those who wish to hone their IPT skills, and those who plan to work with more difficult clients.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • conduct a thorough IPT assessment and plan treatment
  • manage complex cases using IPT
  • demonstrate expertise in using IPT for grief and loss issues
  • use IPT with groups and special populations
  • adapt IPT to patients with different attachment styles
  • use advanced IPT techniques
  • integrate techniques from other therapeutic approaches with IPT
  • use directives and other influence techniques within an IPT framework.


This course covers the following topics:

  • IPT formulation, summary, and treatment planning adaptations for attachment styles
  • IPT structure – flexible adaptation
  • advanced IPT techniques
  • advanced work on grief and loss
  • IPT with difficult patients
  • IPT for groups
  • combining techniques from other therapies with IPT
  • use of directives.

Recommended textbook

Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Clinician's GuideTitle: Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Clinician’s Guide (2nd Edition)
Authors: Scott Stuart, Michael Robertson
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 9781444137545
Publication Date: 31/08/2012

It is strongly recommended that participants read the textbook prior to the course.

Delivery style

Delivered in lecture format, combined with interactive sessions where participants will review videotapes of experts conducting IPT, and participate in small-group discussion and practice.

IPT Certification

Participants will receive Advanced IPT certification from the Interpersonal Psychotherapy Institute. Opportunities will be provided for ongoing supervision individually and in groups.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • I'm a GP and am especially grateful to the tutor for their encouragement and instruction on how to apply interpersonal psychotherapy in my work setting.
  • I found this course most useful. It covered a number of topics, all useful and often sticking points in therapy.