Integrative counselling: what is it and how can it help me?

Integrative counselling

Many people face difficulties in life. You are not alone.

And the integrative approach adapts therapy to exactly what you need.

In this post:

  • About integrative counselling
  • The importance of the therapeutic relationship
  • How you’ll benefit from this approach

What is integrative counselling?

Integrative counselling is a tailored approach that considers your needs and personal circumstances. It combines elements of specific therapies to help you heal and function better – mentally, emotionally and physically:

  • Humanistic counselling can help you achieve your potential (self-actualisation) using person-centred therapy. It’s excellent for exploring your daily routines, and how you feel and function in your context.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is useful to explore and challenge any negative automatic thoughts you may have. Your thinking can affect your behaviour, causing difficulties. But CBT can be as effective as medication in helping you heal.
  • Psychodynamic counselling can help you understand yourself. By exploring your life history, how you felt at different times or in different circumstances, you can learn to overcome past challenges.

The integrative approach helps many people find meaning amid their difficulties (Faris & van Ooijen, 2012). You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your beliefs and can learn from the things that have happened to you.

But success depends largely on one thing…

The therapeutic relationship

The therapeutic relationship (how you and your counsellor relate to one another) is hugely important in integrative counselling. You could say it is the therapy.

So you need to feel supported. That you and your counsellor cooperate well.

The counselling space is safe and non-judgemental. So you’re free to share your deepest thoughts or describe the difficulties in your day. You can explore what’s important to you and make sense of your circumstances, knowing your views will be accepted. You’ll always be heard, seen and valued for exactly who you are. And there’s no right or wrong way for you to be – I specialise in equality, inclusivity and diversity (EDI).

Together we can look at your behaviour and beliefs. Explore how you experience the world. You’ll learn to be more observant and how to challenge unhelpful aspects of your life which can help your relationships flourish.

I regularly ask my clients to review what’s helpful and we work on anything that’s not. You’re in control of what happens in the room. When we’re equals – with no power imbalance – it’s easier to share authentically and achieve greater self-awareness.

Therapy can provide you with a greater sense of balance. But before you decide who to work with, I encourage you to interview several people. Meet in their counselling space and check what format they use with their clients. Then you’ll find a therapist you’re comfortable with.

A good counsellor should also be open about how they work. I follow the BACP ethical framework as it’s the foundation of the therapeutic relationship and provides reassurance for you and your counsellor.

How you’ll benefit from integrative counselling

What is it you’re struggling with right now?

Perhaps you feel you can’t be authentic with others and you find it hard to form meaningful relationships. Maybe you lost your sense of self during the pandemic. Or are you finding it tough coming to terms with another type of loss?

One size does not fit all. So during integrative counselling we’ll explore the things relevant to you using the right techniques for your situation. And only set goals that you’re happy with. You’ll have lots of time and space to witness what makes you overwhelmed, to practice self-compassion and to be kind to yourself.

Ultimately you can become free from the things which hold you back.

Fear, anxiety, phobias or other mental health difficulties may have thrown you off balance for a while. But with integrative counselling you can learn to spot what’s happening in your mind and body and find stability again.

And if it’s right for you, we can combine counselling with other wellness services – balancing your physical self with your inner world. It’s one reason I use the mantra: ‘one moment, one breath and one movement.’

While counselling can be a challenge and you need to be prepared, it’s also incredibly worthwhile. Remember, an integrative counsellor tailors therapy to you, not you to the therapy.

To find your sweet spot in life – how you can lead a balanced, healthy life – please get in touch.

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