The early days of family therapy theory and practice was ‘dominated by a charismatic set of brilliant therapists who ranged widely in how they conceptualized family process and what they did in therapy.’ In turn practitioners were invited to become devotees of one ‘school’ and to defend and practice exclusively within it.
A very different perspective has now emerged with the increasing understanding and promotion of integrative models. Lebow (2019) identifies three strands of integrative practice, ‘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’, ‘the creation of algorithms at the levels of strategy and intervention for various specific problems and presenting situations’ and finally ‘transcendent common factors that are present in all therapies’. The authors identify eight key strengths of such approaches including the capacity to draw from a wide theoretical base providing more complex and sophisticated explanations and the capacity for greater flexibility in treating any presenting issue. The author sounds a note of warning of the potential loss of a systemic vision and systemic methods in practice.
The Bower Place Method with its model that draws on a range of theories to explain the generation of human difficulties and their resolution and BowerNote which provides protocols and processes to explore and implement the model is an example of an integrative model. Now the imperative is to generate further research demonstrating that this approach positively impacts the lives of individuals, couples and families who seek our help.
Lebow,J. (2019) Current Issues in the Practice of Integrative Couple and Family Therapy Family Process Vol.58: 610-628