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"Preliminary Evidence for the Effectiveness of Integrally Informed Psychotherapy"

Last post 06-07-2021, 12:22 PM by Integralmind. 2 replies.
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  •  05-03-2021, 4:36 PM 22241

    "Preliminary Evidence for the Effectiveness of Integrally Informed Psychotherapy"

    By Joachim Sehrbrock
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  •  06-01-2021, 2:30 PM 23755 in reply to 22241

    Re: "Preliminary Evidence for the Effectiveness of Integrally Informed Psychotherapy"

    Hello there:
    Well, I'll try to get the ball rolling on this topic and paper.
    First off, helpful paper! 
    What I would like to discuss is relevant to a major concern of this paper -- coming to grips with the relationship between integral and integrative approaches to psychotherapy.  The paper makes some useful contributions by pointing out that empirical evidence in support of integrative approaches lends support to integral psychotherapy because integral psychotherapy can be seen as also one type of integrative approach.  Furthermore, because of its comprehensiveness, integral psychotherapy might actually be a superior type of integrative approach.

    I use type intentionally here to distinguish from altitude.  Because I think by differentiaing integral as opposed to integrative via altitude we can see how AQAL can be used to enact a pattern that connects the four main streams of the integrative psychotherapy movement.  So, lets look at three altitudes to get a sense of the geneology at work here; simultaneously, let's use a distinction of types as general orientations towards right-hand path (external or "empirical") or left-hand path (internal or "interpretive").

    So, looking at altitude first,  we have the era of  the "single-system approach", broadly speaking the birth of modern psychotherapy at orange altitude via  the big three of psychoanalysis, humanistic and behaviorism (1-2-3?  sort of works here, doesn't it, at a very high level of abstraction?)

    Then, we have the era of the integrative approaches, which Beutler and Norcross note really kicked in to gear in the 1970's and later: corresponding to the broader green altitude movement of pluralism; the integrative movement has consisted of four main streams (perhaps lines?), two of which are right-hand and two of which are left-hand.  The left-hand path integrative approaches are theoretical integration and assimilative integration; the right-hand path integrative approaches are technical eclecticism and common factors.  We might be able to further distinguish these four whether they tend towards the upper or lower quadrants: e.g. common factors focuses on what is collective across approaches; technical eclectism generally pulls from a variety of different approaches to fashion a unique approach (e.g. multimodal)...but this latter distinction could be stretching it...

    At teal-turqoise, we can enact this view of a pattern that connects the pluralistically-minded integrative / eclectic movement -- and thus, in a sense, integrate the integrative approaches...

    This would be helpful to see diagrammatically, but I'm not sure I have the computer skills to diagram this so well...perhaps three quadrant diagrams, one for orange, one for green, one for teal-turqoise...

    I am very interested in any and all feedback on this...

    [email protected]

    Durwin Foster, M.A.
    Doctoral Student, Counselling Psychology Program
    University of British Columbia
    Vancouver, Canada
    [email protected]
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  •  06-07-2021, 12:22 PM 24149 in reply to 23755

    • Integralmind is not online. Last active: 02-15-2021, 1:44 PM Integralmind
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    Re: "Preliminary Evidence for the Effectiveness of Integrally Informed Psychotherapy"


    First of all, thank you again for your interesting thoughts about the paper. Here are some of my thoughts in response:

    I very much appreciate the fine distinctions you are making about integrative and integral psychology. I do believe that the integral lens is broader than that of the integrative movement. While I am a bit skeptical about the use of altitude in describing their relationship as a whole (it may be more complex than that), I agree with your left- and right-hand distinction and believe that certain concepts/fragments of the integrative movement could be understood through an altitudinal perspective. For example, I understand the major difference between integration and eclecticism to be that the latter is not characterized by any kind of formal-operational conception, whereas the former is. In other words, the application of an eclectic approach to therapy is characterized by simply choosing whatever therapeutic modality seems applicable at any given time, whereas an integrative approach may inform the choice of treatment intervention by an abstract (form-op) and/or theoretical understanding of the clinical situation. It is my understanding that eclecticism has frequently been criticized for encouraging a somewhat indiscriminate course of action.

    I would be very curious to hear what your might think in response. I am especially interested in hearing how you would characterize the altitudinal labels for the distinction between integration and eclecticism.

    In the following I have pasted a response I wrote to yours and another email I received about the paper, pointing out that using integrative research for evidence of integral may be questionable. It was further mentioned that proving the effectiveness of integral may require its own studies and specific methodological considerations.

    I want to emphasize again that I think there is a big difference between integral and integrative. In my paper I was careful not to equate the two and claim that due to their overall similarities research from the integrative movement could be used for integral; far from that. I simply meant to point out that based on some trends/fragments/models/concepts in the integrative movement (e.g., interdisciplinary treatment, emphasis on the “treatment of the therapist”) that are similar to trends in the development of an integral psychotherapy approach, it appears that the latter may be on the right path to becoming an effective treatment modality.

    I absolutely agree, we have to come up with our own research to approach the question of effectiveness of integrally informed psychotherapy (IIP). Furthermore, I agree that in order to get some meaningful data about IIP’s effectiveness, special attention has to be paid to methodology and research design. A simple quantitative outcome study would of course not do justice to the approach, as this would simply focus on the right-hand side of it all. Therefore, I think a mixed-method design (quan and qual) is the bare minimum. As Ken pointed out before, there are at least four types of effectiveness (going beyond the mere right and left-hand paths here). Each has to be “measured” with its respective methodology. I would be very interested in collaborating with people interested in this kind of research.

    However, I doubt that IIP is ready for an effectiveness or outcome study of any kind. I believe we need to spend more time really digesting and integrating the theory into practice. One thing that I found in my research on integrally-informed treatment planning (talking to 8 fabulous integral and 8 non-integral clinicians) is that those claiming to be integral (excluding the instructors at the IP seminars of course) still struggle with what it really means to apply the integral model in psychotherapy. The gap between theory and practice still seems fairly wide. Secondly, the pool of integrally informed clinicians is too small in my opinion. I had trouble getting together 8 integral practitioners despite recruitment among all IP seminar alumni. My research results are written up and are with my committee at the moment. I hope to be able to send something out by late July.

    Thanks again,

    Joachim Sehrbrock
    [email protected]

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