What it is: Interpersonal therapists believe that emotional troubles have social triggers, like a fight with a loved one or a death in your family. “The brain responds to the environment,” says Dr. Myrna Weissman, professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, and co-creator of Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). “If you’re vulnerable to depression, your environment can trigger an episode.”IPT identifies four types of triggers: grief after loss, disputes with significant others, major life transitions and difficulty sustaining relationships.Let’s imagine a ‘life transition’ example. Say you’ve recently moved to a new city, where you know no one, and the transition has triggered depression (we are social creatures, after all). If you’re feeling lethargic and hopeless this week, an IPT therapist might help you notice that the symptoms started after you went shopping—an activity you loved to do with your friends back home. “Understanding that connection can help demystify your symptoms,” says Weissman. “Your symptoms aren’t mythical.”MORE: All About DepressionHow it works: Patients won’t spend time digging around in childhood memories. Instead, IPT focuses on the present moment. Treatment begins with an assessment, then the therapist and client agree on a treatment plan.In a typical session, a therapist collaborates with the patient to identify ‘triggers’ and rehearse strategies for handling the problem. By the end of eight weeks, most people start to see improvement. But if you don’t feel better, don’t worry. “It’s the treatment that failed, not you,” says Weissman. The therapist might suggest more frequent sessions, medication changes or alternative therapies to meet your specific needs.“We remind each patient that depression is an illness,” Weissman says. “It’s not your fault and we do expect you’ll get better.”Who it fits: IPT is shown to work for people with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. But the best way to find out if it’s right for you is to give it a shot: “You have to try it to know if it’ll make you feel better,” says Weissman. “The proof is in the pudding.”Shown to treat: Depression, perinatal or postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, eating disordersDuration: Short-term (12-16 weekly sessions)Where to find an interpersonal therapist: “You can ask at major medical centers,” suggests Weissman. Or contact the International Society for Interpersonal Psychotherapy for a list of members in your area.QUIZ: What’s Your Mood Today?