Integrating different approaches

Closer to the front of my mind at the time was the realisation that my adoption of a rather conventional ‘psychodynamic v cognitive behavioural’ paradigm was unnecessary. It was as if the hostility of much of the cognitive behavioural world had ‘suckered’ me into adopting an equally unhelpful hostility to cognitive behavioural approaches that were in truth better evidenced. Surely the truth was that each added to each other. In fact of course, there was in practice no choice between the way of looking at the work that I had adopted and the delivery of cognitive behavioural programmes. No-one went on an alcohol education group or a Priestley / Maguire programme for a number of sessions in isolation. Programmes of this kind were at that stage always delivered in the context of often a 2 year community supervision order, and the individual supervisory process that sat alongside the programmes was always in theory at least, seen as an important part of the change process. Its job was seen as reinforcing the learning that had taken place in the group programme.

Freed from the need to take sides between psychodynamic work on the one hand, and cognitive behavioural programmes on the other, my notion of change became less one dimensional. Looking back, this process can almost be seen as discarding another layer of that passionate certainty that goes with adolescence – a maturational step. It took me into a new phase in which I became interested in how different dimensions of and approaches to work could be integrated to lead to a more effective model of working. This sense of the importance of integration has informed the second half of my professional career and it will recur in a range of guises in what follows.

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