What is Integrative Psychiatry?

Integrative psychiatry is the practice of assessing and treating a person that incorporates all aspects of a person – mind, body and spirit. It is personalised care that is respectful of a person’s belief system and lived experience.

It can be viewed as a practice philosophy and group of treatment modalities that combines the best that conventional psychiatry and complementary approaches have to offer to help an individual achieve optimal wellness.


What is Integrative Psychiatry?

The following are the principles of integrative psychiatry:

  • The aim is optimal mental wellness, not just the absence of disease.
  • The person’s mind, body and environment are interconnected – you cannot treat a symptom without addressing the underlying cause.
  • Relationships have healing power on their own – the treatment plan takes into account the important role of the therapeutic relationship between you and the psychiatrist.
  • Everyone has an inherent power to heal – there is no need to “force” yourself get better. Instead, we identify the barriers and remove them so as to achieve optimal wellness.
  • Everyone has a personal responsibility for their health and wellness – the treatment process is a collaborative one with the psychiatrist.
  • The focus is on prevention.
  • Various treatment modalities are integrated.
  • Every person is to be recognised as an individual.
  • The psychiatrist should teach by example.
  • Every life experience is a learning opportunity.

The Advantage of Integrative Psychiatry

The advantage of integrative psychiatry is that it is about restoring balance. It is not about extremes or dogmatically relying on any one approach. It is the wise and personalised practice of psychiatry that combines the best that Western medicine and holistic approaches have to offer to help people optimise their mental health and well-being.

What Integrative Psychiatry is NOT

There are some misunderstandings out there about integrative psychiatry. It is important to clarify that Integrative Psychiatry is NOT:

  • “Alternative Medicine” – there is no such thing as an “integrative only treatment” as the practice of integrative psychiatry is the wise incorporation of various treatment modalities.
  • “Green pharma” – the practice of integrative psychiatry is not about recommending a nutraceutical or supplement instead of a prescription medication.
  • “Functional Medicine” – integrative psychiatry incorporates more than this, as functional medicine is considered a subgroup of integrative medicine.

Treatment Modalities in Integrative Psychiatry

Integrative psychiatry encompasses various treatment modalities, including prescription medication, supplements, herb and plant-based medicine, psychological interventions, mind and body practices, spirituality and the optimisation of habit and lifestyle factors such as sleep, diet and exercise.