about

mcci

meaning-
centered
counselling
institute inc.

mcci

meaning-
centered
counselling
institute inc.

The Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. (MCCI) is the official institute founded by Drs. Paul and Lilian Wong as the umbrella organization to offer the following services:

  • individual and group therapy
  • supervision
  • consultation
  • training in meaning therapy

Learn more on our “Services” page.

MCCI was registered with the Ministry of Finance, Corporate, and Personal Property Registries of British Columbia in 2004. Later, MCCI was registered with the Central Production and Verification Services Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Government Services in 2013.

Meaning therapy is a pluralistic approach to counselling and therapy that focuses on the fundamental human needs for meaning and relationship. It is a comprehensive way to address all aspects of meaning in life concerns in a supportive therapeutic relationship. Thus, the motto for meaning therapy is, “Meaning is all we have; relationship is all we need.” Meaning therapy assumes that when these two essential human needs are met, individuals are more likely to cope better with their predicaments and live a more rewarding life. When there is deficiency in these two areas, people will more likely experience difficulties in life.

Meaning therapy favours a psycho-educational approach that recognizes the vital role of meaning and purpose in healing and well-being. It appeals to the client’s sense of responsibility to make full use of their freedom to pursue what really matters and what constitutes a rewarding future. Within this conceptual framework, the therapist provides a safe and trusting environment that facilitates collaborative effort and shared decision making in terms of preferred interventions, plans, and goals.

mT

meaning
therapy

meaning-centered counselling & therapy

Background

In the 1930s, Dr. Viktor Frankl developed logotherapy, which literally means “healing through meaning.” It was widely known as the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy, in addition to Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual psychology. It became popularized with Frankl’s publication of Man’s Search for Meaning, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Logotherapy was introduced to North America by Dr. Joseph Fabry, founder of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy in the United States. Through the encouragement and guidance of Fabry, Dr. Paul Wong first developed meaning therapy as an extension of classic logotherapy.  The first publication on meaning therapy was Wong’s (1997) article in The International Forum for Logotherapy, a journal edited by Fabry. Further developments of meaning therapy were published subsequently (see Selected Publications section on the right).

Meaning-Centered

Human beings are the only meaning-seeking and meaning-making species (Armstrong, 2006; Baumeister, Vohs, Aaker, & Garbinsky, 2012; Frankl, 1985; Yalom, 1980). Everything about us is related to meaning—how we think, how we see ourselves, how we attribute meaning to different life situations, and how we construct stories about our own lives and others. The language we speak and the cultural values we hold are also aspects of our meaning systems. Our anxieties about the fragility of life and our own mortality stem from our unique capacity for meaning (Becker, 1973; Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997).

Apart from inevitable existential anxieties, our suffering and distress in daily life come from misattribution, negative appraisal, dysfunctioning beliefs, and misplaced values more than from actual life events (Beck, 2011; Elis & Harper, 1998). When people pursue money, power, and fame to satisfy their need for meaning and significance, such misguided ambitions are self-defeating and become the source of suffering (Adler, 1938/2009; Kasser & Ryan, 1993; Wong, 2012a). People need to examine their values and discover which goal-strivings (Emmons, 2005) really endow their lives with enduring meaning and significance. Therefore, meaning is all we need in counselling and psychotherapy, if we want to help clients better understand themselves, their predicaments, and their place in the world, and cope more adaptively with the demands of life.

Relationship-Oriented

Research has shown that relationships are essential for happiness and meaning (Aron & Aron, 2012; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Research has also demonstrated the importance of social support in buffering against stress and maintaining mental health (Cohen & Wills, 1985; Kessler & McLeod, 1985). In sum, a strong network of social support is essential for mental health and meaningful living (Wong, 1993, 1998a).

According to research, a good relationship with clients is one of the most important common factors in effective psychotherapy (Asay & Lambert, 1999; Lambert & Barley, 2001; Rogers, 1951). Meaning therapy goes beyond therapeutic alliance and emphasizes an authentic relationship, one which shows a therapist’s genuine care and empathy for his/her clients and belief in their potentials to overcome. Thus, meaning therapy begins with the therapeutic presence of the therapist. The therapist is the therapy because of the curative benefits of the therapist’s personal qualities of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness.

Furthermore, the entire counselling process—the moment-to-moment fluid and dynamic interactions between the therapist and client—provides many opportunities for genuine encounters and timely intervention. Through such authentic encounters, clients learn how to develop new patterns of relating in a more adaptive and rewarding manner.

