The origins of interpersonal theory are credited to Harry Stack Sullivan (1892–1949), who provided the framework for understanding the person in the context of his or her relationships. According to Sullivan, interpersonal situations, or social experiences, influence intrapersonal development. Interpersonal theory is focused on the client’s manner of relating in interpersonal relationships, in general, and within the therapeutic relationship, in particular. The therapeutic relationship itself is the primary source of information about the client in relationships, as well as the vehicle for change. Through a new and therapeutic experience that is facilitated by the therapist, the client can learn more functional ways of interacting that are adaptive across situations, relative to the dysfunctional patterns of interacting that are presumed to account for current difficulties. Although ...

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