Although traditionally psychologists, including clinicians, have attributed to certain theoretical models (such as behavioral, psychodynamic, phenomenological or humanistic), there is a growing tendency to integrate different approaches. However, this type of movement dates back to at least the mid-twentieth century.
In this article, we will describe the characteristics of the main integrative models in psychotherapy, As well as the types of integration that exist. Among the developments we will discuss are the interpersonal therapy of Klerman and Weissman or the transtheoretical model of change of Prochaska and Diclemente.
Integrative models in psychotherapy
In 1950, John Dollard and Neal Miller, two researchers at Yale University, published “Personality and Psychotherapy: An Analysis in Terms of Learning, Thinking and Culture”. in reformulate the key concepts of psychoanalysis in behavioral terms; this was one of the first milestones in the history of integration in psychotherapy.
At that time, there were several psychological models in vogue; psychoanalysis and learning theory were the most influential, but other directions also weighed in and new ones began to flourish, such as cognitivism. This context encouraged the mixture of very varied proposals, sometimes opposed to each other.
Another relevant aspect in the development of integrative models is research built around the effectiveness of psychotherapy and its components and approaches. The results suggest that different forms of intervention may be useful depending on the particular case and that much of the success of psychotherapy has been attributed to common factors.
Over the following decades, the integration movement continued to develop in very different ways. In this sense, we must distinguish three main types of integration in psychotherapy, which reveal different approaches towards a common objective: the increase in the explanatory capacity of models and the effectiveness of treatments.
What types of integration are there?
There are three big ones types of psychotherapeutic integration: theoretical, technical and common factors approach, Which focuses on the aspects underlying the effectiveness of therapy regardless of its orientation. This division is very general and does not represent the complexity of the integrative movement, but gives an idea of its basic tendencies.
1. Theoretical integration
Theoretical integration consists of combining approaches from different psychological orientations. In some cases, the same weight is given to complementary approaches, such as behaviorism and cognitivism, while in others, one theory is used as a basis and the concepts of others are introduced into it; constructivism is particularly useful in this regard.
2. Technical eclecticism
Technical type integration is commonly referred to as “technical eclecticism”. This approach focuses on increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy by combining the most useful contributions from different orientations for specific problems. Thus, it is easier to apply than theoretical integration, even if it risks not being systematic.
3. Focus on common factors
This approach to integration is probably the oldest of the three; its origins date back to the decades between 1930 and 1960, when the contributions of Rosenzweig, Alexander and French or Carl Rogers appeared. We now know that 30% of the effectiveness of therapies is due to common factors and only 15% to the chosen techniques.
Integrative therapies and psychological theories
While there are many psychotherapeutic approaches that can be encompassed within the integrative paradigm, we will only focus on some of the more significant examples. Other relevant models include Wachtel’s cyclical dynamic psychotherapy, Neimeyer and Feixas’ theoretical integrationism, or Mardi Horowitz’s proposition.
1. Rogers Person-Centered Therapy
Carl Rogers, a pioneer of humanistic psychotherapy, developed his person-centered model from his research on the therapeutic process. From these he concluded that effectiveness depends mainly on the authentic attitude of the therapist, In addition to unconditionally accepting the client and being able to empathize with him.
2. Interpersonal therapy Klerman and Weissman
Gerald Klerman and Myrna Weissman developed their interpersonal therapy in the 1970s as a method of treating major depression; currently, it is also applied in cases of bulimia or in family therapy. This type of intervention part of psychodynamic theory and cognitive behavioral therapy and includes techniques of different models.
3. Lazarus Multimodal Therapy
Richard Lazarus is best known for his contributions to stress management. Its multimodal therapy offers the use of a wide variety of techniques depending on the specific problems and personality of the client; this includes interventions such as behavior modification, cognitive restructuring, biofeedback, and drug therapy.
4. Prochaska and Diclemente transhasoric model of change
This theoretical and practical model it is applied in the treatment of addictions. It defines change in six stages (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and completion), two types of process (cognitive-experiential and behavioral) and five levels (symptomatic, cognitive, interpersonal, systemic and intrapersonal).