There’s a common misconception out there that making yourself feel better is as simple as finding a fix. If you break your arm, all you have to do is put a cast on it and wait for it to heal. And if someone breaks your heart, all you have to do is buy a pint of ice cream and put on a sappy movie. But this idea falls flat when it comes to addressing issues of your mental and emotional health.

The truth is, when you’re anxious, it’s not as simple as figuring out the one thing that is making you worry. And when you’re depressed you can’t just pinpoint a single explanation for your change in mood or loss of interest.

Unfortunately, when you fall into the trap of believing that every issue you face is easily fixable, you can start to feel like something is wrong with you when you don’t quickly bounce back from a setback. The message that intervening at the crisis level is the only way to feel better goes against the fact that your physical and mental health are interconnected.

Not only does living with a singular mindset ignore the fact that your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors impact each other, it keeps you from achieving a true sense of healing that encompassesevery aspect of your well-being. In fact, you can start to doubt that you’re ever going to feel like you’ve completely overcome your problems.

Perhaps for you the struggle looks like this…

You and your best friend are out for your usual Saturday morning hike. You’re catching up from the week before and talking about everything from work to dating. After a while, you notice your friend has fallen silent and you aren’t sure why she’s disengaged from the conversation, but as you round the bend toward your most favorite view, you realize you’ve been venting. Again. About the same thing you’ve been complaining about for the last several months.

When you apologize for talking about the same thing for what seems like forever, your friend says that she thought you were getting more clarity around the situation and finding a path. And it hits you that you’ve been trying a few different things that were supposed to help you see results. But none of them has made much of a difference.

The truth is, when you keep going after the cure-alls and the quick fixes, you’re never able to get to the root cause of what’s really impacting you. Sure, you might see initial changes and parts of your problem might get a bit better. But to bring about lasting change, you need to address all areas of the issue simultaneously so that you can truly say you’ve dealt with the entirety of whatever is causing you grief.

And another thing to mention is that what works for one person does not necessarily work for all. Just because a girlfriend feels better after a quick trip to the spa does not mean that an afternoon of pampering is going to help you finally move past your emotional concerns.

It can be really tempting to try to heal the symptoms of your challenge, instead of trying to get to the root cause. Especially when you’re afraid of how much work or how painful it might be to face your challenges head-on. However, there is something that can help you look at the complete picture of your mental and emotional health without feeling like it’s impossible to achieve true healing.

When you fully understand Integrative Counseling and its positive impact on your life, you can start to see improvements in your mood, beliefs, and actions and feel confident that these changes are going to last.

What Exactly is Integrative Counseling?

Integrative Counseling, or Integrative Therapy, is an approach to mental health treatment that believes every aspect of your life is connected and that true change comes when you treat the problem as a whole rather than compartmentalize it into pieces.

An Integrative Therapist is dedicated to helping you gain a deep understanding of how every aspect of your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are interrelated. This approach to therapy shows you that when you experience improvement in one area of life, other areas will improve as well.  Also, when things do get out-of-balance, Integrative Therapy helps you develop quicker awareness of yourself, so you can change course and improve.

The biggest takeaway of working with an integrative therapist is that you will be partnering with a clinician who is skilled in different approaches and makes an effort to meet you exactly where you are. Here at Connecticut Integrative Counseling, I make it a point to collaborate with you to know which therapeutic approaches would work best for your unique situation. I do this by looking at your personality, spiritual beliefs, inspirational ideas, motivational levels, preferences, physical abilities, and goals.

How Does Integrative Counseling Work?

Integrative Therapy utilizes the best aspects of multiple therapeutic approaches and combines them to ensure you are getting the intervention that is best suited for your needs at that time. What’s more, practicing Integrative Counseling requires therapists to be highly trained in multiple areas rather than being an expert in only one. This means that an integrative counselor can truly identify the ways in which therapy will help you best.

Here at CIC, I use many different approaches including Humanistic Therapy, EMDR, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Career, Family Systems, Polyvagal, and Mindfulness. I hold separate graduate degrees in counseling, family and couples therapy, and in industrial organizational psychology which means that I can look at your whole system: career, personal life, and relationships to help you figure out which aspects of your life are affecting your entire well-being.

Another great benefit of Integrative Therapy is that it looks at every aspect of your health, not just your emotional and mental concerns. For instance, at CIC, I may refer you to a naturopath or Integrative or Functional MD. Sometimes there are physical reasons why someone may be experiencing anxiety or depression. These could be inflammation, thyroid dysfunction, imbalanced adrenals, vitamin or mineral deficiency, microbiome disruption, toxins/metals present and blood sugar regulation problems.

Who is Integrative Counseling For?

Integrative Counseling is best for someone who has a more holistic outlook on life. If you are more natural minded and want to explore the reasons behind your challenges rather than just mask the symptoms, you will greatly benefit from an integrative approach.

This type of therapy also works really well for those who feel stuck and want to gain more insight into how the different areas of their life are affecting them. If you are open about what might be helpful and willing to try different things, Integrative Therapy might be a good fit for you.

To take part in this therapeutic model, you need to be motivated for change and take responsibility for your own growth and healing.

Who Isn’t a Good Fit?

However, if you’re someone who feels more comfortable with where your life is, Integrative Counseling might not be for you. Change can be scary. And Integrative Therapy brings about change for your entire lifestyle. So, if you’re not motivated to make changes at this level, Integrative Counseling might not be best for you at this time.

It’s also really tempting to blame other people or circumstances for what is going on in your life. This can be a coping mechanism that works really well to keep you safe and avoid pain. However, Integrative Therapy is more about taking responsibility for the ways you can change your own life. So if you’re not in a position to do so, this might not be the right therapy for you.

Lastly, you might still be a fan of finding a single solution for a single problem. If you only want to use therapy to explore one area of your life or one problem you are going through, Integrative Counseling is not the best fit.

What Can You Expect from Using Integrative Counseling in Your Life?

When you schedule an Integrative Counseling session you will start to recognize your place in the larger system of your life. You will see how any action you take impacts each area of your life and that the decisions you make are not isolated events, but rather pieces of the puzzle as a whole.

As you recognize the relationship among all different aspects of your life, you will quickly start to notice when one area feels out of whack. In fact, the goal of Integrative Therapy is to help you ensure that all elements of yourself align and that you learn how to stay in touch with your inner-self.

This includes becoming more resilient when people, things, or circumstances want to draw you out of alignment and having more compassion for yourself when they inevitably do. An Integrative Therapy approach is not about being perfect, but rather learning to cultivate more harmony in your life and to know what to do when you’re feeling out of balance.

Ultimately, engaging in Integrative Counseling will help you navigate difficult situations in the future.  You’ll learn to make better decisions because you will have more of an understanding of how all of the pieces of your life affect one another.

If you are someone who is interested in more holistic counseling and is ready to dive deep into yourself, it would be wise to learn more about Integrative Therapy and how it can help. Going forward, you can learn more about the different therapeutic approaches that clinicians use as well as what kind of training they are required to have here.  Here is the list of the credentials I have:

Although you want to start feeling better and to stop boring or annoying your friends with your problems, true change doesn’t happen when you put a band-aid on your symptoms. Instead, you have the potential to really get to know yourself on an intimate level. Sure, it takes courage to muster up the guts and face the really ugly parts, but once you do, you’ll know so much more about who you are and who you want to be.

Alignment and balance are possible.  You can achieve lasting change. Please call me or schedule a phone consultation to learn more about Integrative Counseling and to see if we are a good fit.