The Principles of Integrative Psychotherapy

by Richard Erskine –

1. All people are born equally valuable.
2. All human experience is organized physiologically, affectively and/or cognitively.
3. All human behaviour has meaning in some context.
4. Internal and external contact is essential to human functioning.
5. All people are relationship-seeking and interdependent throughout life.
6. Humans have an innate thrust to grow.
7. Humans suffer from relational disruptions, not psychopathology.
8. The intersubjective process of the psychotherapy is more important than the content.

On Psychotherapy…

Aniela Jaffe, From the Life & Work of C.G. Jung :

Jung’s basic attitude to everything that happened was he preferred to let things develop in their own way. “Don’t interfere!” was one of his guiding axioms, which he observed so long as a waiting-and-watching attitude could be adopted without danger. Situations in which interference was obviously required were decided exceptions.

This attitude of Jung’s was the very reverse of indolence; it sprang from a curiosity about life and events that is characteristic of the researcher. They happened and he let them happen, not turning his back on them but following their development with keen attention, waiting expectantly to see what would result. Jung never ruled out the possibility that life knew better than the correcting mind, and his attention was directed not so much to the things themselves as to that unknowable agent which organizes the event beyond the will and knowledge of man. His aim was to understand the hidden intentions of the organizer, and, to penetrate its secrets, no happening was too trivial and no moment too short lived.

Respect for life also characterized Jung’s analytical work. Worried or depressed patients hoped in vain for exhortation or comfort. Jung gave them something else: he wanted to get them to integrate the necessary suffering into their lives, to accept and bear it as part of their wholeness – for without darkness and sorrow there is no life. To soothe it away or exclude it would rob them of a vital experience, while the core of the depression would remain and soon enough provoke new suffering.

Jung’s attitude and his demand for wholeness were not always easy to fathom, nor was it a simple thing to follow the way he pointed out, the way of individuation and destiny. No wonder that now and then the unconscious lent a helping hand with its images.

Jung followed the downward movement of life if it was in keeping with the intrinsic truth of the moment. Yet he could experience joy whenever it came his way as few were able to, and wholeheartedly joined in the joy of others. Only when one got to know him better, over the years, did one discover that he – a true “Till Eulenspiegel!” – was never without the canker of secret care, for he knew the play of life’s pendulum, the inevitable compensation of “high” by “low.”

Have you “suffered a success?” he would ask at a suitable moment, half mocking, half amused. He saw where it would end. Suffering accepted can gradually change into strength, composure, serenity; joy that remains heedless can change all too quickly and all too often into sorrow and restlessness. Suffering is a challenge, enforcing self-transformation; joy is not, and it does so much more rarely.

*Till Eulenspiegel was a trickster figure originating in Middle Low German folklore.

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My most important articles on Psychotherapy

Chance, malchance, qui peut le dire?
MBTI (Jungian Psychotherapy, MBTI)
Berne’s Six Hungers (Transactional Analysis)
Lifetraps – seeing the world differently (Schema Therapy)
Belbin Team Roles
The five agreements of Don Ruiz
The Attributional Style of Depression (Positive Psychology)
What a Couple means (Psychodynamic Psychotherapy)
Character Strengths and Virtues (Positive Psychology)
Happy Life – Meaningful Life (Positive Psychology)
The SCARF model
Interview Questions
The Cathexis and the Feeling of Self (Transactional Analysis)
Your Tombstone (Existentialism, Transactional Analysis, Vision)
The Child who survived (Transactional Analysis)
Titanic (Existentialism, Imagery)
Carl Rogers (Person-Centered Psychotherapy)
Real Beauty Sketches
Reason, Season or Lifetime

On Borderline (Schema Therapy)
The Person (Rogersian Psychotherapy)
On Narcissism – Unloving & Unloved (Schema Therapy)
Attachment Styles – When Love is Traded (Attachment Theory)
Jón Gnarr
The Story of Master Mantis
The Jungian Functions (Jungian Psychotherapy, MBTI)
Get Results
Me and God (Attachment Theory)
Absolute Psychology
Gestalt Explained (Gestalt Psychotherapy)
Attitude (Existentialism, NLP, Transactional Analysis)
Balance (Tao Te Ching, Jungian Psychology)
Goal & Process: The Rock (Psychodynamic Psychotherapy)
Positive Intelligence – Shirzad Chamine
The Monomyth (Mythology, Hero’s Journey)
Sell this pen! (Transactional Analysis, NLP)
Good and Evil
Living in the World of Amnesia (Positive Intelligence)
Broken Windows
You lose! (Existentialism)
The Complex of Abandonment (Psychoanalysis)
Leave But Don’t Leave Me (Existentialism)
Your Previous Lifetime (Hypnosis)
The Judging Bias
The Mystery Questions (Transactional Analysis)
Character Strengths (Positive Psychology)
Your Time Is Limited…
Unlock & Reframe (Hypnosis, NLP, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy)
Archetypal Energies (Jungian Psychotherapy, MBTI)
Irrational Beliefs (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)
Defensive Mechanisms (Psychodynamic Psychotherapy)
Saboteurs (Positive Intelligence)

FreeWill? (Existentialism, Spirituality)
Psychotherapy of Confusion (Existentialism)
Ego Intensification (Spirituality)
Selfless (Spirituality)
Sam Harris
I suffer (Psychoanalysis, Sado-Masochism)
Positive Psychotherapy
Pleasure & Enjoyment (Positive Psychology)
Flow (Positive Psychology)
Jungian Attitudes
The Room (Existentialism)
You Listen
Helping you Fail (Transactional Analysis)
Your Existential Time (Existentialism)
Borderline Types (Schema Therapy)
Masochism – Setting Up To Fail
Change (Jérôme Murat)
Alan Watts
Dream Rangers
Sex Roles
The 4th Dimension
We Don’t Ask For Happiness
Esther Perel – Infidelity

Chaos & Meaning
If You’d Be Your Own Child
Dream Interpretation (Gestalt Psychotherapy)
José Mujica
Process-Focused Objectives
The Illusion of Control
Essence & Existence (Existentialism, Spirituality)
The End of Therapy (Reparenting, Confirmation)
Positive Disintegration
Don’t Try
Boredom & Inner Orientation
The Game of Domination
You Are Responsible! (Existentialism, Gestalt)
Your Shadow (Jungian Psychotherapy)
The Impostor Syndrome
The Cycle of Life and Love
Tunnel Vision (Complexes)
Roger Scruton (Beauty)
Healed? (Complexes)

Anxiety in Depressive Disguise (Psychodynamic Therapy)
Give Up (Existentialism)
The Primitive Mentality (Jungian Psychology)
Hans Rosling (Public Health, Statistics)
Faith or Atheism? (Existentialism)
Proactive vs. Reactive (Leadership)
Who You Are
Ko Un
Greed (DW)
Understanding Nietzsche
Eric Dodson
On Being Born (Jungian Psychology)

Life & Death
The Wall
Living In The Present
Inverted Mystical Experience
The Crunch
Be Kind
Finite and Infinite Games

Life is Not a Journey
Alternative Math
Break my back
Moments in time

The Price of Our Choices (Existentialism)
Love & Its Languages (5 Love Languages)
Cognitive Dissonance (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy)
Semicivilized (George Carlin)
Emotional Equations
This is your fault
Refusal of the Call (Hero’s Journey)

A Wise Man
Illusion of Choice
Jordan Peterson
Douglas Murray
North Korea
Bret Weinstein & Heather Heying
Our World
Best Lessons Learned
Relationship with Oneself
Mass Psychosis