Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person

Vitz, Nordling, Titus

This model has helped me to understand my work as a Catholic psychotherapist. I learned it back in 2010 during my training, before it was in its current form.

Summary by:
Dr. Marcel Lanahan

The Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person: Bridging Psychology and Spirituality

A Venn Diagram of Catholic philosophy, psychology, and theology
The Catholic Christian Meta Model combines three wisdom traditions

Key Takeaways:

  • The Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person (CCMMP) offers a profound understanding of who or what we are from a Catholic standpoint, drawing from philosophy, theology, and psychology. Heavily influenced by JPII.
  • It sees individuals as an integrated whole of body, mind, and spirit. Every person, crafted in God's likeness, possesses inherent dignity, free will, and is meant for communion with God and others.
  • The model acknowledges the impact of sin on humans, leading to suffering and estrangement. Yet (critically), it also emphasizes redemption through Christ and the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, ensuring hope and healing.
  • CCMMP is a pivotal guide in addressing the spiritual and psychological aspects of Catholic individuals during therapy. It paves the way for culturally aware mental health practices that resonate with the Catholic ethos/worldview.
  • Abiding by ethical guidelines and the Church's teachings, the CCMMP is both a faithful and evidence-informed approach.

Understanding Wholeness and Holiness through the CCMMP

The CCMMP isn't a mere theoretical proposition. It's an actionable guide to understanding oneself as a Catholic Christian, harmoniously merging both psychological and spiritual facets. This guide has helped me to understand my work as a psychotherapist.

Built on the triad of revelation (God's message through Scripture and Tradition), reason (human intellect discerning truth via philosophy and science), and psychological experience (personal encounters shaping faith and identity), CCMMP offers an in-depth view of human essence. It explains:

  • Our existence transcends physicality. We are more than just body and mind. The body is a temple, and the mind is an entity capable of immense creativity and love.
  • We aren’t accidents of evolution. Each person is a reflection of God's inherent beauty, purpose, and wisdom.
  • We possess free will. Despite external influences, we have the autonomy to discern between right and wrong.
  • We’re inherently social beings, made for relationships and love, always striving for communion with God and others.

While acknowledging the adversities/wounds brought about by sin, the CCMMP emphasizes our redemption in Christ and the Holy Spirit's transformative grace.

For those seeking therapeutic avenues, CCMMP stands as a robust foundation. You can use it for introspection, or to contemplate how our spiritual beliefs connect with our psychological well-being, all while staying true to the Catholic identity.

Being deeply rooted in respecting individual faith, CCMMP ensures an accommodating approach in mental health, aligning seamlessly with Church doctrines, moral teachings, and best-practice standards.

Link to first two chapters of the Catholic Christian Meta Model of the Person