Integrative psychiatry is the holistic practice of medicine that focuses on both the conventional and complementary therapies in the treatment of mental health disorders. Treatments are extremely personalized and are developed to treat each individual lifestyle. The main difference that sets apart integrative psychiatry from other branches of psychiatry is the fact that it pulls focus away from the medical side of it—instead of centering on what can go wrong in the mind, integrative psychiatry learns from people who live particularly happy and balanced lives.

Integrative psychiatry has 10 principles, which are as follows:

1.Optimal wellness is the goal—not just the absence of disease.

In integrative psychiatry, it is not good enough to not be depressed or anxious. It is important to feel fulfillment, success, and joy in everyday life, so integrative psychiatrists focus on making sure that their clients are feeling these emotions on a regular basis.

2. Relationships are healing

Having a support network as well as personal relationships are very important pieces of one’s overall health and well-being. Having a good group of friends, and family that is supportive are crucial parts of integrative psychiatry, as well as having a good relationship with their psychiatrist. Integrative psychiatry believes that relationships have healing powers, and that it is important to work on them in order to feel heard and cared for. A psychiatrist’s goal is to create and maintain a real relationship with their clients, and they also have this same expectation of their clients.

3. Mind, body, and environment

Those who practice integrative psychiatry believe that treatments are not treatable unless they understand where the symptoms are coming from. It is important in general for mental health professionals to know what symptoms are troubling their clients, however integrative psychiatrists take a special interest in why their clients are feeling this way.

4. Prevention is key!

This ties in to the first principle where optimal wellness is a goal. There is an emphasis placed on the idea that it is not about waiting for a disease to come along, rather it is better to stop any disease from manifesting, and integrative psychiatry believes in promoting a healthy mindset. By having a healthy mind and body, not only is it less likely for any problems to appear, but it also equips the client with the right skills and techniques to tackle any problems that a client may face in the future.

5. Innate Healing

Since integrative psychiatry is holistic medicine, those who practice it believe in the power of mind, body, and spirit. Integrative psychiatrists push their clients to use their mind, body, and spirit to assist them in their healing process. They help their clients figure out what exactly is making them unhappy, as well as what is preventing them from healing, and ultimately remove them.

6. Treatments should be integrated

Integrative psychology is “integrative” after all, which means that it believes in the idea that in order to receive the best care, there needs to be a combination of techniques and treatments, as well as alternative strategies to promote healing. These other strategies are not necessarily medical and include acupuncture and massage, as well as taking supplements and practicing mindfulness. These techniques are supposed to complement your treatment plan, and are guided towards your success and healing.

7. The healing power of love

Integrative psychiatrists have several goals in mind, however one of the most important is meeting the patients with grace, acceptance, and kindness without condition. They truly believe in the healing power of love, both coming from the provider as well as from the people surrounding the client. As mentioned before, relationships are supposed to be healing, and people should surround themselves with others that support them.

8. Individuality

Even though integrative psychiatrists work very closely with their clients and get very personal, they also respect the notion that not everybody is the same; each body, mind, and spirit are unique and require different treatments in order to properly heal. The client’s preferences are a crucial factor in determining the proper treatment plan. It is important to remember that, despite having a mental illness, it is not the defining factor of life. The illness does not control the person, the person has an illness and requires special techniques.

9. Teach by example

Integrative psychiatrists are always working towards finding a balance in their own lives, so that they can effectively teach these practices to their clients. Not only are they trying to teach their clients, they are also learning from their clients and taking strategies and applying them to their own lives.

10. Everything is a learning opportunity!

No matter what one experiences in their life, it is all part of living and learning. All life experiences, from birth to the dying process, are learning opportunities for both the patient and the psychiatrist. The traumatic experiences are those that are focused on by integrative psychiatrists, and honored as a process of learning rather than ignored or minimized. Check out for more resources.