Evidence-Based

The theoretical concepts and interventions of meaning therapy are supported by mounting empirical evidence of the vital role of meaning in human experience and well-being (Batthyany & Russo-Netzer, 2014; Hicks & Routledge, 2013; Wong, 2012b). Meta-analyses of existential therapies also support the central role of meaning (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015). Research supporting cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) also provides support for meaning therapy (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011; Kashdan & Ciarrochi, 2013; Ruiz, 2010).

There is also ample empirical support for the pluralistic approach to counselling and therapy (Cooper & Dryden, 2015; Cooper & McLeod, 2011). In addition, there is also increasing empirical support for the transdiagnostic approach in focusing on the underlying drivers (e.g., the lack of meaning and relationship) for psychological problems (McEvoy, Nathan, & Norton, 2009).

Interventions

Meaning therapy interventions are also referred to as existential positive interventions. Most of the intervention strategies and skills can be found in Dr. Paul Wong’s chapter in The Human Quest for Meaning (2012c) as well as his chapter in Clinical Perspectives on Meaning (2016). Given its psycho-educational orientation, MT aims to equip clients with the necessary tools to cope with the demands of life in a way that contributes to both healing and growth.

Meaning-centered interventions can be grouped into four main categories:

Cognitive Meaning Interventions

  • Attribution-retraining
  • Re-appraisal
  • Challenging dysfunctional thinking
  • Self-affirmation of core values and beliefs

Existential Meaning Interventions

  • Cultivating sources of meaning (Wong, 1998)
  • Tragic optimism (Wong, 2009)
  • PURE strategy (Purpose, Understanding, Responsibility, and Enjoyment)
  • ABCDE strategy (Acceptance, Belief, Commitment, Discovery, and Evaluation)
  • Dual-system strategy (dialectical thinking; approach and avoidance systems; yin-yang)
  • Double-vision strategy (view problems from two perspectives, present/future, self/humanity)
  • Meaning-mindset
  • Meaningful moments
  • Self-transcendence

Effective Coping

  • Resource-congruence model of coping (Wong, Reker, & Peacock, 2006)
  • Existential coping (acceptance and benefit seeking)
  • Religious coping (praying to God and support from faith community)

Relational Training (Wong & Wong, 2013)

  • Active listening
  • Authentic encounters
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Shared activities and goals
  • Mutuality
Other Meaning-Oriented Therapies

DIFFERENCES

The main difference between meaning therapy and Frankl’s logotherapy is that it is more integrative and inclusive (Wong, 2014, 2016). It is different from other recent developments in meaning-oriented approach, such as Breitbart’s (2014a, 2014b) meaning-centered therapy for cancer patients and Dezelic’s (2014) meaning-centered therapy, as they are almost completely based on logotherapy.

The biggest difference between meaning therapy and other meaning-oriented approaches is that it incorporates the humanistic perspective of treating clients as fellow human beings worthy of dignity and respect and believing in their potential for healing and personal growth. In meaning therapy, therapists do not treat clients as simply clinical cases with problems to be fixed. Although meaning therapy makes use of psychoeducation to teach clients the vital role of meaning in well-being, its overall approach is a person-centered one.

Advantages

1. Given the holistic, multi-faceted nature of meaning, meaning therapy is inherently pluralistic. Therapy is flexible enough to be tailored to each individual client’s needs and preferences. Through collaborative dialogue, clients can choose their preferred therapeutic modality and focus on any combination of the following aspects of meaning:

  • Cognitive meaning: Rational meaning; attribution, appraisal, and beliefs
  • Relational meaning: Motives, intentions, communication, misunderstandings
  • Existential/spiritual meaning: Existential anxieties, ultimate concerns, meaning in life
  • Narrative meaning: Life review, meaning reconstruction, authoring life story
  • Unconscious meaning: Dreams, transference, repressed memories, pains
  • Motivational meaning: Purpose, values, needs, wants, desires, goals
  • Cultural meaning: Cultural norms and values, acculturation stress, language barriers

2. Meaning therapy is uniquely designed to deal with any kind of meaning crisis—whether it is death anxiety or a traumatic experience—that threatens one’s sense of meaning. Meaning therapy capitalizes on the uniquely human capacity for meaning-seeking and meaning-making as the innate potential for healing and flourishing; it believes that meaning makes suffering more bearable regardless of how hopeless and terrible the circumstances (Frankl, 1985).

