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Treating Bipolar Disorder with Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) 


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Ellen Frank, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Frank is a leading clinician and researcher in the field of mood disorders. She has published more than 350 articles, chapters, and books ranging from rigorously empirical reports to hands-on workbooks for clinicians. During recent years Dr. Frank has led development of the innovative treatment for bipolar disorder (IPSRT) that is the topic of the current video.

Dr. Frank begins her presentation by explaining the theoretical rationale behind IPSRT, social zeitgeber theory. This theory emphasizes the role of social routines and the impact of changes in such routines on the patient’s biological rhythms (particularly sleep/wake cycles). This follows from evidence suggesting that disturbances in these rhythms are related to the onset of acute episodes of bipolar illness.

Next, Dr. Frank reviews the basics of Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for unipolar depression as IPT is a key component of IPSRT for bipolar disorder. She then returns to social routines and biological rhythms, providing a thorough explanation of the treatment components that are unique to IPSRT for bipolar patients and the specific rationale for each. Dr. Frank concludes by presenting empirical evidence for the efficacy of IPSRT for bipolar disorder.

Following her presentation, Dr. Frank is interviewed about a number of practical issues that arise when conducting IPSRT with bipolar patients. Dr. Frank gives lots of practical advice from her years of experience treating bipolar patients at one of the nation’s premiere psychiatric institutions.


Learning Objectives: After viewing this program, you will be able to...

1) describe the role played by social routines and biological rhythms in the course of bipolar illness.

2) describe the components of IPSRT and explain the rationale for each.

3) summarize evidence concerning the efficacy of IPSRT.

This program is appropriate for a broad range of mental health professionals (psychologists, social workers, and counselors) – any clinican who works with patients who suffer from bipolar disorder. The program does not assume specific knowledge other than basic familiarity with the concept of bipolar disorder.


CE credit: 2 hours

Dr. Frank does not receive funding from any corporate or private entities.


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