The Integrative Practice is a clinical psychology service in the Wellington CBD which was established in 2016 by Dr Karen Faisandier. This service was developed due to the recognition of how important nutritional and lifestyle influences are on physical health, which is a foundation for how people think, feel, relate, and behave.
Karen is trained as a clinical psychologist. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology (her thesis was on attachment and sexual behaviour), and is specialised in addiction. She has worked in both a DHB setting as well as private practice. After observing links between anxiety, low mood, chronic stress, physical health symptoms, addiction, and diet and lifestyle, she became curious about studying the gut-brain-axis, as this has not traditionally been a focus of mental health treatment. She is passionate about finding practical and empowered solutions for the current mental health crisis at both an individual and societal level.
This service offers an evolutionary psychology philosophy with practical nutritional and lifestyle solutions, so as to empower and optimise holistic wellbeing.
Alongside running this practice, Karen aims to be a conduit for this integrated knowledge to a wider New Zealand audience, through social media platforms, her online writing, and work with the Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand.
Karen is registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board (#90-05394) and is a member of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists. She participates in ongoing training and remains current with research in effective treatments for various difficulties that humans experience. The main modality that informs her therapeutic philosophy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. However, she also draw on learning from her doctorate research and tools from other therapy models (such as compassion focused therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy) as determined by each individuals presenting issues.
Karen has a special interest in integrative approaches to psychological wellbeing which have a holistic and ancestral focus, and she is a member of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM), the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, and is the Wellington Executive Lead of the Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand. She has completed Introductory modules 1 and 2 with ACNEM and participates in ongoing professional development in nutrition and mental health as well as integrative medicine.
Karen draws on an integrative philosophy to find psychonutritional and lifestyle solutions that can reduce psychological difficulties such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic stress, addiction, or low mood, and instead optimise individual wellbeing and vitality. This includes comprehensive assessment, blood labs to look at certain nutritional deficiencies, and (when indicated) prescribing targeted nutraceuticals for mental health (e.g, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium), as well as using nutritional modifications to improve psychological functioning.
Karen provides practitioner-only vitamins and minerals which are of a high quality and available with a consultation only.