Integrative therapy with a relational focus
All Integrative therapists combine knowledge from other approaches to therapy, mainly psychodynamic, person-centred and cognitive behavioural theories. Some Integrative therapists, myself included, work to a more cohesive model with a central idea. My central idea is that humans are relational beings. Our early relationships shape us as we grow up, and we need good relationships at every point in life to be well and thrive. By nature, we are also relational in ourselves. We have different aspects to our being, for example body and mind. Moreover, we carry memories and traces of the person(s) we used to be.

With this understanding in mind, I help my clients explore their experiences and their truth. This happens within a good therapeutic relationship, based on regular meetings with a reliable, caring other committed to your needs. I will assist you in discovering and honouring the various aspects of your being. Although the process can bring up difficult feelings, it’s also healing and enriching. 

The outcome of therapy is different and unique to each person. For example, Integrative therapy could help you develop more self-love, or feel better in your body, or have more trust in your judgement, or become more assertive regarding your needs. Moreover, the relational concepts of my approach can name and explain elements of your relationships with others that may have been hard to grasp. Once we understand more fully what is happening for us, it is much easier to act in our own best interest and change our relationships for the better.

The difference between counselling and psychotherapy
There is no universally acknowledged distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. Mostly, ‘counselling’ describes shorter therapies which concentrate on a single issue and a client’s present life. ‘Psychotherapy’ is used for work that addresses underlying patterns and uncovers links between a client’s past and current life. This may take months or even years, and it has the potential to profoundly change a person if they so wish. 

The training to become a counsellor is shorter, whereas psychotherapists have often engaged deeply in personal therapy before qualifying. During the four years of studying for my MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, I had about 200 hours of therapy. I know from experience that being in the client’s chair can feel emotional and messy. I also know that it’s healing and transformative.

Some practitioners call themselves counsellors because they find it sounds friendlier and less medical than psychotherapist. Still, ‘therapy’ means the effort to facilitate healing. I identify with this so I usually speak of therapy, no matter how long I meet with a client.