3. Meaning therapy is inherently positive. It emphasizes a client’s innate capacity for positive change and potential to become a fully functioning person. However, meaning therapy also emphasizes that this growth process necessarily entails the need to overcome challenges and obstacles. In addition, meaning therapy holds a very high view of life. It affirms that every life has intrinsic meaning and value, and every person has the potential of making a useful contribution to society. It helps to restore a healthy sense of the true self as the foundation for healing and transformation. It focuses on being and becoming through doing.

4. Consistent with second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0; Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2015; Wong, 2011), meaning therapy aims at repairing the worst and bringing out the best in people, regardless of their conditions and circumstances. Meaning-based interventions serve the dual purpose of alleviating suffering and enhancing well-being at the same time. Therapy at its best can move clients from brokenness to wholeness, from healing to thriving. This is exactly what meaning therapy attempts to achieve. Thus, clients can benefit from meaning therapy in two ways: (a) a personally designed treatment plan to address presenting problems and (b) a collaborative journey to create a preferred better future.

Selected Publications
  1. Wong, P. T. P. (1997). Meaning-centered counselling: A cognitive-behavioral approach to logotherapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 20(2), 85-94.
  2. Wong, P. T. P. (1998). Meaning-centered counselling. In P. T. P. Wong & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 395-435). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  3. Wong, P. T. P. (1999). Towards an integrative model of meaning-centered counselling and therapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 22(1), 47-55.
  4. Wong, P. T. P. (2000). Meaning of life and meaning of death in successful aging. In A. Tomer (Ed.), Death attitudes and the older adult (pp. 23-35). New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel.
  5. Wong, P. T. P. (2002). Logotherapy. In G. Zimmer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy (pp. 107-113). New York, NY: Academic Press.
  6. Wong, P. T. P. (2004). Existential psychology for the 21st centuryInternational Journal for Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, 1, 1-3.
  7. Wong, P. T. P. (2005). Existential and humanistic theories. In J. C. Thomas, & D. L. Segal (Eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology (pp. 192-211). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  8. Wong, P. T. P. (2008). Meaning-management theory and death acceptance. In A. Tomer, G. T. Eliason, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), Existential and spiritual issues in death attitudes (pp. 65-87). New York, NY: Erlbaum.
  9. Wong, P. T. P. (2008). Transformation of grief through meaning: Meaning-centered counseling for bereavement. In A. Tomer, G. T. Eliason, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), Existential and spiritual issues in death attitudes (pp. 375-396). New York, NY: Erlbaum.
  10. Wong, P. T. P. (2010). Meaning therapy: An integrative and positive existential psychotherapyJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 40(2), 85-99.
  11. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Meaning-centered counseling and therapy: An integrative and comprehensive approach to motivational counseling and addiction treatment. In W. M. Cox & E. Klinger (Eds.), Handbook of Motivational Counseling: Goal-based approaches to assessment and intervention with addiction and other problems (pp. 461-487)West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
  12. Wong, P. T. P. (2012). From logotherapy to meaning-centered counseling and therapy. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 619-647). New York, NY: Routledge.
  13. Wong, P. T. P. (2013). A meaning-centered approach to addiction and recovery. In L. C. J. Wong, G. R. Thompson, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), The positive psychology of meaning and addiction recovery. Birmingham, AL: Purpose Research.
  14. Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2013). The challenge of communication: A meaning-centered perspective. In E. van Deurzen, & S. Iacovou (Eds.), Existential perspectives on relationship therapy. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  15.  Wong, P. T. P. (2013). Viktor Frankl’s meaning seeking model and positive psychology. In A. Batthyany & P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in existential and positive psychology. New York, NY: Springer.
References
  1. Adler, A. (2009). Social interest: Adler’s key to the meaning of life (C. Brett, Ed.). Oxford, UK: Oneworld. (Original published 1938)
  2. Armstrong, K. (2006). A short history of myth. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate.
  3. Aron, A., & Aron, E. N. (2012). The meaning of love. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.; pp. 185-208). New York, NY: Routledge.
  4. Asay, T. P., & Lambert, M. J. (1999). The empirical case for the common factors in therapy: Quantitative findings. In M. A. Hubble, B. L. Duncan, & S. D. Miller (Eds.), The heart and soul of change: What works in therapy (pp. 23-55). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  5. Batthyány, A., & Russo-Netzer, P. (Eds.). (2014). Meaning in existential and positive psychology. New York, NY: Springer.
  6. Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2012). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 505-516.
  7. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  8. Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York, NY: Free Press.
  9. Breitbart, W. S., & Poppito, S. R. (2014a). Individual meaning-centered psychotherapy for patients with advanced cancer: A treatment manual. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  10. Breitbart, W. S., & Poppito, S. R. (2014b). Meaning-centered group psychotherapy for patients with advanced cancer: A treatment manual. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  11. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310-357.
  12. Cooper, M., & Dryden, W. (Eds.). (2015). The handbook of pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage.
