Integral Psychiatry: Five Elements of Clinical Theory and Practice

Baron ShortArticle, Cognitive, Psychiatry, Psychology Leave a Comment

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.


About Baron Short

BARON SHORT, M.D., has studied Integral Theory and its application in medicine and psychiatry since 2000. He is in his fifth year of residency training in internal medicine and psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is a primary investigator in a pilot study, “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Meditation.” Dr. Short hopes to better understand the neurophysiology involved in the meditative experience as such knowledge could influence future clinical treatments and our ideas on the philosophy and spirituality of mind. In addition to his clinical rotations, academic presentations, and research interests, he is an avid teacher for medical students and new residents. He hopes to collaborate and offer one of the first Integral Medicine courses accessible at a medical university in the near future.