The metaphor of integration plays nowadays a key role in psychiatric practice due to the bio-psychosocial nature of current etiopathogenetic hypotheses on mental illness, and also due to the integrated multi-professional treatment approach in Italian public mental health services. The author defines the procedural nature of integration on two levels: as a close collaborative professional interdependence, or on the other hand as a process that adds a missing part. When integration works, the outcome of the process generates more than the sum of its parts, such as the flavor of a Martini cocktail is different and tastier, than a plain glass of gin, or vermouth. Clinical practice in psychiatry tests continuously a team’s emotional endurance. Moreover, team resilience stems from its capacity to tackle problems, rather than from the absence of conflicts. The Author then defines a third possible meaning of "integration" in the transition from theory to practice: i.e. from current clinical theories on psychiatric disorders and treatment, to therapeutic feasibility in mental health services. The Author underlines also the complexity of integrating and personalizing general psychiatric theories in daily clinical practice and concludes describing the problematic aspects of integration in the treatment of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Keywords: Bio-psychosocial integration, team work, Borderline Personality Disorder