Integrative counseling takes different theoretical models, blends them together and makes them work together. These models then integrate together.
An example would be perhaps Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and integrating with Emotionally Focused Therapy, so both types of therapy are working together theoretically and practically.
This is a very complex process to integrate therapies. Practically some therapists just using and adapt interventions in the moment with the therapist using their good judgment in a way that works in the best way possible for the client that they’re seeing. The results matter, and if the results are good for you as a client, and you’re getting the issues you’re seeking to address resolved, in the client’s world this is great. Integrative therapies, can be a wonderful approach. Lots of therapists are operationally integrating different theoretical models of counselling but from an academic framework integrating models of therapy is very complex.
There are three basic kinds of integration. Theoretical integration is when the theories and the models are thoughtfully integrated so there is logical theoretical consistency between the models. Assimilative integration is when on model integrates parts of another model and are grafted into to the primary working model. Eclectic integration is very common among working therapists and tends to be the most discouraged. This is because eclectic integration is when a therapist takes working interventions from different models and adapts them in the moment in session. There may or may not be a thought-out logic or consistency to the inherit assumptions of the models. The more a therapist understands the working theoretical models that are the bases of their work the more consistent the interventions can be and the less random therapy can appear.