  13. Cooper, M., & McLeod, J. (2011). Pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage.
  14. Dezelic, M. S. (2014). Meaning-centered therapy workbook: Based on Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis. Coral Gables, FL: Dezelic & Associates.
  15. Elis, A., & Harper, R. A. (1998). A guide to rational living (3rd ed.). Chatsworth, CA: Wilshire Book.
  16. Emmons, R. A. (2005). Striving for the sacred: Personal goals, life meaning, and religion. Journal of Social Issues, 61(4), 731-745.
  17. Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning (Revised & updated ed.). New York, NY: Washington Square Press.
  18. Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., & Pyszczynski, T. (1997). Terror management therapy of self-esteem and cultural worldviews: Empirical assessments and conceptual refinements. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 29, 61-139.
  19. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2011). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The process and practice of mindful change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  20. Hicks, J. A., & Routledge, C. (2013). The experience of meaning in life: Classical perspectives, emerging themes, and controversies. New York, NY: Springer.
  21. Kashdan, T. B., & Ciarrochi, J. (Eds.). (2013). Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology: The seven foundations of well-being. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
  22. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 410-422.
  23. Kessler, R. C., & McLeod, J. D. (1985). Social support and mental health in community samples. In S. Cohen & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health (pp. 219-240). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  24. Lambert, M. J., & Barley, D. E. (2001). Research summary on the therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 38(4), 357-361.
  25. McEvoy, P. M., Nathan, P., & Norton, P. J. (2009). Efficacy of transdiagnostic treatments: A review of published outcome studies and future research directions. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23(1), 20-33.
  26. Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press
  27. Ruiz, F. J. (2010). A review of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) empirical evidence: Correlational, experimental psychopathology, component and outcome studies. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 10(1), 125-162.
  28. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.
  29. Vos, J., Craig, M., & Cooper, M. (2015). Existential therapies: A meta-analysis of their effects on psychological outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83(1), 115-128.
  30. Wong, P. T. P. (1993). Effective management of life stress: The resource-congruence modelStress Medicine, 9(1), 51-60.
  31. Wong, P. T. P. (1997). Meaning-centered counselling: A cognitive-behavioral approach to logotherapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 20(2), 85-94.
  32. Wong, P. T. P. (1998a). Implicit theories of meaningful life and the development of the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP). In P. T. P. Wong, & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 111-140). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  33. Wong, P. T. P. (1998b). Meaning-centered counselling. In P. T. P. Wong, & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 395-435). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  34. Wong, P. T. P. (1999). Towards an integrative model of meaning-centered counselling and therapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 22(1), 47-55.
  35. Wong, P. T. P. (2009). Viktor Frankl: Prophet of hope for the 21st century. In A. Batthyany, & J. Levinson (Eds.), Existential psychotherapy of meaning: Handbook of logotherapy and existential analysis. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen.
  36. Wong, P. T. P. (2010). Meaning therapy: An integrative and positive existential psychotherapyJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 40(2), 85-99.
  37. Wong, P. T. P. (2011a). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52(2), 69-81.
  38. Wong, P. T. P. (2011b). Meaning-centered counseling and therapy: An integrative and comprehensive approach to motivational counseling and addiction treatment. In W. M. Cox, & E. Klinger (Eds.), Handbook of motivational counseling: Goal-based approaches to assessment and intervention with addiction and other problems (pp. 461-487). West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
  39. Wong, P. T. P. (2012a). What is the meaning mindset? International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, 4(1), 1-3.
  40. Wong, P. T. P. (Ed.). (2012b). The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge
  41. Wong, P. T. P. (2012c). From logotherapy to meaning-centered counseling and therapy. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 619-647). New York, NY: Routledge.
  42. Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2013). The challenge of communication: A meaning-centered perspective. In E. van Deurzen, & S. Iacovou (Eds.), Existential perspectives on relationship therapy. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  43. Wong, P. T. P. (2014). Viktor Frankl’s meaning seeking model and positive psychology. In A. Batthyany & P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in existential and positive psychology (pp. 149-184)New York, NY: Springer.
  44. Wong, P. T. P. (2015). Meaning therapy: Assessments and interventionsExistential Analysis, 26(1), 154-167.
  45. Wong, P. T. P. (2016a). Integrative meaning therapy: From logotherapy to existential positive interventions. In P. Russo-Netzer, S. E. Schulenberg, & A. Batthyany (Eds.). Clinical perspectives on meaning: Positive and existential psychotherapy. New York, NY.
  46. Wong, P. T. P. (2016b, July). Self-transcendence: A paradoxical way to become your best. Presidential address for the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference in Toronto, ON, Canada.
  47. Wong, P. T. P., Reker, G. T. & Peacock, E. (2006). The resource-congruence model of coping and the development of the Coping Schema Inventory. In P. T. P. Wong, & L. C. J., Wong (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural perspectives on stress and coping (pp. 223-283). New York, NY: Springer.
  48. Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York, NY: Basic Books.

