Integrative counselling aims to promote healing and facilitate wholeness - encouraging a person's optimal being and functioning (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health). Clients commit to self-exploration and open to identifying what factors,, blind spots in their life are perpetuating problems, and/or are causing current concerns. This approach leads to increased awareness as integrative therapy helps to create a healthy alliance between mind, body and spirit - empowering clients to start setting goals for practice that will enable them to move beyond their limitations and discover greater life satisfaction.
The process of integrative counselling is very much centered on the active exploration of experience in the here and now - a phenomenological view of reality. It is the role of an integrative counsellor to foster this by incorporating a variation of techniques appropriate to each client. The central core of integrative counselling is that there are many ways in which human functioning can be explored and understood. This means integration can occur through a variety of modalities/systems of perspective best suited to the client's own preferences and the therapist's training and experience. These may include but are not limited to:
Experiential modalities: Sound and expressive Arts, ceremony;
Each approach offers insight into human behaviour, as well as a unique understanding of key factors that will result in changes to behaviour and other areas of functioning such as cognition and emotions. These can be attuned when selectively integrated with other elements of therapy along with the client's own capacity for insight and change.
Benefits and Risks of Integrated Therapy A key advantage of integrative counselling is its flexibility and focus on the whole of an individual. The integration of approaches means that counselling is tailored to meet a variety of needs and concerns. It can be particularly beneficial for those who want to overcome negative patterns of behaviour, thinking or feeling caused by anxieties, fears, phobias or any other mental health issue that is greatly impacting life satisfaction (i.e. addictions, depression, past and current trauma, bereavement and low self-esteem). It has also been found useful in improving daily function in children with autism and learning difficulties. Risks of counseling may include one feeling open and vulnerable bringing to the surface or felt in the body old patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Also, counseling requires one's commitment towards truth, sometimes shaking our old walls and personality masks! As necessary as this is, it requires courage, time and a healthy dose of focus and humour.