The biopsychosocial model promised a more integrated psychiatric approach to patients. It assumed biological and psychosocial factors were paramount to effectively treat human disease and suffering. It has not, however, influenced conventional psychiatry as George Engel had envisioned. This article describes many of the strengths and weaknesses of the biopsychosocial model, as well as how AQAL and Integral Methodological Pluralism include the model’s partial truths and transcend its shortcomings.
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.