mT

meaning
therapy

meaning-centered counselling & therapy

Meaning therapy is a pluralistic approach to counselling and therapy that focuses on the fundamental human needs for meaning and relationship. It is a comprehensive way to address all aspects of meaning in life concerns in a supportive therapeutic relationship. Thus, the motto for meaning therapy is, “Meaning is all we have; relationship is all we need.” Meaning therapy assumes that when these two essential human needs are met, individuals are more likely to cope better with their predicaments and live a more rewarding life. When there is deficiency in these two areas, people will more likely experience difficulties in life.

Meaning therapy favours a psycho-educational approach that recognizes the vital role of meaning and purpose in healing and well-being. It appeals to the client’s sense of responsibility to make full use of their freedom to pursue what really matters and what constitutes a rewarding future. Within this conceptual framework, the therapist provides a safe and trusting environment that facilitates collaborative effort and shared decision making in terms of preferred interventions, plans, and goals.

Background

In the 1930s, Dr. Viktor Frankl developed logotherapy, which literally means “healing through meaning.” It was widely known as the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy, in addition to Freud’s psychoanalysis and Adler’s individual psychology. It became popularized with Frankl’s publication of Man’s Search for Meaning, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Logotherapy was introduced to North America by Dr. Joseph Fabry, founder of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy in the United States. Through the encouragement and guidance of Fabry, Dr. Paul Wong first developed meaning therapy as an extension of classic logotherapy.  The first publication on meaning therapy was Wong’s (1997) article in The International Forum for Logotherapy, a journal edited by Fabry. Further developments of meaning therapy were published subsequently (see Selected Publications section on the right).

Meaning-Centered

Human beings are the only meaning-seeking and meaning-making species (Armstrong, 2006; Baumeister, Vohs, Aaker, & Garbinsky, 2012; Frankl, 1985; Yalom, 1980). Everything about us is related to meaning—how we think, how we see ourselves, how we attribute meaning to different life situations, and how we construct stories about our own lives and others. The language we speak and the cultural values we hold are also aspects of our meaning systems. Our anxieties about the fragility of life and our own mortality stem from our unique capacity for meaning (Becker, 1973; Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997).

Apart from inevitable existential anxieties, our suffering and distress in daily life come from misattribution, negative appraisal, dysfunctioning beliefs, and misplaced values more than from actual life events (Beck, 2011; Elis & Harper, 1998). When people pursue money, power, and fame to satisfy their need for meaning and significance, such misguided ambitions are self-defeating and become the source of suffering (Adler, 1938/2009; Kasser & Ryan, 1993; Wong, 2012a). People need to examine their values and discover which goal-strivings (Emmons, 2005) really endow their lives with enduring meaning and significance. Therefore, meaning is all we need in counselling and psychotherapy, if we want to help clients better understand themselves, their predicaments, and their place in the world, and cope more adaptively with the demands of life.

Relationship-Oriented

Research has shown that relationships are essential for happiness and meaning (Aron & Aron, 2012; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Research has also demonstrated the importance of social support in buffering against stress and maintaining mental health (Cohen & Wills, 1985; Kessler & McLeod, 1985). In sum, a strong network of social support is essential for mental health and meaningful living (Wong, 1993, 1998a).

