January 19th is World religion Day ‘a celebration of the oneness of religion and it’s role in human society’. Originally initiated in the United States in 1950 by the Baháʼí faith it has now become an international celebration which ‘emphasizes the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying the world’s religions are harmonious, and that religions play a significant role in unifying humanity’.
The principles of unification and seeking rapprochement between disparate and potentially conflicting ideas is a trend that we are also seeing in the field of family and systemic therapy. The term integrative therapy, appeared in the early 1970’s when the field was dominated by charismatic practitioners, each promoting their own unique approach to therapy. These early attempts looked at ways to combine concepts and intervention strategies from a range of schools. However it has not been easy to define this term, a task taken on by Lebow (2019) who suggests there are three threads of integrative practice. These are the ‘generation of a super-ordinate theory and approach that combines aspects of the theoretical base and intervention methods of each of the constituent approaches’, a second that ‘sees theory as less important but aims at creating algorithms at the levels of strategy and intervention for various specific problems and presenting situations’ and a third which ‘focuses on the transcendent common factors that are present in all therapies such as therapeutic alliance, aiming primarily to promote and enhance the presence of these factors in therapy’. The paper identifies both the strengths and risks of integrative practice with the author concluding that ‘movement toward integrative methods of practice that include elements from the earlier models clearly appears to represent the future of couple and family therapy.
Perhaps this is part of a wider trend that will see the best ideas coming together in many fields to the benefit of all.
Lebow, J. Current Issues in the Practice of Integrative Couple and Family Therapy Family Process 58:610628, 2019
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