A one-day CPD workshop for counsellors and psychotherapists
Over the last 20 years, the fields of counselling and psychotherapy have moved beyond their traditional fragmentation. Cross-fertilisation and new hybrid methods blending previously segregated therapeutic approaches abound. It’s not uncommon these days for therapists to combine approaches like person-centred and EMDR, psychodynamic and CBT, Gestalt and attachment-based – combinations which would have been seen as incompatible some decades ago. Therapists practising a ‘pure’ approach are now rarer than integrative practitioners.
There are obvious advantages in therapists being able to provide a wider range of options and techniques to a wider range of clients. Integrative therapists are able to tailor their approach to the needs of the individual client, drawing from the wealth of models and techniques available.
However, since the beginnings of the integrative movement in the early 1990’s, there has been concern over the distinction between integration versus eclecticism, based on the recognition that not all integration is a good thing, but that there are dangers and disadvantages in a potentially confusing, ‘muddled’, pick‘n mix integrative approach.
What are some of these dangers?
- lack of containment arising from a sense of inconsistency (between theories, techniques and underlying attitudes and values)
- too pragmatic and eclectic an attitude tends towards superficiality
- therapists using integrative flexibility in a defensive, avoidant way
- therapist experienced as lacking a position, being ‘all things to all people’
- therapist’s implicit, but unacknowledged ‘medical model’ attitudes in selecting different modalities
- transferential and relational implications of switching between modalities are not sufficiently attended to
With the integrative perspective now becoming dominant at least in the humanistic field, it is time we prioritise and reflect on these problems.