- Embraces first and foremost a particular attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy which affirms the importance of a unifying approach to persons. Thus a major focus is on responding appropriately and effectively to the person at the emotional, spiritual, cognitive, behavioural and physiological levels. The aim of this is to facilitate integration such that the quality of the person’s being and functioning in the intrapsychic, interpersonal and socio-political space is maximised with due regard for each individual’s own personal limits and external constraints.
- Within this framework it is recognised 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, it is recognised that while a focus on personal growth in the therapist is essential, there also need to be a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge in the area of psychotherapy and its related fields. Therefore the EAIP (European Association for Integrative Psychotherapy) defines as ‘integrative’; any methodology and integrative orientation in psychotherapy which exemplifies, or is developing towards, a conceptually coherent, principled, theoretical combination of two or more specific approaches, and/or represents a model of integration in its own right. In this regard 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.
- A central tenet of integrative psychotherapy is that no single form of therapy is best, or even adequate, in all situations. Integrative psychotherapy therefore promotes flexibility in its approach to problems, but also subscribes to the maintenance of a standard of excellence in service to clients, in supervision and in training. Thus when integrative therapists draw on different strategies, techniques and theoretical constructs, when dealing with particular situations, this is not done haphazardly, but in a manner, informed both by clinical intuition and a sound knowledge and understanding of the problems at hand and the interventions to be applied.
- In the final analysis, Integrative Psychotherapy, while affirming the importance of foregrounding particular approaches or combinations of approaches in regard to specific problems, nevertheless, places the highest priority on those factors which are common to all psychotherapies, especially the therapeutic relationship in all its modalities. In regard to the therapeutic relationship however, particular emphasis is placed on the maintenance of an attitude of respect, kindness, honesty and equality in regard to the personhood of the client, in a manner which affirms the integrity and humanity, both of the self and the other.
- Integrative psychotherapy affirms the importance of providing a holding environment in which growth and healing can take place in an intersubjective space which has been co-created by both the client and the therapist.