Integrative Psychotherapy, Integrative Medicine, Integrative Spirituality, Integrative Wellness.
We have entered the age of integrative. I "went integrative" in 1980, during the year I was taking care of my first daughter, Ruthie, who was slowly slipping away from me due to infantile muscular dystrophy. I quickly developed an ulcer. You can imagine why. All the doctor could offer me was medication that did not agree with me very well. On my own, I found a yoga class at our local library. Yoga was still considered a little "out there" in Hicksville, NY back then, but I was determined to maintain my health so I could be as present as possible for my daughter and the challenges ahead. I bought the teacher's audio cassette and did the 30 minute yoga routine every day. It ended in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Within three weeks my ulcer was gone. It was my first exposure to the power of Mind, Body, Spirit healing. I went on to learn more after Ruthie's death. Later my psychotherapy practice specialized in an integrative approach to healing.
Of course, you’ve know all along: your knee bone is connected to your head bone, is connected to your heart bone, is connected to your work bone, is connected to your anxiety bone, is connected to your spirit bone…
After years of dissecting us, some healthcare professionals are finally realizing it too. They have given this common sense approach a fancy name: integrative. It is a multidisciplinary holistic approach to wellbeing offering a variety of methods to help people thrive.
In this blog I will share observations, challenges, questions, delights, expertise and curiosities from my 20+ years as an Integrative Psychotherapist. Have you integrated your integratives yet? Mind, Body, Spirit?
What is Integrative Psychotherapy?
It is an approach that empowers clients by including all their multiple intelligences: emotional, physical, social analytical, creative, spiritual and intuitive. Practices that amplify happiness and positive psychology will be included rather than an exclusive focus on eradicating “dysfunction”. Integrative psychotherapists are willing to be pragmatic. They are open to explore and use what really works, and are interested in why it works. They are not dogmatically limited by a single theory or approach.
What is Integrative Medicine?
My husband, Dr. Kevin B. Mathews, is the medical consultant for this blog. He is a graduate fellow of the University of Arizona's Integrative Medicine Program (Dr. Andrew Weil). An integrative physician uses the best of allopathic medicine and also realizes that people thrive when a variety of complimentary healing options are considered: Lifestyle, psychological, social, and spiritual issues are considered.
What is Integrative Spirituality?
It is an approach that views every aspect of life as a vehicle to experience and grow in Spirit: bodily health, mind, art, music, nature, relationships, work, community, etc. It is a practical approach grounded in common sense, the concerns of everyday life, and the ancient wisdom of worldwide mystics. An integrative spirituality encourages daily practices that increase our natural receptivity to Presence and the promptings of intuition that help us develop wholehearted wellbeing.
Separating these “integratives” is unnecessary and “un-integrative”!
The very same do-it-yourself suggestions I’ll be adding to this blog will benefit you in all three areas at the same time.
The major arenas for integrative action are always:
- Kinesthetic / Body Intelligence and wellbeing
- Social/Interpersonal Intelligence and wellbeing
- Emotional Intelligence and wellbeing
- Analytical Intelligence learning challenges
- Creative Intelligence and Expression
- Intuitive / Spiritual Intelligence and development
Sign up for ongoing blog posts with cutting edge information for wholehearted living in each of these areas. I’ll do my best to keep the posts short and sweet . You can expect no more than one blog post per week. Why? I try to practice what I preach. We all suffer from “information overload”. Information alone won’t enliven your life. Wholehearted actions will.
Will you take the first step toward wholehearted integration with me? Can you identify which of the areas of integrative intelligence listed above is your strongest? Which is a source of trouble for you? Which have you been neglecting developing altogether? Any surprises? As always, self-awareness is the first step.
Your mind bone is connected to your body bone, your body bone is connected to your spirit bone, your spirit bone is connected to your mind bone.....
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