Integrative Psychotherapy

Integrative psychotherapy and counselling aim to bring different therapeutic models, methods and philosophies together in a principled way. My approach integrates elements of contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a Humanistic emphasis on a direct and real relationship. I also incorporate into my practice some principles of Brief Dynamic Psychotherapy and Emotion-Focused Therapy, which clinical outcomes research has shown to be effective across a range of difficulties.

There are many things that one can say about integrative psychotherapy and many approaches to psychotherapy integration. The most important consideration, to my mind, is an attitude of always being ‘on the leading edge of change’, forever seeking that new synthesis or unified theory, but ultimately never aiming to arrive fully at the destination that is sought. For to believe that one has somehow arrived at the end of knowledge and knows the answers to the great questions of life is to be dead in the water. There is no shortage of self-help books that offer ‘answers’, be they some new formula for living or a recipe for a happier life. Many of these have merit, and if you’ve found one that works for you, it may be that you can get by without coming to see a therapist.

I find it helpful to think about models of psychotherapy as different ‘languages’ for working with human experience. The Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin identified two forces that are always at play in any living language: ‘centripital’ forces that pull meaning toward a centre of shared understanding; ‘centrifugal’ forces that draw words away from their agreed meanings toward new forms – a process leading to the creation of new dialects and in time to entirely new languages. I believe that therapy works best as a living ‘language’ that has robust foundations in things that are already believed to be known and understood about human beings, for this is not a question of simply ‘making it up as we go along’. But genuine therapeutic endeavour also requires that psychotherapy remain open to the uniqueness of each person, such that something new may be discovered or created, something thought that has never been thought before…

This post is work progress…