According to research, a good relationship with clients is one of the most important common factors in effective psychotherapy (Asay & Lambert, 1999; Lambert & Barley, 2001; Rogers, 1951). Meaning therapy goes beyond therapeutic alliance and emphasizes an authentic relationship, one which shows a therapist’s genuine care and empathy for his/her clients and belief in their potentials to overcome. Thus, meaning therapy begins with the therapeutic presence of the therapist. The therapist is the therapy because of the curative benefits of the therapist’s personal qualities of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness.

Furthermore, the entire counselling process—the moment-to-moment fluid and dynamic interactions between the therapist and client—provides many opportunities for genuine encounters and timely intervention. Through such authentic encounters, clients learn how to develop new patterns of relating in a more adaptive and rewarding manner.

Evidence-Based

The theoretical concepts and interventions of meaning therapy are supported by mounting empirical evidence of the vital role of meaning in human experience and well-being (Batthyany & Russo-Netzer, 2014; Hicks & Routledge, 2013; Wong, 2012b). Meta-analyses of existential therapies also support the central role of meaning (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015). Research supporting cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) also provides support for meaning therapy (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011; Kashdan & Ciarrochi, 2013; Ruiz, 2010).

There is also ample empirical support for the pluralistic approach to counselling and therapy (Cooper & Dryden, 2015; Cooper & McLeod, 2011). In addition, there is also increasing empirical support for the transdiagnostic approach in focusing on the underlying drivers (e.g., the lack of meaning and relationship) for psychological problems (McEvoy, Nathan, & Norton, 2009).

Interventions

Meaning therapy interventions are also referred to as existential positive interventions. Most of the intervention strategies and skills can be found in Dr. Paul Wong’s chapter in The Human Quest for Meaning (2012c) as well as his chapter in Clinical Perspectives on Meaning (2016). Given its psycho-educational orientation, MT aims to equip clients with the necessary tools to cope with the demands of life in a way that contributes to both healing and growth.

Meaning-centered interventions can be grouped into four main categories:

Cognitive Meaning Interventions

  • Attribution-retraining
  • Re-appraisal
  • Challenging dysfunctional thinking
  • Self-affirmation of core values and beliefs

Existential Meaning Interventions

  • Cultivating sources of meaning (Wong, 1998)
  • Tragic optimism (Wong, 2009)
  • PURE strategy (Purpose, Understanding, Responsibility, and Enjoyment)
  • ABCDE strategy (Acceptance, Belief, Commitment, Discovery, and Evaluation)
  • Dual-system strategy (dialectical thinking; approach and avoidance systems; yin-yang)
  • Double-vision strategy (view problems from two perspectives, present/future, self/humanity)
  • Meaning-mindset
  • Meaningful moments
  • Self-transcendence

Effective Coping

  • Resource-congruence model of coping (Wong, Reker, & Peacock, 2006)
  • Existential coping (acceptance and benefit seeking)
  • Religious coping (praying to God and support from faith community)

Relational Training (Wong & Wong, 2013)

  • Active listening
  • Authentic encounters
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Shared activities and goals
  • Mutuality
Other Meaning-Oriented Therapies

DIFFERENCES

The main difference between meaning therapy and Frankl’s logotherapy is that it is more integrative and inclusive (Wong, 2014, 2016). It is different from other recent developments in meaning-oriented approach, such as Breitbart’s (2014a, 2014b) meaning-centered therapy for cancer patients and Dezelic’s (2014) meaning-centered therapy, as they are almost completely based on logotherapy.

The biggest difference between meaning therapy and other meaning-oriented approaches is that it incorporates the humanistic perspective of treating clients as fellow human beings worthy of dignity and respect and believing in their potential for healing and personal growth. In meaning therapy, therapists do not treat clients as simply clinical cases with problems to be fixed. Although meaning therapy makes use of psychoeducation to teach clients the vital role of meaning in well-being, its overall approach is a person-centered one.

