What is Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapists who work in a Humanistic and integrative approach create a space for individual’s to develop and awareness around what is preventing them from living their life to its fullest. This approach runs counter to the scientific tenets of behaviourism and analytic approach of Freudian Psychoanalysis. The Humanistic and Integrative approach includes, in its process, those aspects that make up what it is to be human for example, love, values, self awareness, choice and human potential. Within the Humanistic and Integrative approach human beings are seen as a whole person living through a level of integration through their mind, psyche, body and feelings. This approach also believes that the responsibility for the individual’s life lies with the individual themselves. Individual’s make their own choices and are responsible for both their action and inaction. The practitioner sees the person as dynamic and as an entity unfolding in different stages. It is recognised that along the journey of life, and through the stages, failure or frustration can be experienced as depression or a sense of being stuck.
These experiences can result in integration that is uneven and can impact or impede the emergence of later stages. This uneven integration can impact the personal development of the individual and their sense of living life they want.
What does Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy
look like in practice?
Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy has its emphasis on the experience and is based on a phenomenological view of reality. Therapists working in this way will often engage in active techniques that deepen the therapeutic process. This work moves away from the goal orientated approach focusing on understanding things through active exploration of experience. There are many creative ways to work with clients within this approach.
A fundamental aspect of the Humanistic approach is the emphasis on the therapeutic relationship. Within this approach the contract between client and therapist is one between equals and is not about an ‘all knowing’ therapist who will ‘fix’ the client. The therapy encourages the capacity of the client and aims to nurture a movement towards self healing. Practitioners will acknowledge and explore the client’s concrete individual experiences and create space for the anxiety and distress that might be rooted in earlier relationships. Further exploration may lead to insights into repetitive patterns of behaviour which might be acting as obstacles, preventing the individual from leading a fulfilling life. The Psychotherapist will aim to use the conditions as set down by Carl
Rogers, focusing on the importance of being genuine, empathetic and non-judgmental, on the therapist’s part in an effort to promote change. A practitioner working within an integrative perspective aims to practice of psychotherapy that acknowledges the inherent value of every individual. This approach is seen as a unifying psychotherapy that responds to the individual in an appropriate way at all levels of functioning. The goal of the integrative approach is to nurture wholeness so that the quality of the individual’s functioning in life is maximised. Within this process the practitioner holds due regard for each individual’s personal limitations and possible external constraints.