The world of psychotherapy has its own language, full of terms and acronyms that you won’t find elsewhere in life.
Integrative therapy is one example of this. It simply means that the therapist will integrate different schools of thought regarding how people can make sense of their past, present, and future.
Integrative counselling is a form of counselling that combines different approaches, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic, person-centred and existential.
Integrative counsellors will usually take a pragmatic approach to help their client work through their issues and remain open to exploring other avenues if necessary. The goal of integrative counselling is to treat the whole person and produce lasting and meaningful changes.
Introduction: What is integrative therapy?
Integrative therapy is a form of counselling and psychotherapy. It integrates two or more different types of therapeutical approaches to support clients with their desire for greater self awareness and psychological improvement. Therapeutical approaches tend to be taught in isolation – so a therapist may initially learn about the person-centred approach, and then later go on to learn about CBT. The therapist would then integrate these two approaches to find a way of working with their clients that is best suited to their individual needs.
What is an integrative counsellor?
An integrative counsellor is someone who is trained in and practices two or more types of psychotherapy. These different types of psychotherapy may include art therapy, dance therapy, mindfulness meditation, narrative therapy, creative expression therapy, music therapy, body work (such as massage), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT),
The goal of integrative therapy
Integrative therapy is the idea of using two or more different fields of study for the benefit of the client. In fact, this goal is no different from the aim of any type of therapy: the psychological wellness and increased self-awareness of the client, based on their needs and desires. However, the route to that destination can greatly differ depending on the therapeutical approach used.
The goal would be one that the therapist would ask the client about early on in therapy. Having a sense of what types of outcomes you would like from therapy is an important part of considering why you would like to have therapy in the first place. If it seems difficult or overwhelming to articulate this, let your therapist know so that they can support you with this.
Integrative counselling: What types of issues does it address?
Integrative counselling could be appropriate for a wide range of presenting issues, depending on the skills and experience of the therapist and the approaches that they choose to integrate.
For instance, there is strong academic evidence that hoarding disorder can be treated with CBT approaches. A therapist may choose to integrate CBT with psychodynamic approaches to help the client make sense of how they can reduce the anxieties and difficulties that could be linked to their hoarding and also why they hoard, by exploring their own personal history.
Benefits of the integration approach
Integrative therapy is an approach where two or more therapies are used simultaneously. Integrative therapy can be seen as an umbrella term that encompasses psychotherapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), art therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), yoga, meditation, and many other techniques.
The benefits of integration are that the therapist can bring together different specialisms and modalities in a way that can support the client with their therapeutic aims.
How to find an integrative counsellor
An integrative counsellor will use a variety of therapeutic approaches. They might incorporate a combination of techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy, humanistic psychology, hypnotherapy, and other therapies depending on the client’s needs. What makes an integrative therapist unique is that they may not adhere to a single theory or approach, but instead will evaluate your needs first and then use the tools that are best suited for you.
Finding an integrative therapist is surprisingly straightforward because many therapists choose to integrate two or more therapeutic approaches. Using search engines, or the
Conclusion: What is the future for integrative therapists and clients?
Integrative therapy is a type of therapy that incorporates multiple therapeutic approaches to achieve the best results. The goal of this type of therapy is to promote well-being through integrating different schools of thought about the person, and how they come to recognize and work through difficulties in their life.
The future seems incredibly positive. There is a growing body of understanding that we cannot simply have one ‘truth’ about how we experience and overcome emotional difficulties. So integrating these, for the benefit of each individual, could be a remarkably supportive way of helping people through emotional difficulties.
Photo by Jan Huber