You’ve probably heard of lots of different types of psychotherapy – psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, transactional analysis, gestalt, humanistic, to name but a few. It can be hard working out what the difference is between them all and which one might be right for you.
The good news is, research shows that all the different types of therapy are helpful and no one more than others.
My approach is integrative psychotherapy with a relational approach.
So what is integrative psychotherapy?
It means I use a combination of theories from different traditions. I think all of them have merits and some work better with certain issues than others. I am able to integrate the theories that work best for me and the individual I’m working with.
Integration is also what we are often striving for in therapy. We have external roles we have to take on in life (for example, being a mother, daughter, wife or father, son, husband) as well as internal parts of us that need acknowledging (for example the parts of us that want to be carefree and the parts of us that have to take on responsibilities). Sometimes when these parts are in conflict we are left feeling uneasy and unhappy. Integrating these parts and holding a balance between them can be helpful in easing the stress.
That explains integrative but what does ‘with a relational approach’ mean?
At the heart of my practice is the belief in the power of and importance of healthy strong relationships in our lives. This includes the therapy relationship. The more comfortable and safe you feel in the therapy relationship the better progress we will make. That is why the first session is so important. It is an opportunity to work out whether you feel like I will be a good fit for you and whether I can offer what you are after. It also gives me an opportunity to work out whether I am the best therapist for you.
When relationships (be it with friends, loved ones, family or acquaintances) are going well they can be incredibly nourishing and supportive. When they are not going well it can impact the whole of our lives. It can leave you fearful of relationships and being around people or even fearful of being alone and not with people. Using the therapy relationship we can explore the other relationships in your life to see if they are as fulfilling as they can be and perhaps find ways to better cope whilst in or out of relationships.
Relationships do not have to be with other people, they can be with yourself, with your body, with the environment or the spiritual world. People often find they struggle with these types of relationships. During therapy we are able to look at these relationships as well.
Where does integrative psychotherapy come from? I’ve never heard of it before?
Integrative psychotherapy is one of the newer forms of psychotherapy but in a way it has been established for many years without being formally named.
It grew out of a realisation that all the different types of therapy were working equally as well in helping people alleviate psychological distress. Therefore, research was done to hone down the common factors amongst all the different therapies to work out what it was about psychotherapy that was actually helping people. Number one of these common factors was the relationship between therapist and client, hence why integrative psychotherapy places such a strong emphasis on it.
At the same time it was recognised that several different modalities had similar theoretical beliefs but just used different words to describe it. It is these common theories that integrative psychotherapy focuses on.
I am happy to discuss my approach further, or answer any questions you may have about other types of therapy.