Integrative Psychotherapy
by Dr. Moses L. James III, LPC, NCC, ACS, DCC

All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.
--James Allen

Integrative psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral approaches underscore the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do (Dobson & Dobson, 2010, 2009).  Also, the aforesaid has a wide-range of evidence that supports its interventions. 

With over 10 years of experience as an intensive in-home psychotherapist,  I can attest to the benefits of cognitive behavioral approaches in addressing unacceptable behaviors with a wide range of children and young adults diagnosed with:

  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders (such as Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder)
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
  • Elimination Disorders (such as Enuresis)
  • Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

In my experience, there have been other conditions that have been a focus of my clinical attention:

  • Relational Problems
  • Abuse and Neglect
  • Educational and Occupational Problems
  • Housing and Economic Problems
  • Other Problems Related to the Social Environment
  • Other Health Service Encounters for Counseling
  • Problems Related to Other Psychosocial, Personal, and Environmental Circumstances
  • Other Circumstances of Personal History 

In all of the aforesaid cases, one thing remained the same... Once it was determined that the unacceptable behavior was a learned behavior, there was always a thought that preceded either the feeling or behavior.

As an example in explaining this to a parent, I present the following as an anecdote:

On one occasion, I met with a family in addressing temper tantrums and aggressive behaviors with their 15 year old verbal son diagnosed with Autism.

As always, I assessed for learned versus not learned behavior along with obtaining a clear understanding of the parents' reasons for seeking psychotherapy. Nearing the end of the intake (which included a detailed explanation of IIH clinical services) the following conversation took place:

The mother stated, "One of my family members said that my son erupts in these fits of rage and there is no cause. They said that his behaviors are erratic and nothing more. I don't believe them, my son is reacting to something."

Exactly my point" I replied, "We, as human beings, are not emotionally disturbed by things, but how we perceive things. She replied, "What do you mean?"

I posed this question, "Say your husband came home with the scent of another woman's perfume. What would go through your mind?"

"That lousy SOB..." she replied. I asked, "Would it be safe to say that you would view it as a bad thing?" "Yes" she replied. I asked, "How would you feel and what would you do?"

She said, "I would feel angry and would pack his sugar honey iced tea!"

I further asked, "Do you believe that every woman would think and subsequently feel and behave the same as you if their husband came home with the scent of another woman's perfume?"

She replied, "Maybe not but I believe most would do the same as me..." "You may be right ..." I said, "But here are two other ways a woman can think about that situation: either as a good thing or a neither good or bad thing."

I explained, "A woman may be looking for a way out and this could be a means to achieve her goal of ending the relationship which for her would be a good thing. Another may be involved with another man and could care less if he was with another woman."

"I never thought of things that way..." she replied, "Now how can we help my son?" I stated, "Now is a great time for me to explain the Functional Analysis of Behavior and the importance of exploring antecedents..." 

The editors of Dobson and Dobson (2010) noted that the extensive evidence of cognitive behavioral approaches connects to three important schemes:


  • cognitive activity has an effect on behavior
  • may recommend checking and adjusting
  • behavior change may result through cognitive change


More specifically, the first scheme defines the basic meditational model of Mahoney (1974) which demonstrated the fact that perception of actions can influence the reaction to those actions. 


The second scheme explores perception, as well as the individuality amongst cognition, behavior, and emotional classifications (Dobson, 2010).  Lastly, the third scheme highlights options for behavior change, including cognitive change. 


Multicultural Components of Integrative Psychotherapy / Cognitive Behavioral Approaches

Integrative psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral approaches has multicultural components that can appeal to a broad audience in assisting them in feeling the way they want to feel while achieving their goals.


The work of Helms and Cook (1999) suggested that cognitive behavioral interventions / techniques might be appropriate from a multicultural aspect because they allow for dialogue of cultural factors that may add to a client’s self-defeating thoughts. 


In my study, one participant made this comment regarding their therapist, “He speaks from the heart and keeps it in the context of therapy. So he understands our needs, he understands our want. It seems like it’s easy for him.”


The results from my study also supported the knowledge, skills, and ability for in home counselors to remain cognizant of cultural realities in determining the content and feasibility of completing therapeutic interventions.


Another participant made this comment, “He was very open, so he actually asked a lot of questions to engage us or even engaging the kids which made it easier for us to communicate, verbally and non-verbally.”


Similarly, Schmidt and BigFoot (2010), Shiu, Chen, Simoni, Fredriksen-Goldsen, Zhang, and Zhou (2012) and Hofmann (2006) found that the adaptation of cognitive behavioral approaches improved multicultural awareness. 


In describing the main tenets of cognitive behavioral approaches along with multicultural considerations, rational self counseling may assist an individual in developing the skills to feel and act the way they want to regardless of their ethnic / cultural background.


Mission Statement

We dedicate ourselves to the visualization of autonomy, justice, beneficence, and fidelity in providing meaningful help to culturally diverse populations receiving clinical services. 

It is our goal to engage and educate the individual in providing meaningful help in both feeling and getting better to culturally diverse populations.

Mental Health Center from WebMD

Mental health disorders affect an estimated 22% of American adults each year. Here you'll find in-depth mental health information including care, and various mental health conditions.