What Is Integrative Therapy?

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated June 22, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Therapy is a great way to address life's regular challenges. There are a variety of therapy approaches available today, with integrative therapy being a popular one for today's therapists. Discover the goals, questions, and methodology behind integrative therapy.
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How Does Integrative Therapy Work?

What Is Integrative Therapy?

Integrative therapy is a type of psychotherapy, and it combines carefully selected complementary theoretical approaches and interventions to meet clients' needs. This means that integrative therapy can adapt and adjust to the needs of the individual in a way that other therapy approaches can't. Integrative therapy is praised for its flexibility and focus on the individual. Other approaches may be limited to a single approach or set of interventions and may have less adaptability to unique individual needs.

Integrative therapy can be utilized with any part of the population. Integrative therapy can work across different ages, stages of development, and be used in both group and individual settings. An integrative approach is also helpful in working with the complexity of multiple problems or diagnoses.

How It Works: Questions And Goals

Integrative therapy will employ a unique approach best suited to you and your goals, but some of what the integrative therapist may be interested in as they develop a treatment plan for you are:

  • What makes you, you? What are your personality traits?
  • When it comes to treatment or handling problems in general, do you have a preference? If so, how can your therapist be able to manage it? They may try different treatments that are as close to your preferences as much as possible.
  • What needs do you have that you consider unfulfilled? If you have unfulfilled needs, how can they be treated through therapy? These questions can help the therapist figure out how they are going to treat you.
  • Physical abilities. How strong are you? Can you exercise well? Exercise of some kind may be recommended as an adjunct therapy and so the therapist will be interested in your ability to participate. This will perhaps make your therapy more effective.
  • Is the client religious and tries to solve their problems through a religious lens, as it relates to therapy? Are they not religious, but instead more spiritual? Do they not believe in anything? All these questions can help each therapy session meet the client's spiritual needs in addition to their physical needs.
  • Your level of motivation. The therapist will be interested in your level of motivation and in helping you increase or apply it to changes you want to make through therapy.

Finding A Method For You

With many approaches and schools of counseling available today, it can be overwhelming for a client to pick a certain approach. People are different, and this means that one method isn't necessarily going to be the best way. Instead, there may be other forms of therapy that could be more useful.

Many psychotherapists may just call themselves integrative therapists because they do not identify with one model or another. An integrative therapist will know multiple approaches and interventions.
Integrative therapy and eclectic therapy are often terms that are used interchangeably, but the methods are different. An eclectic approach to therapy may indicate knowledge of multiple aspects of therapeutic approaches or interventions that the therapist will use as they see fit, while an integrative approach to therapy indicates that a therapist has carefully selected complementary approaches and interventions with intention of creating their therapeutic model to help their clients.

Finding A Specialized Counselor

If you want to find an integrative therapist, you can speak to any psychotherapist who is available. You can ask a therapist and see whether or not they can treat the problem at hand. In the interview process, ask and see if they are integrative. The therapist can be able also tell you about their educational background and what skills they have.
If you're searching for an integrative therapist, the best way to determine if the therapist practices with an integrative focus is to speak with them. Many therapists will have the information on their websites or the informational pages they maintain — but the therapist should be open to discussing the details with you. It's a licensed profession, which means that each therapist must maintain a license to practice, and they should be open to discussing their license, background, education, and approach with you.
Some people ask themselves questions about integrative therapy like:
  • What are types of integrative therapy?
  • What are the benefits of integrative therapy?
  • What are the disadvantages of integrative therapy?
  • Is CBT an integrative approach? What is an integrative approach?
  • What are the key elements of integrative psychotherapy?
  • Why an integrative approach is important?
  • What is an integrative approach in counseling?
  • What is integrative adapt therapy?
  • Is integrative therapy evidence based?

Integrative Therapy Process

We've shown you what integrative therapy is, but we may not have explained how exactly an integrative approach to therapy works. How it works will be different depending on your needs. Someone who is in integrative therapy may use a few different techniques.

For example, an integrative therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to treat the problems of their client. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used a lot in many integrated therapist sessions. This therapy works to identify the thoughts and beliefs that lead to unhelpful behaviors for clients, to challenge those, and replace them with helpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

As integrative therapist employs CBT, they may use other techniques as well. The integrative therapist may utilize meditation to educate the client on a skill for coping during times of stress or anxiety. In truth, there usually is not one magic solution to help someone, but instead many different solutions that combine to form one clear way to solve a problem.

An integrative therapist may also look at your problems through different lenses. When it comes to depression, for instance, an integrative therapist may look at depression as a combination of childhood attachment problems, current relationship problems, communication issues, and other problems that may contribute to the depression. An integrative therapist can help by making the person learn how to handle their relationship better and show all the unconscious problems they may face.

It may be difficult to figure out which treatment can help you the most, but in visiting with an integrative therapist, it is their job to determine what their approach will be toward your problems and to design an effective plan for treatment.

How Does Integrative Therapy Work?

Final Thoughts: Integrative Therapy

Talking with a therapist in therapy can help — especially through an integrative therapy lens. Therapy can be a productive space to share the challenges you are facing. A therapist can use many different techniques and help you find the one that best suits your situation.
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