We have seen multiple approaches to psychotherapy and the difference between them based on their assumptions and goals. Some are more practical and short-term, some investigate deeper aspects, some provide skills, some have a greater interest in the context, some in the individual, and so on.
Then we have seen how the psychotherapist should be the first factor to consider when predicting the quality and effectiveness of a therapy. Without the right attitude (empathy, self-awareness, flexibility, understanding, professionality) on her or his behalf, the therapeutic relationship cannot be built. And without a therapeutic relationship, the skills, expertise, training lose all their worth because there is no connection to apply them to.
Another important factor that fosters improvement and is therapeutic in itself is integration.
Dogmatism is an enemy of growth, and increasingly more therapists are integrating approaches because they are opening up to the possibility that there are several truths and equally many ways to look at the world, and each one holds some strengths. Every perspective is shedding light on one side of the issue.
Looking at just one side is missing some parts.
Let’s assume a client comes with anxiety.
It will be vital to ask what they are anxious about.
It will be necessary to ask where it started, what it’s triggered by, how it feels in the body and what it’s represented by.
It can be helpful to investigate the client’s past, possible traumas, desires and fears.
It will be also important to understand that they will have to manage it day-by-day and perhaps suggest some mindfulness to learn to stay in the present moment.
Relationships might have to be included in the in picture, to have a broader idea of the client’s life and interactions. If the client was raised to be perfect, then that anxiety could also have connections to that.
It will be relevant to ask if this anxiety is a pattern, or comes up in specific occasions.
And lastly, the client might have to accept at least a part of their anxious tendency, befriend that anxiety and start to learn its triggers without just fighting it.
This is what integration looks like.