Integration within the context of the Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM) has two meanings.
Most importantly, “integration” is a concept from Interpersonal Neurobiology which refers to the integration of the body, mind, and relationships, recognizing that all three influence each other.
There are multiple neural systems within the body. The brain is one neural system with many subsystems which can work more or less independently or in harmony with each other. There are also independent neural systems in the heart, gut, and other body systems, all of which can work more or less independently or in harmony with the brain. Thus integration refers to the harmonizing of all these multiple neural systems in the body. Any of these systems, such as the gut brain, the “right” brain, the “fear” brain, the fight-flight-freeze system, etc., can influence client decision making independently, or in harmony with one or more other systems. The influence can be harmonizing or disharmonizing.
Human relationships can also influence neural systems. The depth of this can be hard to fully understand, but think about you might feel if a person next to you suddenly starts freak out and display significant fear behaviors. Just being in close physical relationship with that person can provide your neural systems with significant information which can have a dramatic effect on you. To use a dramatic example, if the person next to you sees a person aiming a gun at a crowd, the fearful information that person will display will transmit information relationally and nonverbally to your subconscious neural systems, which may pick up and process the information about danger long before your conscious neural systems do.
Since a client-centered approach focuses on clients making their own choices (autonomy), a key role for the counselor is to support optimal decision making. Clients make the best decisions when their emotional and relational needs are as fully supported as possible. Supporting a client facilitates them in bringing all of the relational, neural, electrical, chemical, and other body systems online and into harmony to maximize the functioning of the mind. By maximizing integration of various body systems, a person reduces the likelihood of making a decision based on a single, and potentially suboptimal, brain-body system. A classic example is making a decision when a person is in a fear state.
Secondly, and like many current models, the ICCM “integrates” a variety of perspectives and theories, including Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM) (both IPNB and the DMM are themselves integrative theories), Diagnostic Service Manual (DSM), International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Family Systems, Gottman Institute relationship concepts, High Conflict Theory (HCT), and clerical theory.
The ICCM integrates legal, negotiation, and mediation theory, from sources such as Harvard’s Project on Negotiation (PON), the Strauss Institute at Pepperdine University, and various client-centered theories, including Carl Rogers’ client (or person) centered theory, Binder’s legal client-centered theory, and Transformational Mediation (TM) theory.
The ICCM integrates a variety of psychological, motivational, and educational theories, including attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Theory (DBT), Cognitive Analytic Theory (CAT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Positive Psychology, Schema Therapy, Motivational Interviewing (MI), sports motivation theory, and domestic violence and bullying theories.
The ICCM integrates research-based science models such as the rejection-aggression connection, the Polyvagal Theory (PVT), and modern emotion theory.
The ICCM’s Integrative Listening technique integrates a variety of listening models, including active listening, reflective listening, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and a variety of mindfulness theories including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
The ICCM is based on disciplines such as biology, neurobiology, biobehavioral and affective neuroscience, psychology, human development, sociology, education, marketing, economics, and political science.
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