What Are The Principles Of Integrative Psychiatry?

Updated December 22, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Psychiatry isn't just a monolith. There are many forms and approaches to psychiatry, and in this post, we will be looking at integrative psychiatry. What is it? How does it work? What are its principles?

What Is Integrative Psychiatry?

Wondering How Integrative Psychiatry Can Help You?

Integrative psychiatry is seen as a holistic form of treatment. In other words, a person's whole is looked at, not just different parts. Integrative psychiatry has conventional methods, such as prescribing medications, but it also has personalized and complementary ways to help a person. Integrative psychiatry believes that there are different situations where a person may need a different form of therapy.

Some Examples Of Treatments

Integrative psychiatry may use different forms of treatment. These can include:

  • Nutritional needs. One way to treat someone's mental health is to put them on a diet and exercise regimen. For example, someone who is depressed may benefit from more exercise and a change in diet.
  • Exercises to relax the mind—for example, meditation or breathing exercises.
  • Guided imagery. The mind follows an image, and this helps them heal.
  • Bodywork. Massages and other treatments can make someone relax.
  • Eye movement exercises.

Integrative psychiatry can be expensive and can help quite a few people.

Who Can It Help?

Integrative psychiatry can help a few people, especially those who have had a hard time with traditional psychiatry. Someone who wants to improve their well-being can benefit, especially if they look at their health and see how it impacts their life. People who have anxiety, depression, PTSD, perimenopause, different phobias, and anything similar may benefit as well.

With that said, it isn't for everyone. If you feel suicidal, have psychosis, or have a severe mental health problem, you may need more intense psychiatry. Make sure you know what your needs are before you give integrative psychiatry a try.

The Principles Of Integrative Psychiatry

Integrative psychiatry runs on many unique principles. While they may vary depending on who you're talking to, here are some principles that are usually shared by all.

  • The goal of integrative psychiatry isn't just to treat the disease. If someone is anxious, ridding the person of anxiety isn't the end. The goal is to have significant mental health. This can prevent future mental health problems and improve the quality of one's life. Someone who goes into an integrative psychiatrist should be enhanced in all aspects of life.
  • Integrative psychiatry believes in the healing power of relationships. This includes the psychiatrist and client relationship, but it also consists of the client's relationship outside the field of psychiatry. For example, someone dealing with relationship or friendship issues may also need to repair their relationship. In some ways, integrative psychiatry has counseling elements to it. The psychiatrist in this situation isn't a pill pusher but someone who wants to form a relationship with their client and wants them to feel like they are being listened to.
  • As mentioned before, integrative psychiatry is a holistic approach where the whole is looked at in addition to the body. The belief is that the body, mind, and environment you surround yourself with operate harmoniously. If you want to treat anxiety, you can't just stop at anxiety meds and breathing exercises. You need to look at the life around you. Is there a reason in your personal life that can be contributing to how you feel and how you're operating? If so, how can the psychiatrist fix it? There are quite a few ways to do this.
  • Prevention is even more important than treatment. It's believed that one should not wait for a mental disorder or another disease to happen and try to fix it. Instead, it's thought that living healthy, both physically and mentally, can help prevent future problems. However, they do realize that those problems can still arise. But if you have a healthy mindset, you can handle the issues much better than if you were unhealthy. To prevent this, an integrative psychiatrist may use diet, meditation, relationships, and spirituality to help a person grow.
  • There's the belief that people can heal themselves from within. The natural state for most people is to be healthy. In other words, someone can heal themselves if they have all the proper treatment or tools. They need to identify and then remove anything problematic from their life.
  • Integrative psychiatry uses different models of treatment. They, well, integrate, and this is where the name comes from. It's believed that conventional psychiatry, which uses diagnosing, psychotherapy, and medication, can be combined with other ways of treatment, such as being mindful, massages, supplements, and other forms of alternative or untraditional medicine.
  • Another principle is that people are responsible for how healthy and happy they want to be. A psychiatrist can't make you happy. Instead, they can help guide you in discovering your happiness, and you can treat it in many different ways. Sometimes, this can involve taking negative habits and feelings you hold and letting them go. Other times, it can include battling your internal struggles to achieve happiness. While many factors can affect your mood, you are the sole decider of how you feel.
  • Individuality is essential and is a large part of integrative psychiatry. Grouping people can be important when classifying available treatment and advice, but everyone works differently. Not every person is going to work the same. Someone may react well to medicine, and someone else may respond to talk therapy. Looking at someone's preferences can determine the treatment and strategies an integrative psychiatrist may use. With that said, there are times when something different may be used.
  • Someone who is an integrative psychiatrist must practice what they preach. Everyone is going to be a hypocrite in some way or the other. However, if the psychiatrist tells you to eat healthily, and then they go out and eat fast food, they aren't principled. This doesn't mean the psychiatrist has to be perfect, but they must try to be moral and practice as many good habits as possible.
  • One belief is that every experience one has is an opportunity to learn. Someone who has a bad experience can learn from it as well. Many people will instead use inadequate opportunities as a reason to be depressed or feel like they can't continue with their life. Instead, they should focus on their experiences and honor them. By trying to push all of your life experiences away, you are doing yourself a bad favor in the end.

Myths About Integrative Psychiatry

There are many myths about integrative psychiatry. Here are a few myths and why they aren't true.

Myth: Integrative Psychiatry Discourages The Use Of Psychiatric Medicine

Wondering How Integrative Psychiatry Can Help You?

Because integrative psychiatry uses alternative treatments, one may feel like they discourage medications such as antidepressants or antipsychotics. This is not the case. Integrative psychiatry realizes these medicines are valuable, but they are not the only form of treatment. Someone may try different treatments in addition to taking medication.

Myth: Assessment Only Looks At The Health Of A Person

Someone going through integrative psychiatry may expect the psychiatrist to only look at their lifestyle and family history. However, the integrative psychiatrist will also look at several other things. They may look at the person's mind, spirit, body, and personal life. A full assessment of one's life is an essential principle of holism. One cannot be treated without it.

Myth: The Patients Only Come In For Natural Remedies

Not every patient who comes in is a natural remedy person. Instead, they want to see all the options and try them in a safe environment. If one thing doesn't work, they can quickly try another treatment. For example, the patient may try medicine and meditation together.

These are just a few reasons why integrative psychiatry is a unique practice that should be tried if you have a problem. They are not only suitable for mental health problems but also for physical health and people with external issues such as relationships, family, and other difficulties.

Seek Help!

Talk to a counselor or integrative psychiatrist today if you have a problem. There is no shame in admitting when you need help. Someone who deals with integrative psychiatry can try different treatments until they find the best method that works for them. You may not realize how much you like meditation or massages. Everyone reacts differently, and by treating your problems, you can learn how to prevent them and move on to something more significant. Speak to someone today about your concerns and get the assistance you need.

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