Integral Psychology: A Path to Wellness

· March 11, 2019
If you've never heard of integral psychology, but are interested in learning about a different approach to well-being and fulfillment, read this article!

Integral psychology is a field that focuses on how we become healthy individuals. It’s a model of awareness that seeks the achievement of well-being through growth and creativity. But different people need to do different things to get there because we’re all unique and shaped by our personal experiences.

The idea is that you can use integral psychology to reach a state of fulfillment by boosting your awareness and avoiding pain. Thus, it’s basically a way to get the best out of yourself and help you achieve well-being.

Life is not just about what you achieve, it’s about who you are and how you live.”

-Maggie Huffman-

Embracing multiple theories with integral psychology

There are multiple therapeutic models involved in integral psychology. The idea is to use the one that works best for a specific person. Each theory is equally important and you can combine them as you wish.

An illustration of the outline of two people painted in tie-dye colors showing them looking at each other face to face.

Integral psychology basically includes anything that could help your personal growth. The goal is to bring together several psychological theories and get the benefits from each and every one. It integrates spiritual practices outside of psychology that can be really helpful.

The main component of integral psychology is the individual. Everyone grows at a different rate and goes through different stages. That influences what practices they might use because people can’t always apply the same solutions in life.

Embracing multiple theories means recognizing that they’re all valid and that everyone is unique. This is why different practices can be helpful for different people in their quest for growth.

The origins of integral psychology

Some people believed that we needed a more unified theory of psychology. In other words, they wanted a branch that involved several different beliefs and spiritual practices. This is how the integral branch started, out of their desire for a broader model that could help people grow.

Its most well-known figure is Ken Wilberan American writer. He was the first to describe what integral psychology was and studied things such as psychotherapy and spirituality. He also argued against the branching off of psychology and promoted new ways of understanding the practice of mental health.

Wilber founded Integral Institute in 1998 and came up with integral theory. There are four quadrants to the theory:

  • Intentional: This is the individual part of people. It’s studied through disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, and spirituality.
  • Behavioral: This is about technical skills. Studying it involves knowledge from things such as physiology, neurology, and behavioral psychology, among other things.
  • Cultural: This has to do with the collective aspects of change. For example, myths, beliefs, history, and symbols.
  • Social: This has to do with things such as technology, politics, and social systems.

According to Wilber, all four quadrants are necessary for complete personal growth. You have to achieve a balance between all four if you want to reach true well-being. This helps you find your place in the world and develop an integral awareness of it.

Integral psychology still exists today. In fact, people practice it all over the world. For example, some people use it as a form of therapy, as a form of knowledge, in workshops, seminars, courses, support groups, in meditation, and for personal growth.

An image of four growing plant stalks symbolizing integral psychology.

The benefits of integral psychology

Practicing this discipline helps increase well-being because it addresses your quality of life. Here are some examples of the way it does that:

  • Personal growth: This practice immerses you in a process of constant transformation. You’ll get to know yourself better.
  • Boosting creativity: It can boost creativity because it asks you to come up with ideas to confront life’s problems. We’re all creative, and making it into a habit can help you find the right way to overcome issues.
  • Expanding consciousness: Integral psychology helps you connect with the deepest part of yourself. It also broadens your perspective.
  • Finding resources to be healthy: Boosting awareness and spiritual connection helps you learn important things about your well-being. It’s about seeing the positive parts in how you confront problems and trying to use them consistently.
  • Empathy: Your relationship with other people and yourself is also very important here. Integral psychology will help you develop your empathy.
A woman walking barefoot in the middle of a country road.

Conclusion

Thus, you can use this model to bring out the best parts of yourself. The emphasis is on growing in multiple areas at once. As you improve the way you interact with people, you also focus on confronting problems and making decisions using creativity.

Integral psychology is a therapeutic model that encourages knowledge. Creativity and openness are just two of the big tools you’ll use to reach fulfillment in your relationship with yourself, other people, and nature. Boosting your awareness will become your greatest ally.