Integrative counselling, as the name suggests, is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Rather, each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.
Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood - no one theory alone holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other - hence the need to integrate them.
The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person's personality and needs - integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works - tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.
It can be particularly beneficial for those who want to overcome negative patterns of behaviour caused by anxieties, fears or phobias. It can be equally effective for any other mental health issue that is greatly impacting life satisfaction, such as:
past and current trauma
It has also been found useful in improving daily function in children with autism and learning difficulties, which can affect the four dimensions of human functioning - affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems.
Integrative psychotherapy techniques can be incorporated into almost any type of therapeutic work with children, adolescents, and adults, in individual practice or group settings.
Due to the in-depth exploration of issues and setting of goals, integrative counselling typically requires a substantial investment of time on the part of the client. Therefore it may not suit those who want a quick, solution-focused approach to personal development.
The length of the therapy will depend on the client, the therapeutic goals set and the types of issues that are being addressed.