Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists think there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques are tailored to the individual persons needs and personal circumstances.
Integrative counselling holds the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories 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 psychological, affective, behavioural and cognitive systems within one person, as well as addressing spiritual and social aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works, then tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.
The process of integrative counselling is very much centred on the active exploration of experience – a phenomenological view of reality. It is the role of an integrative counsellor to foster this by using specific techniques and key concepts drawn in from various approaches that are appropriate to their client.