Integrative Therapy London Guide
Integrative therapy in London
If you’re thinking of starting therapy, but can’t decide which type of therapy might be best for you, you might be considering integrative therapy.
As a psychotherapist in Central London, I’m aware of the different approaches of various schools of therapy. Some modalities focus on childhood experiences, others on your thoughts and feelings. Some therapists are theory led, and will perform an ‘analysis’, whereas others might believe that you hold all of the answers.
Integrative therapy combines different therapeutic styles with one aim – to tailor the therapy to suit you and your needs.
What is integrative therapy?
As an integrative therapist, I combine methods and theories from a wide range of approaches. I don’t believe that one type of therapy is better than another – each has its own characteristics which can be suitable for a situation. The goal of therapy is to understand yourself better, and there are many angles to approach this. My approach to therapy will depend on your personality type, how you’d like to work, and where you are in the healing process.
Whatever your reason for coming to therapy, my first aim is to meet you where you are with empathy, and to hear what’s troubling you. My training means I’ll be able to view your situation from different angles. Let’s say you come to therapy because you’ve been feeling anxious, and you’re not sure why.
There’s a wide range of issues that can cause anxiety, so I’d start by getting to know you, and building a trusting relationship. Many problems stem from how we relate to other people, so forming a safe and honest relationship with your therapist is important. I’ll take into account the culture you come from, your health, your age and your motivation for self development.
We’ll look at you anxiety through a variety of lenses: the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, how you’re relating with other people, the triggers of anxiety, your past, and the assumptions you have about the world you live in.
How the past affects you
Many psychological issues are complex and deeply rooted. It can be helpful to get a sense of your life story – what shaped you as a child, and the events and choices that led up to who you are today. The environment that you grew up in and your first relationships can have a huge impact on your mental health. There may be unresolved trauma or inherited beliefs which still influence your behaviour as an adult.
Mindfulness and the present
While revisiting the past has many benefits, it’s our relationship with the present where the healing begins. Through mindfulness, you can develop a real-time awareness and sensitivity of how your thought patterns, and feelings are operating. Thoughts which were acquired in the past might now be outdated, and need reexamining. Just becoming more aware of your thoughts helps you acquire some distance from their influence.
Mindfulness also helps you to become more aware of your feelings and emotions. You’ll see how feelings and thoughts can be intertwined, with thoughts triggering emotions, or feelings triggering thought patterns.
The mind body connection
Developing an awareness of body sensations is a very effective way of examining your feelings. The mind and body are intricately connected, and every feeling has a corresponding sensation in the body. An obvious example is butterflies in your tummy when you’re nervous, or a feeling of heat in the body when you’re angry. But there’s much more subtle sensations that you can learn to recognise.
The theories behind integrative therapy
Integrative psychotherapy draws from humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive, trauma-informed, mindfulness, somatic and transpersonal approaches.
We might start the sessions from a client-centred perspective. This is a strand of humanistic therapy, emphasising an equal partnership between the client and the therapist. As a client, you’ll be able to direct the direction of the therapy. I’ll support you as you explore, and give you genuine, non judgemental feedback.
The therapy might then take on a psychodynamic flavour, as you delve into your past to see how early relationships have formed your way of thinking. You might look at dreams, and begin to explore the terrain of your unconscious, and how it effects your behaviours and relationships.
Traumas may be identified which could be the result of childhood abuse, or more recent events. A trauma-informed approach will help to gently explore any traumas, so they can be resolved. There might be other issues, such as social anxiety, or an obsessive compulsion. In this case CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) can be helpful. You’ll look at your thought patterns, and how they’re affecting your feelings and behaviours.
I’ll show you how to be aware of what’s happening in the present moment, so you’re mindful of your thoughts and feelings as they come up. You’ll watch thoughts appear and vanish and observe them from a ‘witnessing’ point of view. You’ll develop a sensitivity to the sensations in your body, and use this awareness to develop stay centred and develop a calm presence.
Integrating the personality
Integrative therapists aim to integrate all aspects of the personality into a unified whole. As well as the parts of yourself you’re already aware of, there are also other hidden or repressed aspects – parts of your personality which were unacceptable in the family or culture you grew up in.
During integrative counselling and psychotherapy, you’ll meet those hidden parts of you which are sometimes referred to as the shadow. They can include aspects you don’t like about yourself, but also positive attributes which haven’t been allowed expression
The work of therapy involves becoming aware of these lost and disowned parts of your nature, so they can come together as part of a cohesive and harmonious personality.
What is integrative therapy good for?
Because of its flexibility and tailored approach, integrative therapy is good for both long and short term work. It’s effective for many mental health concerns, including:
- social anxiety
- childhood trauma
- relationship issues
- low self esteem
- personal development
The Integrative approach is fluid enough to move with you as your needs and goals change over time. You’ll be able to check in with your therapist regularly on how you both think the therapy’s progressing.
Integrative therapy in London
In my work a psychotherapist, I’ve witnessed the often profound effects of integrative therapy. It’s an approach which doesn’t just address symptoms – it looks at you as a whole person. Everyone is unique, and brings their individual personality and narrative. I offer integrative therapy to provides insight and flexibility in tailoring the therapeutic experience to the individual’s needs.
If you’re feeling uncertain, taking the first step can be difficult. If you think we might be able to work together, I invite you to book as initial session, so we can embark on your journey towards understanding, healing, and growth.
I offer private therapy in Central London, and take a person-centred approach, meaning that I’m non-judgemental, see clients as equals, and collaborate with you on your healing journey. If you feel you could benefit from therapy, don’t hesitate to book an initial consultation. You don’t have to prepare for this, just come as you are and we can look into how I might be able to help.