Advantages

1. Given the holistic, multi-faceted nature of meaning, meaning therapy is inherently pluralistic. Therapy is flexible enough to be tailored to each individual client’s needs and preferences. Through collaborative dialogue, clients can choose their preferred therapeutic modality and focus on any combination of the following aspects of meaning:

  • Cognitive meaning: Rational meaning; attribution, appraisal, and beliefs
  • Relational meaning: Motives, intentions, communication, misunderstandings
  • Existential/spiritual meaning: Existential anxieties, ultimate concerns, meaning in life
  • Narrative meaning: Life review, meaning reconstruction, authoring life story
  • Unconscious meaning: Dreams, transference, repressed memories, pains
  • Motivational meaning: Purpose, values, needs, wants, desires, goals
  • Cultural meaning: Cultural norms and values, acculturation stress, language barriers

2. Meaning therapy is uniquely designed to deal with any kind of meaning crisis—whether it is death anxiety or a traumatic experience—that threatens one’s sense of meaning. Meaning therapy capitalizes on the uniquely human capacity for meaning-seeking and meaning-making as the innate potential for healing and flourishing; it believes that meaning makes suffering more bearable regardless of how hopeless and terrible the circumstances (Frankl, 1985).

3. Meaning therapy is inherently positive. It emphasizes a client’s innate capacity for positive change and potential to become a fully functioning person. However, meaning therapy also emphasizes that this growth process necessarily entails the need to overcome challenges and obstacles. In addition, meaning therapy holds a very high view of life. It affirms that every life has intrinsic meaning and value, and every person has the potential of making a useful contribution to society. It helps to restore a healthy sense of the true self as the foundation for healing and transformation. It focuses on being and becoming through doing.

4. Consistent with second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0; Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2015; Wong, 2011), meaning therapy aims at repairing the worst and bringing out the best in people, regardless of their conditions and circumstances. Meaning-based interventions serve the dual purpose of alleviating suffering and enhancing well-being at the same time. Therapy at its best can move clients from brokenness to wholeness, from healing to thriving. This is exactly what meaning therapy attempts to achieve. Thus, clients can benefit from meaning therapy in two ways: (a) a personally designed treatment plan to address presenting problems and (b) a collaborative journey to create a preferred better future.

