The term Integral as developed by contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber, refers to that which is whole, comprehensive and balanced. In my Integrative Psychiatry practice, I integrate Western medical and psychological treatment with various complementary healing approaches that I have studied over the past 25 years. As such, I practice from the standpoint of physician, psychotherapist and practitioner of healing arts.
People present for treatment with a wide range of physical symptoms, such as problems with sleep, energy, concentration and tension. They present with psychological and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, sadness, guilt, anger, obsessive thought patterns, confusion, demoralization, despondence. The heart may be closed or filled with a pain that cannot be readily identified. Relationships suffer. The sense of vital, healthy self may be lost and there may be a general sense that life no longer has the same purpose and meaning that it once had.
Healing is the art and science of restoring wholeness, balance and meaning. It is bringing the dysfunctional and disconnected parts of a personís life, be it physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual, back into healthy relationship.
When one pays attention to the whole person, curiosity begins to grow as to what is needed for healing. Is it primarily a biological problem of regulation, treatable with medicine? Will it be the healing relationship itself, where a person is finally free to be open and honest with themselves and another? Is it in gaining insight and becoming aware of the underlying thoughts, belief systems, emotional conflicts and yearnings that have been unconsciously played out in life? Is it about finding oneís place in the larger web of life? Clearly it is a combination of many factors.
An Integrative approach uses as large a framework as possible to work with and integrate these various domains of life. As such, the treatment relationship becomes inclusive of a wide range of tools. These range from focused mindful listening, psychopharmacology and specific psychotherapies to healing approaches such as hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness meditation, the use of Eastern and Western Spiritual wisdom traditions and mind-body integration healings.