Lorna Smith Benjamin

The latest in SASB and IRT


Thoughtful young man from behind a wall

Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT), a longer term therapy, is especially appropriate for people who have been in therapy before and have not yet succeeded in changing feelings (anger, anxiety, depression) and behavior patterns that are irrational, maladaptive and unwanted. Deep understanding and warm support are vital for this and any other effective psychotherapy, but when change has not emerged in previous treatments that have offered warm support and excellent instructions, more is needed. IRT offers a clear way of understanding such unwitting “treatment resistance” and helps people who are up for the challenge of giving up old ways of coping move on to realize their “Birthright Self.” IRT therapists refer people for medications as needed, but the goal is to reorganize so that symptoms remit on a long term basis.

To date, the IRT research primarily has been with  who represent extreme versions of “treatment resistance.” They have tried medications, different therapies, exercises, techniques, medications, ECT, and more.  Still, they return to the hospital again and again, often suicidal. Our research justifies characterizing them as CORDS, meaning they are Comorbid, Often Rehospitalized, Dysfunctional and  Suicidal.  Despite their origin in this population of severe disorder, the IRT case formulation and treatment models can be applied to any patient population, including highly functional individuals who suffer privately from anxiety or depression, or even suicidality.

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