Our illustrative model of integrative supervision is like most integrative models in its process. The integrative clinician begins by using a systemic lens to construct the "bigger picture" of a family's overall functioning, symptoms, and dynamics. The next step is to integrate these observed systemic patterns with the clinical data from the actual interview to form early working hypotheses for assessment. Finally, these data are integrated with an informed selection of appropriate clinical interventions expected to change the family system.
For most of us, our integrative models of family therapy and supervision were not explicitly taught but emerged over years of education and clinical experiences. However, both integrative and eclectic models use a broad range of resources to complete an effective assessment and intervention plan for clinical families. What make our models integrative as opposed to eclectic are the overarching theory and subordinate principles and concepts that inform the therapist in a consistent, sequential, coherent, and cohesive manner.
It has been our observation that a supervisor who focuses solely on the teaching of a single model of family therapy is functioning in a nonintegrative manner, and this role can deprive a therapist of learning to use the breadth and depth of the full range of family systems assessment and treatment resources. Similarly, the supervisor who focuses solely on teaching a selection of eclectic techniques from a toolbox is also nonintegrative and fails to provide the therapist with the theoretical means to understand and conceptualize her or his clinical interventions. In both of these cases, the crucial aspect of learning to integrate clinical theory with real-life assessment data with informed interventions can be lost.