This article discusses interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), a psychotherapeutic intervention developed by Gerald Klerman, Myrna Weissman, and colleagues in the 1970s as an outpatient treatment for major depression in adults. Based on the theories of Harry Stack Sullivan and Adolph Meyer, IPT is a manualized, time-limited intervention that addresses the underlying interpersonal antecedents and correlates of psychiatric illness. The goal of IPT as originally developed is to reduce depressive symptoms and improve interpersonal relationships. IPT has been widely tested in adults and adolescents and is an empirically supported treatment for major depression. IPT has been adapted for a variety of psychiatric illnesses and problems of living including perinatal depression, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders. Current evidence detailed below supports the use of IPT across cultures, illnesses, and populations.
Sarah E. Bledsoe, Brianna M. Lombardi, Brittney Chesworth, and Samuel Lawrence
Catherine G. Greeno
Mental illnesses are very common; more than one-quarter of people will develop a mental illness during their lifetime. Mental illnesses are associated with substantial disability in work, relationships, and physical health, and have been clearly established as one of the leading causes of disability in the developing, as well as the industrialized world. Mental disorders are common in every service sector important to social workers, and affect outcomes in every service sector. Mental disorders are strongly associated with poverty worldwide, and are common and often unrecognized in the general health sector, child welfare, and criminal justice settings, among others. Basic information about mental health is thus important to all social workers. Information about classification systems and major categories of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, and substance abuse disorders, is presented. The service system for mental disorders is badly underdeveloped, and most people who need treatment do not receive it. There is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating effective treatments, and policy is moving toward requiring that treatments offered be evidence based. This is a period of a great explosion of knowledge about mental health, and we can expect considerable advances in the coming years.
Edward R. Canda and Sherry Warren
This entry provides an introduction to mindfulness as a therapeutic practice applied within social work, including in mental health and health settings. It describes and critiques mindfulness-based practices regarding definitions, history, current practices, best practices research, and ethical issues related to using evidence-based practices, acquiring competence, addressing social justice, and respecting diversity.
Addie Weaver, Joseph Himle, Gail Steketee, and Jordana Muroff
This entry offers an overview of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is introduced and its development as a psychosocial therapeutic approach is described. This entry outlines the central techniques and intervention strategies utilized in CBT and presents common disorder-specific applications of the treatment. The empirical evidence supporting CBT is summarized and reviewed. Finally, the impact of CBT on clinical social work practice and education is discussed, with attention to the treatment’s alignment with the profession’s values and mission.
James I. Martin
This entry explains who gay men are, how gay identity constructions have evolved since their inception, and how they continue to evolve. It also describes the health and mental health problems that gay men may present to social work practitioners. In addition, it identifies several social policies that are relevant to gay men. The entry argues that a systemic perspective that takes into account the social, political, and cultural influences on gay men is necessary for understanding the problems that such men commonly experience.
Tomi Gomory and Daniel Dunleavy
Social work is perhaps most distinctive for its clear and outspoken commitment toward improving the well-being of society’s vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, while still emphasizing the importance of respecting and defending personal rights and freedoms. Though there is a fundamental necessity for coercion, or its threat, for eliciting civil social behavior in a well-functioning society, it is professionally and ethically imperative that social workers make explicit our rationales for, justifications of, and the evidence used to support or reject coercive practices in our work. Social work’s engagement with coercion inevitably entails the ethical and social policy arguments for and against its use, as shown in a review of the empirical evidence regarding its impact on the professions’ clients, exemplified by three domains: (1) child welfare, (2) mental health, and (3) addictions. Recommendations for future improvements involve balancing the potential for harm against the benefits of coercive actions.
Tonya Edmond and Karen Lawrence
Since its inception in 1987, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has been the subject of lively debate and controversy, rigorous research both nationally and internationally, and is now used by licensed practitioners across six continents as an effective treatment of trauma symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of this entry is to provide social work practitioners and researchers with a description of the treatment approach for adults and children, EMDR’s development and theoretical basis, a review of controversial issues, and an overview of the evidence of effectiveness of EMDR across trauma types and populations.