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Whilst psychotherapy integration has been one of the most necessary, creative and productive developments in our field over the last 20 years, 'integrative' is in danger of becoming another meaningless sound-bite.
What does our integration include, and what doesn't it? What holds it together?
How broad and deep is the integration we are pursuing and therefore capable of offering to our clients? Many therapists quite rightly ask: does it do justice to the integrative principle to cherry-pick a couple of different approaches and call this 'integrative'? Are we not aiming at an integration that includes the strengths and gifts of the whole field, including all the theories and techniques?
If this is your aim, or you feel confused or disjointed as an integrative therapist, or you have misgivings about the effectiveness of your integration, this evening is for you.
Many therapists do not feel sufficiently prepared to hold a robust, broad-spectrum, coherent integrative position. Too often integration is taught whilst disregarding the irreconcilable contradictions between the approaches in terms of underlying paradigms, theories, stances and assumptions. This inevitably leads to a too pragmatic attitude which reduces integration to an eclectic pick'n mix of techniques, with therapists switching between different approaches in ways that are confusing and uncontaining for the client.
So how can we access the full wealth of therapeutic ways of working, without becoming everything to all people, diluting our therapeutic stance and losing coherence?
Michael has been working on this conundrum for the last 20 years, and developed a formulation which he calls the 'diamond model of the modalities'. Based upon the different modalities of therapeutic relatedness (Clarkson/Stark), it can provide a framework for your own ongoing journey towards integration between the diverse approaches and polarities within the still fragmented psychotherapeutic field.