Integrative psychotherapy draws on different schools of thought about personality, psychology and human development in the understanding of our experiences and problems. Integrative psychotherapy differs from counselling in that it tends to be a longer term process that can help people with more deep routed problems that may have built up over a long period of time. Integrative psychotherapy holds the central idea that no one school of thought can explain all of human experiences. Therefore, it is a more flexible approach encompassing a greater variety of ideas as to how to understand and work with each client’s personal experiences and the human psyche.
Clients often find an integrative way of working useful when they do not necessarily have a discrete problem or issue (for example a specific anxiety) that they wish to use therapy to address but rather wish to use therapy for personal development and to develop greater self awareness and insight. It is also useful where clients have particularly painful or distressing issues they wish to discuss, often rooted in their past, and the need for a supportive therapeutic relationship to develop over a longer period of time is necessary to facilitate this.
In my practice, I tend to draw on the ideas and principles from the cognitive-behavioural, person-centred and psychodynamic schools of thought as well as other psychological models. I hold the idea that the client-therapist relationship is often one of the most important and facilitative resources available in the therapeutic process and forms an important part of the work we do together, particularly as many problems clients face often have an inter-personal (relationship) element to them. For example, a sense of growing apart from a loved one or an inability not to feel anger around one’s colleagues.