A Brief Outline of Meaning Centred Counselling and Therapy (MCCT)

Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D.
Director, Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology
Trinity Western University
Printed with permission - International Network on Personal Meaning

What is MCCT?

It is based on integrating cognitive-behavioural therapy and other counselling practices with the basic tenets of logotherapy. It is holistic and oriented towards personal growth.

Goals of MCCT

Counselling is essentially is journey of exploration and discovery with the counsellor as a fellow traveller.

  1. To discover new meanings of past, present and future.
  2. To discover new purposes of life.
  3. To discover new understandings of self.
  4. To discover new ways of living and relating.
  5. To discover new meaningful roles in society.

Areas to be Explored

  1. Cognitive distortions.
  2. Behavioural handicaps.
  3. Affective regulations.
  4. Relationship difficulties.
  5. Coping difficulties and potentials.
  6. Confusions about self-identity.
  7. Confusions about meanings and values.
  8. Confusions about future directions.
  9. The four major needs of being significant, belonging, growing, and making sense.
  10. The four major life tasks of growing up, career, marriage and parenting.
  11. The four major life challenges of failure, illness, ageing and dying.
  12. The four major internal barriers to fulfilment: misguided ambitions, egocentricity, character defects and spiritual deprivation.

"Change Strategies" and Intervention Techniques of MCCT

Clarifying the present

Things are never what they appear to be, and there is always the possibility of hidden meanings as well as yet-to-be-discovered new meanings. That is why MCCT focuses on clarifying and exploring the world of meanings.

  1. Clarifying present cognitions and exploring more adaptive ones — including perceptions, assumptions, attitudes, beliefs and mental habits, etc.
  2. Clarifying present feelings — identifying and exploring the sources of negative and positive feelings.
  3. Clarifying the meaning of existential anxieties, such as boredom, loneliness and fear of death.
  4. Clarifying the meaning of happiness, love and success.
  5. Clarifying patterns of reactions and relating and exploring more adaptive ones.
  6. Clarifying the meanings and exploring different perspectives of the presenting problems.
  7. Clarifying and exploring the systems — both family and cultural — in which the presenting problems have developed.
  8. Clarifying the context and exploring deeper meanings of presenting problems.
  9. Clarifying the options and consequences related to different choices.
  10. Clarifying the principles involved in finding the best possible solution.
  11. Clarifying and exploring values, personal projects and life goals.
  12. Clarifying and exploring personal needs through reflections and self-examination.

Reviewing the past

The past holds the key to achieving new understandings and personal growth. That is why guided life review plays a prominent part in MCCT.

  1. Reviewing successes and failures in meeting personal needs.
  2. Reviewing successes and failures in coping with challenges and barriers.
  3. Reviewing past mistakes in order to make amends and seek reconciliation.
  4. Reviewing past successes in order to be grateful to the blessings.
  5. Reviewing critical incidents of helpful and hindering events in major life tasks in order to identify weaknesses and strengths in each of these areas.
  6. Reviewing the past in order to have a deeper understanding of one’s identify and destiny.
  7. Reviewing the past in order to understand the present and plan for the future.
  8. Reviewing the past in order to identify the leitmotif and the driving force of one’s life.
  9. Reviewing narratives of the past in order to revise the story line and the conclusion.

Exploring the future

MCCT is also future-oriented. It affirms the possibilities of living a more meaningful and fulfilling life. It also affirms the possibilities of making this world a better place for self and others.

  1. Exploring and developing new internal and external resources.
  2. Exploring one’s resources and risks in order to embark on new adventures.
  3. Exploring opportunities for serving others and building communities.
  4. Exploring opportunities for making useful contributions to society.
  5. Exploring opportunities of leaving a positive legacy.
  6. Exploring the new frontiers of one’s world in order to identify new possibilities.
  7. Exploring new trends and forces of change in order to identify new directions.
  8. Exploring the moral universe in order to discover the importance of integrity, authenticity and courage.
  9. Exploring the spiritual realm in order to discover a higher meaning and purpose for living and dying.

Who is Qualified to do MCCT?

Not every counsellor can do MCCT. One needs to acquire competencies in the following areas:

  • Major schools of counselling and psychotherapy, such as logotherapy, existential therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, Adlerian psychology, systems theories, and multi-cultural counselling.
  • Major speciality areas, such as career counselling, adolescent counselling, crisis counselling, marriage and family counselling, addiction counselling, group counselling and grief counselling.
  • Knowledge of trends, undercurrents and legal, ethical issues of contemporary society.
  • Development of personal qualities of understanding, empathy, integrity and authenticity.
  • Mastery of principles and practices of MCCT through course work and supervised practicum.

Updated 01-02-05
Reprinted by permission. International Network on Personal Meaning

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