Transcending Therapy Models and Managing Complexity: Suggestions from Integrative Systemic Therapy

William P Russell*, Douglas C Breunlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Integrative Systemic Therapy (IST) is a metatheoretical perspective for the conduct of individual, couple, and family therapy. Following a brief description of IST, this article presents developments in IST and their implication for psychotherapy integration. The nature of problem solving in IST is clarified, and the relationship between IST's essential problem-solving tasks and its core decision-making process is defined. Particular attention is paid to two dimensions of IST that have given it its name: integration and systems theory. The advantages of a therapy that is client system-centered and not model-driven are discussed, and a justification for “good enough” execution of interventions abstracted from specific models is provided. A procedure for balancing pragmatic demands of therapy with a commitment to account, as needed, for broader or deeper systemic issues is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-655
Number of pages15
JournalFamily process
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Blueprint for Therapy
  • Constraint
  • Hypothesizing Metaframeworks
  • Integration
  • Integrative
  • Metaframework
  • Metatheoretical
  • Planning Metaframeworks
  • Problem Sequence
  • Solution Sequence
  • System
  • Systemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcending Therapy Models and Managing Complexity: Suggestions from Integrative Systemic Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this