The Journey of the Integrative Therapist

Looking at Psychotherapy Integration From the Top Down

The Journey of the Integrative Therapist | Elizabeth Dickson

What Does it Mean to Be An Eclectic or Integrative Therapist?

The mystique of being an eclectic or integrative therapist is that it is difficult to generalize about what we do and how we got there; each therapist chooses their own traditions or schools to work with and pulls it all together (or integrates) based upon their unique personalities and experiences. And yet we need to have some basis for sharing our journeys and finding commonalities.


The Parts and the Whole

There are some basic questions that we can begin to ask each other: Did we start with a home base approach and assimilate from there? Do we prefer the term “eclectic” or “integrative”, and why? What are the most important traditions, theories and approaches that we have studied and incorporated in our work? Do these “parts” feel like they have come together to form a “whole”? Do we have an underlying philosophy about the healing or growth process that is central to our work? Are there implicit values that we have not fully articulated that have influenced our choices of theories and approaches? Does our integration process as therapists parallel our personal integration process?


Allowing Our Clients to Teach Us: The Ultimate Integration

Just as we choose the parts or theories that reflect our beliefs and values, we in turn have the opportunity to adjust our theories (and influence the balance of our underlying beliefs and values as well) based upon what we find is most productive and fulfilling for our clients (and also for ourselves) in our day to day working lives.

And this adjusting that we do as therapists is not only at a conscious level, but also at an implicit level, as we allow our experiences to perform much of the professional (as well as personal) integration process for us.


For a more detailed discussion, visit Psychotherapy Integration: Personal Journey