What is integration?

© Tim Hamill, 1976

Integrative counselling is the idea that no one model fits all. As an integrative counsellor I believe that no single approach can serve each client in all situations because each person is unique. In my work I always strive to adapt to the client’s needs and expectations as much as possible. I think there are many ways in which human experience can be explored and understood and perhaps no theory alone holds all the answers. To some extent, working with a specific model beforehand means fitting the client into the model rather than the model to the client. 

I believe it is important to check in with the client on every session how they feel they are progressing. Not only one model does not fit every client, but one model does not fit the same client all the time.

A person has both external sides (what others see in us, our behaviours to others, our particular roles to others) and internal sides (what is going on behind the scenes, conscious and unconsciously). From this perspective, another way of understanding integration is being interested in all the parts that compound the human experience. A section can never be a true representation of the whole. Integration is acknowledging all the parts of an individual and facilitating wholeness. 

As an integrative counsellor I understand my work as a relational process. I think the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in the work that the counsellor and the client do together. For me the relationship is the container for the healing journey and when it is valued and cultivated, it provides the safety needed for the therapeutic work to take place.

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