Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy is an educative and behavioral therapeutic approach offered by several therapists at Colorado CBT. Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy helps clients to identify the connection between social events, interpersonal experiences and mood as a means to achieve best possible functioning. Originally developed for clients with Bipolar Disorder and mood disorders, IPSRT aims to help clients prevent future depressive or manic episodes by establishing consistent daily routines with an emphasis on regulating the sleep/wake cycle. Integrating a combination of psychiatric assessment, psychoeducation, interpersonal inventory analysis, and social rhythm stabilization, IPSRT can help clients who experience mood dysregulation to identify precipitating events which provoke mood disturbances, thus empowering clients to proactively implement effective coping strategies to maintain mood stabilization.

What are Social Rhythms?

If you have ever traveled internationally, it is likely you have experienced the effects of jetlag. When our body clocks are disrupted a result of adjusting to a new time zone, our sleep and hunger cycles are dysregulated, which can lead to irritability. The symptoms of jetlag are representative of how changes to our typical 24-hour interactions or “rhythms” can cause increased likelihood of mood dysregulation.

Due to genetic predisposition, research shows that individuals vulnerable to mania or depression often need supplemental support to reestablish healthy circadian rhythms, as they often possess less resistant body clocks. Through leveraging the Social Rhythm Metric developed specifically for IPSRT, we can help clients to arrive at regular daily routines, thus allowing clients to achieve increased emotional stability. As a fundamental element in developing a consistent social rhythm, IPSRT focuses heavily on optimizing clients’ sleep routines through in-depth analysis of an individual’s sleep propensity, including two core components:

  • Homeostatic Process (S-Process): Often referred to as “sleep juice”, the S-Process builds up as our time awake increases and provides an indication for how much sleep the body requires. 
  • Circadian Process (C-Process): Controlled by neurohormonal processes in the brain, the C-Process is driven by the natural circadian body clock and cycles through on a 24-hour basis.

Interpersonal Inventory

When analyzing common triggers for mood dysregulation, we often see a strong correlation between interpersonal experiences, both positive and negative, and mood, as changes in our interpersonal rhythms cause potential disturbances to our daily routines. For example, when  parents send their youngest child away to college and become empty nesters, we can expect a tremendous shift in their daily routines, making them more susceptible to shifts in mood as well. As such, a primary goal of IPSRT is to help clients identify potential growth areas related to interpersonal relationship development as a means to maintain emotional stability. The most common interpersonal focus areas explored through IPSRT include:

  • Role Transitions: This includes processing the grief associated with the lost role and embracing the new role in the most effective way possible, with an emphasis on developing increased self-confidence throughout the journey. 
  • Role Disputes: This includes realistic analysis and optimization of communication patterns and role expectations.
  • Grief: Whether mourning the loss of a loved one or processing the grief associated with a mental health diagnosis such as Bipolar Disorder, this area focuses on the exploration and normalization of all grief-related emotions.
  • Interpersonal Deficits: This includes, but is not limited to, reducing social isolation and developing new, healthy relationships.

If you are struggling with Bipolar Disorder or a mood disorder, reach out to the clinic to schedule an appointment today.