It seems that now,
at the turn of the century, a third phase is beginning. On the one
hand we could say that the integrationist movement has never been
as successful as it is today. Approximately half of all psychotherapists,
all over the world, define themselves eclectic or integrative, and
their number is growing, as is the number of schools that label themselves
in the same way. On the other hand the term "integrative", diffuse,
ill-defined and inflated, has come to occupy nearly the same semantic
area, and to be seen almost with the same suspicion, as the term
"eclectic". Anybody can come up with a brand-new "integrative model",
especially those who have difficulties in integrating themselves in
any of the hundreds of existing schools, argue the anti-integrationists.
Is an integrative therapist an open-minded one who has gone beyond
sectarianism and parochialism, or an omnipotent one who cannot submit
to the rules and the limits of any given school? There may be some
truth in both answers.
What does it mean
to be an integrative psychotherapist today? But before confronting
that question: what does it mean to be a psychotherapist at all? Is
psychotherapy a "robust phenomenon", or just a conventional container
for a host of heterogeneous and incompatible practices? Some refuse
such questions as too "philosophical". Philosophy will give us no
answers, they maintain: empirical research is all we need now. But
is the definition of our field still so poor because too much, or
too little philosophical work has been done so far? The fate of psychotherapeutic
integration depends on the answer we can give to the above question
(is psychotherapy a robust phenomenon or a conventional container):
whether it will evolve from an area of interest (second phase) to
a scientific discipline (third phase), or it will fade away and finally
disappear, leaving the field to circumscribed orientations and to
research in manualized treatments. The minimum requirement for a discipline
to be scientific is that the object of study exists: there can be
no science of a conventional container. The outcome is open, as there
are signs pointing in both directions.
of a world in which every DSM-disorder will have to be treated with
a corresponding Empirically Validated Psychological Intervention may
be so alarming to some (as it may be attractive to others), to stimulate
the greatest efforts to avoid it. A small but meaningful contribution
in this direction may be a web area of documents, in which the relevant
issues of the present phase of psychotherapeutic integration are discussed.
We shall post three categories of documents:
1. Permanent articles (papers
by distinguished Authors of the integrative field).
2. Temporary articles (papers that can be posted only for a limited
time before their publication on the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration).
3. Reports of discussions on the SEPI mailing list.