What is comprehensive treatment?

Integrative therapy is a theoretical school in the field of psychology that has helped shape the methods used in practice by some psychologists, therapists, and other mental health professionals. It is also called integrative psychotherapy or psychotherapeutic integration.

Integrative therapy takes approaches that take a variety of other psychological approaches or talk therapy techniques and practices and use them in different ways. This approach is considered more flexible and inclusive than other approaches that tend to be limited to the rigid boundaries of their theoretical models.

This article will explain the concept of integrative therapy, the conditions of treatment, the process, the different types, etc.

Definition of Comprehensive Therapy

Integrative therapy is a psychological approach in which many different psychological approaches are accepted and used in talk therapy according to the needs of the patient or client.

Psychology has over 400 methods or variations of methods, each of which belongs to a group of methods. While some mental health professionals use only one set of approaches, others are more flexible and employ an integrative approach to treatment.

what it is and what it is not

Integrative therapy is sometimes confused with eclectic psychotherapy or eclectic therapy. However, the two methods are different. Eclectic psychotherapy combines different approaches to create a more individualized treatment plan for each patient or client.

Integrative therapy is not a combination of techniques, but one of four different approaches. These approaches include theoretical integration, technological eclecticism, assimilation integration, and common factor approaches. Mental health professionals who practice integrative therapy may work in one or more of these ways.

Comprehensive treatment approach

  • Theoretical integration: using one approach to consider and integrate different models
  • Technological Eclecticism: Careful selection of techniques from different schools of thought to solve complex cases
  • Assimilation: Using one method as the main method and extracting other parts from different methods
  • Common factor method: using the same parts from multiple methods

Conditions Treated with Integrative Therapy

Integrative therapy is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy. Like other forms of talk therapy, it can treat many different mental health conditions. It can also treat physical health problems, such as cancer-related pain. Even without a specific diagnosis or health condition, integrative treatment techniques can help improve relationships, experiences, and quality of life.

Integrative therapy can treat:

  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • autism
  • bereavement
  • cancer symptoms
  • frustrated
  • eating disorder
  • sad
  • hypertension
  • learning challenge
  • self-abasement
  • pain
  • PTSD or PTSD
  • relationship challenges
  • self-harm
  • sexual challenge
  • sleep challenge
  • pressure
  • trauma

Mental Health Hotline

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health or life challenges, please contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for support and information in your area Information on treatment facilities.

For more mental health resources, see our national helpline database.

Comprehensive treatment process

The specific course of comprehensive treatment depends on the mental health provider and how they work, the care setting, the situation, and the person receiving support and their individual needs.

For example, integrative therapy can be delivered in a hospital setting, medical office, rehabilitation center, or other specialized facility, or virtually through videoconferencing technology. Additionally, it can be given to individual clients or patients as part of marriage and family therapy, to intimate couples, children or families with parents, or to a group of people in group therapy.

Like other talk therapy methods, integrative therapy is talk-based. The process can begin with the patient or client meeting with a mental health professional (such as a psychiatrist or psychologist) and discussing recent events or challenges. From there, a variety of different techniques can be introduced to meet the needs of the person undergoing treatment.

The techniques used may come from different psychological approaches. For example, providers may use techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and introduce mindfulness.

Who does comprehensive treatment?

Mental health professionals practice comprehensive treatment. This may include psychologists and therapists. Other professionals, such as licensed professional counselors or licensed clinical social workers, may also perform integrative therapy. Integrative care providers may work in hospital systems, private health care settings, or specialized facilities. They can also provide services in other settings, such as schools or private organizations.

Types of Comprehensive Treatment

Due to the nature of integrative therapy and how it can be combined with other treatments, there are many different types. Each of these different types has a different function and is able to serve people in different ways depending on their situation and needs. Some examples include cognitive behavioral therapy, family systems therapy, Gestalt therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

Types of Comprehensive Treatment

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Combining cognitive and behavioral therapy, it focuses on the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how they affect a person and their lives.
  • Family Systems Therapy: Combines general systems theory, cybernetics, family development theory, object relations theory, and social learning theory to address family interactions and relationships.
  • Gestalt Therapy: Focus on self-awareness and what is going on in the moment, their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and understanding how these relate to their reality.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: Focuses on identifying the root causes of behavior, including unconscious thoughts, personalities, attitudes, and emotions.

Types of mental health treatment


Integrative therapy is a psychological approach that considers and uses a variety of other psychological approaches. This is done by combining multiple models, carefully selecting and combining specific techniques from different approaches, using one main approach and bringing in a small subset of other approaches, or using components that are shared between the different approaches realized.

Many physical and mental health conditions can be treated with integrative therapy, including anxiety, depression, grief, pain, sleep, stress, and trauma.

The process is similar to other talk therapy methods in that it centers the conversation, and then the provider uses a specific method based on their expertise and the needs of the patient or client. Integrative therapy is provided by mental health professionals such as psychologists and therapists. CBT, family systems therapy, gestalt therapy, and psychodynamic therapy are examples of integrative therapy.

VigorTip words

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges or experiencing challenging life situations, we can provide support. Integrative therapy may be able to provide you with the specific methods and techniques you need to overcome and cope with challenges. Talk to a health care provider, such as a primary care doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist, to determine next steps.

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