How to Know If I Need an Integrative Coach

two people sitting face to face as if talking through problems
Modern life needs a modern approach. Understand and work out how integrative coaching / therapy is what you need for your self development

What is Integrative Coaching / Therapy?

It is a holistic approach used for clarifying, managing and when appropriate treating one’s problem area(s) while helping improve and unify overall Wellbeing to include emotional, mental, physical, behavioural, social and spiritual. It is provided by Integrative coaches / therapists who are able to pull together, select and combine different strategies and techniques they are qualified / trained / licensed in to create a bespoke plan suited to a client’s particular problem area(s).

When a problem area is formed and maintained by someone, though aspects of how this happens are similar between people, many aspects are not similar. This un-similarity means a bespoke, inclusive plan can be centred around the client.

In being different to ‘single school’ approaches, Integrative coaches / therapists don’t put a client’s problem(s) into one specific box. Instead they offerer multiple boxes that aim to treat the various aspects a problem carries. All together, the hope is to provide the most significant effects and affects for the client.

Image of hands of different sizes holding a cut out family to signify holistic approach to self development

What are the Benefits of Integrative Coaching / Therapy?

The purpose of combining different coaching / therapeutic orientations is firstly to improve efficacy (the ability to produce a desired result for the client) and secondly the efficiency (the ability to do it well, succeed and without waste of time or other resources of both client and coach / therapist) of the plan.

Being under the care of an integrative toach / therapist allows for a client’s problem(s) to be treated in a flexible and adaptive way. This means that as a client’s problem area begins to resolve they (both the client and problem) will often evolve and so require different ways to continue resolving until either a resolution or ongoing evolutionary management plan is established. This way of treating the client’s evolution invites them to be recognised and treated as a whole being and not just a part needing a treatment for a problem.

As long as the integrative coach / therapist the client chooses has the appropriate qualifications for resolution and or ongoing evolutionary planning, it also allows for the client and coaches / therapist’s professional relationship to be well maintained. This is important to many who feel uncomfortable re-explaining a problem area to multiple coaches / therapists. However this relationship is best supported on mutual trust and if either client or coach / therapist sense things aren’t working as expected, this should be discussed so adjustments can be made.

man celebrating by himself as he knows he is good enough

Other benefits that can be experienced are:

  • Learning to understand what causes one to feel challenged in life.
  • Recognises where self set limitations and triggers show up.
  • Feeling supported in setting goals and working out the how to move around limitations.
  • Feeling safe in trying out new senses of self and integrating many aspects and areas of life (emotional, mental, physical, behavioural, social, spiritual).
  • Encourage leading one’s life more openly, to be more available and less judgemental.

What are the Types of Integrative Coaching / Therapy?

There are nearly 500 types of coaching / therapy, each different by their approach, the clients they best serve and the frequency and duration of treatment. For client’s it can be hard enough choosing one type of coaching / therapy let alone one coach / therapist.

To be well informed as a client in finding the most appropriate coach / therapist for their problem area(s), I would advise:

  • How do I know they are the right for me? Reading what the coach / therapist works with (specifically and generally) and how they do so – can give enough information on the types of coaching / therapy they can provide you without you having to get lost in the labelling of your problem area(s). **Please note not all Integrated coaches / therapists carry actual certification.**
  • Can  I ‘try before I buy’?Experiencing the coach / therapist through an “introduction session” establishes if both are a good match. It will clarify expectations on both sides and help you work out if you feel comfortable with them.
  • How to know if they are interested in my self-development? They should listen to you and be able to understand what it is you are wanting their professional help with, they shouldn’t be telling you what to do or advising unless required to for safety reasons. Ultimately they should be there to help you work out if you want to move forward with them. There are those instinctual feelings you will have and so, while you have nothing to lose as such, ask all the questions to make sure you don’t get any unwanted surprises down the line.

Some commonly used therapeutic orientations:

  • Psychodynamic/analytical – helps one understand how past experiences inform one’s present by exploring their unconscious. For example free association.
  • Behavioural – describes a wide range of techniques used to eliminate unwanted behaviours that are linked to environment (including internal environment like feelings). For example CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy), NLP (neuro linguistic programming)
  • Humanistic – helps one achieve their full potential by focussing on internal resources, clarifying life goals and fulfilment and learning how to manage one’s limitations. For example Personal Development and Performance Coaching.
  • Mindfulness – involves learning to focus on the present moment in thoughts, feelings and experiencing the now rather than concerning oneself about the judging past and or worrying future.
  • There are many more! 

The holistic manner of Integrative coaching / therapy recognises there is no one superior method but more an alliance between them. Even those that are not aligned in their beliefs and theories can be put aside so as to be put together for the greater benefits for the client. Studies conducted show around 85% of therapists will use Integration in their treatment plans, with a median of 4 different therapeutic orientations being used. It can be extrapolated that Integration has shown to increase treatment success (and reduce relapses) in many cases where ‘single school’ approaches haven’t been successful.

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