More about Integrative Psychotherapy
The term integrative has various meanings in the world of counselling and psychotherapy. I am using it as a term to describe the integration of the personality where disowned, unaware parts of the self are recovered and defenses that protect the personality can become more flexible through the relational process of psychotherapy. It is about making whole what may feel split or separate. Integrative relational psychotherapy is known as one of the few comprehensive therapies. Psychotherapy is both an art and a science and addresses how we make life Scripts or decisions at different developmental ages or when we are very stressed. Psychotherapy helps to work with how these shape the way we live in our own skin, the way we think, feel and behave and crucially how we form relationships with others.
Counselling and psychotherapy is often about working with life scripts. Thoughts or beliefs such as 'I'm not important' or 'I'm unloveable' can seem everpresent or emerge only at stressful times. With skilled help these beliefs which may feel concrete, may be loosened up creating more choice and flexibility and a better sense of connectedness with self and others.
If you want to read more about this see Integrative Psychotherapy
'Integrative Psychotherapy embraces an attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy that affirms the inherent value of each individual. It is a unifying psychotherapy that responds appropriately and effectively to the person at the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning, and addresses as well the spiritual dimension of life.
Integrative Psychotherapy also refers to the bringing together of the affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological systems within a person, with an awareness of the social and transpersonal aspects of the systems surrounding the person. These concepts are utilized within a perspective of human development in which each phase of life presents heightened developmental tasks, need sensitivities, crises, and opportunities for new learning.
Integrative Psychotherapy takes into account many views of human functioning. The psychodynamic, client-centered, behaviorist, cognitive, family therapy, Gestalt therapy, body-psychotherapies, object relations theories, psychoanalytic self psychology, and transactional analysis approaches are all considered within a dynamic systems perspective. Each provides a partial explanation of behavior and each is enhanced when selectively integrated with other aspects of the therapist's approach. The psychotherapy interventions used in Integrative Psychotherapy are based on developmental research and theories describing the self-protective defenses used when there are interruptions in normal development.
The aim of an integrative psychotherapy is to facilitate wholeness such that the quality of the person's being and functioning in the intrapsychic, interpersonal and sociopolitical space is maximized with due regard for each individual's own personal limits and external constraints.
Within this framework it is recognized that integration is a process to which therapists also need to commit themselves. Thus, there is a focus on the personal integration of therapists. However, although a focus on personal growth in the therapist is essential, there needs also to be a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge in the area of psychotherapy and its related fields. There is a particular ethical obligation on integrative psychotherapists to dialogue with colleagues of diverse orientations and to remain informed of developments in the field.'(Erskine 1997)
A poem that says it in a different way:
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life's betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
To hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.