Drawing on a variety of psychotherapies to suit your needs

Here at The House Partnership, our therapists are trained in and influenced by a variety of therapeutic models, but not limited to or by any one. They use their experience in a range of fields and draw appropriate elements from each to suit the particular preferences, needs and concerns of each individual client. Their expertise allows them to create a therapeutic experience that brings together the best of a variety of therapies to ensure the best outcomes for you. Integrated psychotherapy recognises there is no one overriding ‘best’ therapy

This integrated approach to psychological therapy avoids dogma, recognising that there is no one overriding truth or ‘best’ psychotherapy. Rather, what exists are many truths, which have have greater or lesser relevance to each client, depending on their particular problems and what they are seeking to achieve in the therapeutic process.

So instead of squeezing each client into a ‘one size fits all’ system, integrated therapy takes a bottom-up approach, taking direction from the person themselves as guidance for the shape that therapy should take. Just as needs differ across individuals, they can also develop for the same person over time and our House therapists are able to adapt their integrated approach to meet these challenges.

Integrated therapy is not a matter of ‘picking’ elements of therapies and throwing them together like ingredients for a cake: the integrated approach is united under a holistic understanding of the issues at hand. This methodology has been the the catalyst for the birth of many new psychotherapies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for example is a reaction to and combination of the ‘best’ components of Cognitive and Behavioural theory, united by a single model: a conceptual Cognitive-Behavioural framework meshing these two different schools together to create a product which is arguably greater than the sum of its parts.

There is good evidence for the success of integrative approaches, especially when used to help people with problems that may be resistant to other therapies alone. For example, it is well accepted that CBT is great as a treatment for various anxieties and phobias, but Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can often be a more stubborn concern for CBT to tackle, and it can take a little longer on average for severe cases to reach resolution. This is thought to be because two of the important factors which maintain GAD are interpersonal processes and emotional avoidance, which CBT may not tackle as strongly.

With this in mind, a group of researchers at Penn State decided in 2005 decided to take an integrative approach to GAD, combining CBT with interpersonal emotional processing therapy and supportive listening. They found that this combination of therapies significantly decreased symptoms of GAD and interpersonal problems in their participants, even over a year after the intervention ended. By comparing their results with other research, they realised that this recovery with this integrated form of therapy was in fact stronger than for CBT alone.

Another popular integrative approach is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). DBT was adapted as a combination of CBT and mindfulness, and tailored specifically to these needs of people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – especially those struggling with self harm and suicidal thoughts. DBT tends to involve both individual and group sessions. In the individual sessions, the client and therapist work together collaboratively according to a treatment hierarchy, with self injurious and suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours taking top priority.

Next are those behaviours which may interfere with the success of therapy, and then the issues which are affecting the client’s quality of life in general. In group sessions, the client works with others to develop specific skills that are crucial to achieving these goals: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and intelligence, and distress tolerance. In 2010, researchers at Columbia University reviewed the research into DBT for BPD and concluded that it is “highly efficacious”. This is particularly remarkable, considering the fact that people with BPD generally have problems in therapy and can take longer to see improvements.

These examples show that by combining elements of different therapies and tailoring them to the needs of a particular client or problem, we can often achieve better outcomes than sticking to one methodology alone.

The House Partnership, 17th April 2012