I define Integral Psychology as an organized bio-psycho-social-spiritual lifespan-developmental theory of consciousness.
An Integral psychotherapy which does justice to the depth and breadth of Ken Wilber's Integral theory is elegantly unified, working deeply as well as broadly, supporting the most fulfilling path possible through the vicissitudes and rewards in life.
"Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Normally trained therapist's answer:
"What's happening that makes you ask that?"
Integral therapist's answer:
"Yes, indeed. Feel into that."
Integrally, both responses have their uses.
When you think of psychology from an Integral perspective, your world opens up to a vast sea of consciousness which has a body and mind called you, where empathy is your prime way of knowing and relating, where integrity is your boat in the ocean because it makes you happy and creative and somewhat in control. You know that you are not only a brain and body, but they are your best friend, your child, your manifestation. You've been through the mill at every age and hopefully learned the lessons, especially the one about humility in the face of constant mystery--and yet you know that you know some things as well. You feel improved by the truths you see in constructive criticisms. You define "pathology" as imbalance, and healing as seamlessly meshed with further growing. You don't let materialist brain science irrationally claim there is no more to psychology than neuroscience, even if damaged brain parts obviously close down corresponding psychological functions. The brain may be the vehicle of the mind, rather than the cause of it. Since we don't know what gravity is, or any force, movement, energy, we don't know about energy healing's limits and possibilities, only that if we a-priori reject it, we prevent it. This is the first time in the known history of homo-supposedly-sapiens, that we can use logic and research to study this delicate, ethereal capacity, the moral uses of it, and ways to develop it—parapsychological capacities, that is.
If you are an Integral psychologist (social worker, counselor, mentor, coach, theorist, researcher), you'll know that all psychological theories have an important contribution to make. Clinically, you'll get serious training in one therapy method and start with that, then put yourself through the cognitive dissonance of learning another model, then another. You'll help with the huge task of integrating all the details of all the models. Wilber's given us a great start. You'll trust that you have good knowledge, and you'll come to know that each theory doesn't explain everything about human nature. After you have enough experience to feel competent, you'll listen to critics' criticisms of your model and learn another which tends to fill in the gaps. Most important, you'll enter at least one deep therapy for yourself, to know what you're putting another through, to not project your own stuff (shadow) on to your client, and to heal your own wounds. To think that you don't have shadow is one of the most dangerous shadows to have, especially for a clinician.
While Integral theory is in many ways a structural/developmental theory, it does contain some process information. But the major tool of psychological healing and growth work is the moment by moment process within the therapy session. Behavioral techniques and homework tasks are also great--an Upper Right quadrant healing modality (see Quadrants page). Just providing good listening and not attempting to catalyze change is an excellent basic form of therapy, but change and process are the most meaningful, fun, growthful subjects for any caring practitioner.
Joanne L. Rubin, Ph.D.
NY State Licensed Psychologist
Offices in Hartsdale, Yorktown Heights, and Carmel, NY
Teleconference work world wide
Phone: (914) 310-5447
Ken Wilber & Joanne Rubin
Book signing for Wilber's book
Tibet House, NY 2006