Monday, 18 February 2013

What is integrative psychotherapy

This is an interesting blog that I’ve been thinking of writing for a while; what is integrative psychotherapy.

So, traditionally integrative psychotherapy is seen firstly by this, that the therapist will borrow from many of the different tools of the different psychotherapy models like Gestalt, transactional analysis, self-psychology, existential psychotherapy, even CBT, and they’ll use the different tools from the different psychotherapy schools and have that as an integrative package. According to what the client presents, they’ll sort of draw from their tool bag of many different concepts, techniques and tips to be able to give an integrated treatment to that person.  

However a recent integrative relational model that I particularly like comes from Richard Erskine’s ideas in integrative psychotherapy and they have two distinct paths on their views on integrative psychotherapy.  

One which is very similar to the one I’ve just described, that they borrow from different approaches, specifically psychoanalytical approaches, self-psychology approaches, the early object relation approaches, Gestalt psychotherapy and of course the infamous transactional analysis.  

But another way they look at integrative psychotherapy is that they are focusing on helping the person grasp a sense of agency and ownership of the self.  They’re looking at how the client has split off, has cut off part of the self off or disowned part of the self.  They’re looking at the fragmentations of the self and helping the client being aware of the different cut-off parts or fragmented parts of the self, so that if the client can become aware of the paths they repress or cut off, or disown or disassociate from, they then can start the process of taking ownership of the different parts of themselves they’ve cut off in the service of integration.  Then of course, as the client becomes more integrated and takes back part of the sense of self that they’ve split off in times or trauma and stress, then they will have more energy to utilise in the service of spontaneity and being more in the here and now instead of just being operating from different parts of the self.  So integration, being in contact, in the moment, spontaneity are all major goals of an integrative psychotherapy, especially the integrative psychotherapy that I’ve just talked about which comes from the Richard Erskine school.  

Ok, that’s also how I see integrative psychotherapy.  I like those twin approaches.  Borrowing from different schools, different TA approaches but also the psychoanalytical approaches and of course helping the client take ownership of the different parts of the self in service of integration. 

I would be interested in your views on integrated psychotherapy, what it is and how you use it if you are a practitioner?

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