Psychotherapy is often constrained by models. There are numerous different ways of looking at any psychological issue. A person with trouble maintaining relationships, for example, might have learnt bad habits over time, have had a tumultuous bond with his mother or be going through a crisis of self, depending on your perspective. The aim of all of these approaches is the same, and they all enjoy some degrees of success. Many therapists will stick firmly to one approach, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, but in integrative counselling any approach or even a combination of them is used as required. This enables the therapist to tailor his approach to each individual client.
What are the Most Common Models?
The most well known treatment model, even if it isn’t the most widely practised today, is psychoanalysis. This is the school of counselling developed by Freud which uses free association therapy, where the client reclines on a sofa and talks freely whilst the therapist seeks to understand their subconscious mind. The most widely used approach in modern times is cognitive behavioural therapy, which focuses on both the individual’s thought processes and the actions which accompany them. The counsellor aims to understand their learned behaviours and thinking patterns and works to confront and change any harmful ones. There are numerous other models, such as gestalt, existential, person-centred and transactional analysis. An integrative counsellor can draw from any of these approaches.
How Does the Therapist Choose an Approach?
The main benefit of integrative counselling is that the therapist can use whichever model is most suitable for the individual. This will generally be lead by the counsellor, who will apply whichever approach appears to fit the situation most effectively. For example, an individual with a substance abuse problem might have started taking drugs through peer pressure, and in this situation a cognitive behavioural approach is quite well-suited. The therapist would work to determine the rewards the person derived from taking drugs, and help him or her realise that they do not need substances to feel accepted socially or reap those rewards. However, if the individual started taking drugs because of witnessing their caregiver do the same thing, a psychoanalytic (or psychodynamic) approach might be a better fit.
Does the Client Get a Choice?
If the individual would rather tackle their issues using one approach over another, then the counsellor will do so. Everybody is different, and people don’t all respond to the same types of treatment. Some people don’t like delving into their past, for example, so approaches like gestalt and person centred therapy – which focus on the present – can be used. This means that the individual can have much more of an input in their treatment, and can choose to confront their issues from whichever angle they like. The counsellor will still suggest approaches from a professional standpoint, but the client ultimately determines which course they take.
Any issue which can be dealt with through therapy can be tackled through integrative counselling. The variety of approaches means that it’s also suitable for anybody, regardless of their personality or preferences. If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, grief, addiction, anxiety disorders, a rough time in a relationship or any other psychological issue, we are here to help. We’ll have a chat with you free of charge to discuss your treatment options, and we can also assess your requirements. We integrate a variety of approaches into our treatment, so we’ll ensure you get the right kind of support. Visit us in person at our Luton offices or get in touch with us over the phone! We’re here to help you.