Integral Psychiatry: Five Elements of Clinical Theory and Practice

Pharmacological treatments are the mainstay of current psychiatric practice as effective treatments for a variety of mental disorders. Many recognize the inadequacy of a purely biological treatment for most patients. The psychiatric field appears to be shifting into a more integrative stance with biological and psychosocial treatments. With the vast array of therapies, the Integral approach attempts to embrace all schools of treatment into a coherent whole. Two elements of the AQAL framework — quadrants and levels — are introduced as relevant aspects for Integral Psychiatry.

The second part of the article describes the major psycho-philosophical options available to a practicing physician including a single-school, eclectic, integrative, and Integral orientation. An Integral approach is the most comprehensive—treating the patient, their illness, and the practitioner. The basic five elements of the AQAL model (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types) are introduced in an attempt to construct a psychiatric meta-theory and advance clinical practice.