One of the goals of an integrative psychotherapy is the integration of the fragments of oneself, creating an internal experience of wholeness.
From this place of wholeness, we are once again available to make internal and external contact. And all the while we’re able to fully experience ourselves and our naturalness.
As a psychotherapist, we achieve this goal by first addressing the struggles that the client is encountering here and now.
We have clients do this in the therapy room with us as professionals as well as in their current relationships and everyday life. As they express, both verbally and nonverbally, how they are struggling, we explore two areas.
Strengthening of Adult Self
The first direction we typically move into—and the thing to address—is the strengthening of the adult self.
Here, we help with the ability to make adult decisions about health and relationships, helping a client find a centered, grounded place from which they can process their feelings.
In order to best support this, we help our clients regulate their emotions—in particular, their anxiety.
2 Important Strengthening Skills
We help our clients learn skills to operate from a more grounded place, such as:
- How to communicate with themselves and with other people in ways that are regulating.
- Making authentic contact both internally and externally.
Working Through Past Traumas
The second direction we take is to delve deeper into our clients’ struggles in the counseling room.
In broad terms, we work with the fragments of our clients’ personalities—fragments that were formed in childhood.
Specifically, as we look at the maladaptive coping styles clients are bringing into their lives, we find ourselves inquiring as to where these may have originated.
You see, we want to help our clients make adult decisions here and now (and ground them in a strong adult sense of self), and we also want to help them work through past traumas.
That way when they learn to remain regulate and present, even when experiencing events that currently trigger feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
We help clients do this deeper work by:
- Making inquiries into their internal experience.
- Looking to find the roots of these experiences.
One thing we often recognize is that our client’s response to the world around them is disproportionate to the events that are actually happening in the present.
You might find that life experiences cause you to feel anxious, scared or angry, emotions that move you to a de-regulated place.
This makes the issue more complex and makes you more insecure.
Instead of being able to break down what’s happening in a way that simplifies the problem and creates a sense of security, clients who are struggling do something very different.
The question is: why this is happening?
We will discuss the answer next time.