Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), developed by Ellen Frank, PhD, and colleagues, takes a two-pronged approach that seeks to manage mood symptoms and resolve interpersonal problems.
IPSRT helps the person regulate and stabilize his daily routines, including his sleep patterns. It teaches the individual about bipolar disorder and works toward diminishing interpersonal conflicts in his life, i.e., marital problems, issues of social isolation when depressed, excessive, and possibly problematic, socialization when manic, and so on. The clinician and the person with bipolar disorder work to regulate both the daily schedule and to examine and diminish interpersonal conflicts. Heightened insight into the relationship between mood episodes and disruptions in both relationships and routine are sought and examined. Attention is paid to the individual’s sense of loss for the “healthy self,” i.e., the life he might have had were it not for the disruptions caused by his bipolar disorder.
Studies on IPSRT in which medication was also part of the treatment have been shown to increase and stabilize daily routines and to delay the time of a relapse. One study combined IPSRT with family focused therapy (FFT), which appears to be a useful strategy in delaying relapse. Both IPSRT and FFT have published manuals (see Appendix C) that outline the course of therapy.