An Integrated Approach to Practice A Practical Resource

What is an Integrated Approach to Practice?  Here is a little bit of history about this resource.  As it's story is part of the process of what this Relationship Health site is all about.

It seems a long time ago now however I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology in Bristol in 1985 and then joined Clinical Psychology training in 1992 having spent some years in varied roles including a year in New York at the Quaker United Nations Office and then some time living on a barge in Paris and then some further years as a primary teacher in Birmingham.   

The Clinical Psychology course I joined in Birmingham had been through some major rethinking and had made a recent shift away from being very dominated by training in behavioural approaches.  The tutors were committed to us being introduced to a wide range of psychological theories and approaches. 

It was tremendously stimulating except for one key detail.  I left the course unclear about what I had been trained to do as my fellow students had all ended up practising in very different ways... The sheer variability of what was being offered by psychologists at the time seemed to through in doubt the stated commitment to evidence based practice.

What I then saw in my first roles as a newly qualified practitioner was many families moving between practitioners who were supporting very different ways of seeing the world.   

So when supporting a child with social emotional challenges such as autism for example, there was an immediate question:    was the primary goal to manage behaviour and teach skills or was the primary goal to build relationships - and how exactly should this be done?  Both seemed important and yet practices seemed SO different.  The term integrationist that started to be used at the time seemed to be a short hand for a bit of a mush.

As I had been a teacher I got interested in the question of what it was that was missing in the way I had been taught. The truth was I did not feel confident and this was difficult given that I had now acquired the role of being seen as an expert. 

I wrote in my diary at the time - "I would like to feel confident that I know what I am doing" - I had also become a parent and the challenge of being a parent and a child psychologist who was highly trained but not confident was acutely uncomfortable.   What I was looking for was not tips and tricks (I had been given plenty of those).   What I wanted was something more solid on which to build that could help make sense of the interconnections between the fascinating work I found in many such varied traditions.

Early on, I came to one key conclusion which was that the varied researchers and practitioners were all fundamentally talking about the same things but from slightly different angles.  In some ways this was self evident as we were all students of the human condition.   So what was needed it seemed to me was some sort of Esperanto - a language that could help draw ideas together so that we could at least agreed on some shared starting points.

The first result of all that puzzling was a resource first published in 1995 with the support of my department in Northern Birmingham.  It was called An Integrated Approach to Practice:  A Practical Framework and Curriculum to Support Training in Mental Health and Applied Psychology.   

Then life happened.  I had another baby and moved house and then I moved country and the Integrated Approach to Practice took its place on a shelf and then in boxes and was moved around several times.  In 2005 I found it again and thought it looked rather interesting but it wasn't long before it was back in another box while other aspects of life happened.  

So I was amused, and a little embarrassed to find it again last year in 2019.  It still seems useful and I can see how the I Matter Framework has emerged from all of those years of puzzling.   Now I am offering it to anyone who is interested to demonstrate that the I Matter Framework has a sound and deep evidence base.  

If you would like to order a copy - you can do so here


It will be of interest to anyone who is looking for a systematic way of organising their own study of psychology as a took to think about a broad and balanced curriculum

Your Role and Your Understanding
and Skills are Key for Your
Child's Healthy Development.


The Five Steps To Success with Anxious or Challenging Children!  

Dr. Cathy Betoin - Relationship Health Matters

Dr Cathy Betoin
Clinical Psychologist, Teacher, Parent

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