What Does Integrative Psychiatry Mean?

Lots of people see therapists for a variety of reasons. But if you’ve looked into it, you may have heard the term integrative psychiatry. Unless you’ve really researched all the different options, you’ve probably been left wondering what does integrative psychiatry mean?

Here’s what I’ve learned from trying it:

Integrative psychiatry refers to the practice of licensed psychiatrists incorporating elements of more holistic approaches to mental and physical health into their treatment. These approaches can include diet, nutrition, mindfulness, and exercise.

But that’s just a quick answer.

So in this article, we’ll explore a variety of questions surrounding integrative psychiatry and therapy in general. We’ll look at what it is, how it differs, what it costs, and some of the disadvantages of it.

To get started, look for a qualified psychiatrist in your area, but also don’t be afraid to reach out to BetterHelp, the leaders in online therapy.

Let’s dive in!

What is integrated psychiatry?

Psychiatry, of course, is similar to psychotherapy, except that Psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe drugs whereas Psychologists do not.

Integrated psychiatry, however, combines several different techniques with therapy often customized for the patient’s needs, lifestyle, and personality. So in addition to normal psychiatry practices, an integrated approach might also include mindfulness, diet, exercise, nutrition, and other more holistic approaches.

Think of it as a way of combining some of the best aspects of both Western and Eastern medicine and philosophy.

Integrative psychiatry began in the last 1990s as more alternative treatments were gaining popularity. As some providers began to incorporate these therapies into their practice, the popularity grew.

Do all therapists practice integrative psychiatry?

No. Only a portion of practicing psychiatrists currently practice an integrative approach. Traditional schooling for psychiatrists does not typically delve far into holistic approaches. So only those therapists who have sought out additional training can effectively incorporate this into their practice.

The good news is that more and more psychiatrists are implementing aspects of integrative therapy.

That growth is expected to continue both due to the popularity of more holistic approaches, and as the training offered to psychiatrists pushes further into this area.

After all, 20 years ago, holistic approaches were often shunned by Western medicine. That has been shifting considerably as awareness and demand have grown.

How much do integrative psychiatrists charge?

On average, integrative psychiatrists typically charge between $300-400 for an initial 60-90 minute consultation. Then follow-up visits, often 60 minutes, range from $200-$300. As with all types of therapy, costs vary from state to state.

However, if mental health is not covered under your insurance, many providers will offer a sliding scale.

Sliding scale rates can range from $100 to $200 per hour. Compared to traditional psychotherapy, integrative psychiatry can cost more. However, it’s important to note how much more information and benefit can be had from an integrative approach since it offers benefits at the physical, mental, and emotional levels.

What are the disadvantages of integrative therapy?

The biggest downsides to integrative therapy are that unlike medicine, where certain practices have an exact formula to follow, holistic approaches can be open to a wide level of interp4rtation and be implemented differently.

Ultimately, not everyone is into holistic medicine and therapies.

Others more rooted in traditional psychotherapy or psychiatry have also criticized integrative therapy on the grounds of:

  • Some practices can still be considered experimental
  • A lack of studies and research proving its effectiveness
  • Some practitioners may lean too far towards the holistic and not enough towards traditional techniques
  • Sucess with holistic practices is limited to the person being treated and their ability to implement the suggested changes

And of course, the other big danger is that some patients who are too immersed in holistic approaches, can naturally be too anti-psychiatrist and not allow themselves to fully accept the treatment options being suggested.


In this article, we took an in-depth look at integrative psychiatry.

We explored what it is, what the similarities and differences are between it, and other forms of therapy. But we also looked at exactly who it’s for, and, more importantly, who is ISN’T for.

To get started, look for a qualified psychiatrist in your area, but also don’t be afraid to reach out to BetterHelp either, especially if you’re looking for qualified online therapists.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

Recent Posts