Integrative Psychotherapy

Integrative psychotherapy embraces first and foremost a particular attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy which affirms the importance of a unifying approach to persons. Thus a major focus is on responding appropriately and effectively to the person at the emotional, spiritual, cognitive, behavioural and physiological levels.

The aim of this is to facilitate integration such that the quality of the person¹s being and functioning in the intrapsychic, interpersonal and socio-political space is maximised with due regard for each individual¹s own personal limits and external constraints. Within this framework it is recognised that integration is a process to which therapists also need to commit themselves. Thus there is a focus on the personal integration of therapists. However, it is recognised that while a focus on personal growth in the therapist is essential there needs also to be a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge in the area of psychotherapy and its related fields. Therefore the EAIP defines as ³integrative² any methodology and integrative orientation in psychotherapy which exemplifies or is developing towards, a conceptually coherent, principled, theoretical combination of two or more specific approaches, and/or represents a model of integration in its own right. In this regard there is a particular ethical obligation on integrative psychotherapists to dialogue with colleagues of diverse orientations and to remain informed of developments in the field.

A central tenet of integrative psychotherapy is that no single form of therapy is best or even adequate in all situations. Integrative psychotherapy therefore promotes flexibility in its approach to problems but also subscribes to the maintenance of a standard of excellence in service to clients, in supervision and in training. Thus when integrative therapists draw on different strategies, techniques and theoretical constructs when dealing with particular situations, this is not done haphazardly but in a manner informed both by clinical intuition and a sound knowledge and understanding of the problems at hand and the interventions to be applied.

In the final analysis Integrative Psychotherapy, while affirming the importance of foregrounding particular approaches or combinations of approaches in regard to specific problems, nevertheless places the highest priority on those factors which are common to all psychotherapies, especially the therapeutic relationship in all its modalities. In regard to the therapeutic relationship however, particular emphasis is placed on the maintenance of an attitude of respect, kindness, honesty and equality in regard to the personhood of the client in a manner which affirms the integrity and humanity both of the self and the other.

Integrative psychotherapy affirms the importance of providing a holding environment in which growth and healing can take place in an intersubjective space which has been co-created by both the client and the therapist.²

EAIP 1997.

For further information please contact:
The President, EAIP P.O. Box 2512, Ealing London W5 2QG United Kingdom.


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.