Let’s Talk About Integrative Therapy

These days, finding the ‘right’ therapist can be an involved process. Part of the challenge is that there are so many distinct kinds of psychotherapy. Some of the better-known forms of therapy include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and client-centered therapy. With so many different approaches, you may find yourself wondering, “How do I know which approach is right for me?”

Fortunately, therapists at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) are trained in a wide array of major therapeutic approaches. Moreover, many therapists increasingly recognize the value that each approach brings. For instance, CBT can help people develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving, while psychodynamic therapy can help clients better understand their personality and improve their relationships. So, it’s easy to wonder, “Why not take advantage of both approaches?

Great question! In light of the unique strengths of each form of therapy, therapists are increasingly incorporating elements of different approaches to meet the individual needs of clients; this practice is referred to as ‘integrative therapy.’ In essence, integrative therapy is an evidence-based approach that makes use of the wisdom and tools contained in a variety of other psychotherapy traditions. Importantly, there is also excellent research demonstrating the high value and effectiveness of integrative therapy.

There’s an interesting quote that I believe nicely illustrates the flexible and adaptive nature of this approach:

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Abraham Maslow

By taking advantage of the rich diversity of tools found in the best approaches to therapy, integrative therapists can flexibly respond to the diverse challenges and concerns that clients face. As a result, clients often report feeling understood as a person, instead of as a diagnosis or problem. So, if you’re wondering which type of therapy is right for you, integrative therapy might be just what you’ve been seeking.

Adam Blake, M.Sc., is a therapist at CFIR’s Toronto location. Adam provides individual therapy with adults who struggle with anxiety, panic, OCD, depression, trauma, dissociation, attention deficits, issues related to sexuality and relationships, self-worth, assertiveness, spirituality, and vocational/work concerns. His approach to psychotherapy is integrative and draws on empirically-supported principles from well-established traditions, including humanistic, existential, cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, and acceptance and commitment therapy.