Selected Publications
  1. Wong, P. T. P. (1997). Meaning-centered counselling: A cognitive-behavioral approach to logotherapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 20(2), 85-94.
  2. Wong, P. T. P. (1998). Meaning-centered counselling. In P. T. P. Wong & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 395-435). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  3. Wong, P. T. P. (1999). Towards an integrative model of meaning-centered counselling and therapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 22(1), 47-55.
  4. Wong, P. T. P. (2000). Meaning of life and meaning of death in successful aging. In A. Tomer (Ed.), Death attitudes and the older adult (pp. 23-35). New York, NY: Brunner/Mazel.
  5. Wong, P. T. P. (2002). Logotherapy. In G. Zimmer (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy (pp. 107-113). New York, NY: Academic Press.
  6. Wong, P. T. P. (2004). Existential psychology for the 21st centuryInternational Journal for Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, 1, 1-3.
  7. Wong, P. T. P. (2005). Existential and humanistic theories. In J. C. Thomas, & D. L. Segal (Eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology (pp. 192-211). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  8. Wong, P. T. P. (2008). Meaning-management theory and death acceptance. In A. Tomer, G. T. Eliason, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), Existential and spiritual issues in death attitudes (pp. 65-87). New York, NY: Erlbaum.
  9. Wong, P. T. P. (2008). Transformation of grief through meaning: Meaning-centered counseling for bereavement. In A. Tomer, G. T. Eliason, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), Existential and spiritual issues in death attitudes (pp. 375-396). New York, NY: Erlbaum.
  10. Wong, P. T. P. (2010). Meaning therapy: An integrative and positive existential psychotherapyJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 40(2), 85-99.
  11. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Meaning-centered counseling and therapy: An integrative and comprehensive approach to motivational counseling and addiction treatment. In W. M. Cox & E. Klinger (Eds.), Handbook of Motivational Counseling: Goal-based approaches to assessment and intervention with addiction and other problems (pp. 461-487)West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
  12. Wong, P. T. P. (2012). From logotherapy to meaning-centered counseling and therapy. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 619-647). New York, NY: Routledge.
  13. Wong, P. T. P. (2013). A meaning-centered approach to addiction and recovery. In L. C. J. Wong, G. R. Thompson, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), The positive psychology of meaning and addiction recovery. Birmingham, AL: Purpose Research.
  14. Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2013). The challenge of communication: A meaning-centered perspective. In E. van Deurzen, & S. Iacovou (Eds.), Existential perspectives on relationship therapy. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  15.  Wong, P. T. P. (2013). Viktor Frankl’s meaning seeking model and positive psychology. In A. Batthyany & P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in existential and positive psychology. New York, NY: Springer.
References
  1. Adler, A. (2009). Social interest: Adler’s key to the meaning of life (C. Brett, Ed.). Oxford, UK: Oneworld. (Original published 1938)
  2. Armstrong, K. (2006). A short history of myth. Edinburgh, Scotland: Canongate.
  3. Aron, A., & Aron, E. N. (2012). The meaning of love. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.; pp. 185-208). New York, NY: Routledge.
  4. Asay, T. P., & Lambert, M. J. (1999). The empirical case for the common factors in therapy: Quantitative findings. In M. A. Hubble, B. L. Duncan, & S. D. Miller (Eds.), The heart and soul of change: What works in therapy (pp. 23-55). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  5. Batthyány, A., & Russo-Netzer, P. (Eds.). (2014). Meaning in existential and positive psychology. New York, NY: Springer.
  6. Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2012). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 505-516.
  7. Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  8. Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York, NY: Free Press.
  9. Breitbart, W. S., & Poppito, S. R. (2014a). Individual meaning-centered psychotherapy for patients with advanced cancer: A treatment manual. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  10. Breitbart, W. S., & Poppito, S. R. (2014b). Meaning-centered group psychotherapy for patients with advanced cancer: A treatment manual. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  11. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310-357.
  12. Cooper, M., & Dryden, W. (Eds.). (2015). The handbook of pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage.
  13. Cooper, M., & McLeod, J. (2011). Pluralistic counselling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Sage.
  14. Dezelic, M. S. (2014). Meaning-centered therapy workbook: Based on Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis. Coral Gables, FL: Dezelic & Associates.
  15. Elis, A., & Harper, R. A. (1998). A guide to rational living (3rd ed.). Chatsworth, CA: Wilshire Book.
  16. Emmons, R. A. (2005). Striving for the sacred: Personal goals, life meaning, and religion. Journal of Social Issues, 61(4), 731-745.
  17. Frankl, V. E. (1985). Man’s search for meaning (Revised & updated ed.). New York, NY: Washington Square Press.
  18. Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., & Pyszczynski, T. (1997). Terror management therapy of self-esteem and cultural worldviews: Empirical assessments and conceptual refinements. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 29, 61-139.
  19. Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2011). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The process and practice of mindful change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  20. Hicks, J. A., & Routledge, C. (2013). The experience of meaning in life: Classical perspectives, emerging themes, and controversies. New York, NY: Springer.
  21. Kashdan, T. B., & Ciarrochi, J. (Eds.). (2013). Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology: The seven foundations of well-being. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
  22. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 410-422.
  23. Kessler, R. C., & McLeod, J. D. (1985). Social support and mental health in community samples. In S. Cohen & S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health (pp. 219-240). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  24. Lambert, M. J., & Barley, D. E. (2001). Research summary on the therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 38(4), 357-361.
  25. McEvoy, P. M., Nathan, P., & Norton, P. J. (2009). Efficacy of transdiagnostic treatments: A review of published outcome studies and future research directions. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23(1), 20-33.
  26. Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press
  27. Ruiz, F. J. (2010). A review of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) empirical evidence: Correlational, experimental psychopathology, component and outcome studies. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 10(1), 125-162.
  28. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.
  29. Vos, J., Craig, M., & Cooper, M. (2015). Existential therapies: A meta-analysis of their effects on psychological outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83(1), 115-128.
  30. Wong, P. T. P. (1993). Effective management of life stress: The resource-congruence modelStress Medicine, 9(1), 51-60.
  31. Wong, P. T. P. (1997). Meaning-centered counselling: A cognitive-behavioral approach to logotherapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 20(2), 85-94.
  32. Wong, P. T. P. (1998a). Implicit theories of meaningful life and the development of the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP). In P. T. P. Wong, & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 111-140). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  33. Wong, P. T. P. (1998b). Meaning-centered counselling. In P. T. P. Wong, & P. Fry (Eds.), The human quest for meaning: A handbook of psychological research and clinical applications (pp. 395-435). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  34. Wong, P. T. P. (1999). Towards an integrative model of meaning-centered counselling and therapyThe International Forum for Logotherapy, 22(1), 47-55.
  35. Wong, P. T. P. (2009). Viktor Frankl: Prophet of hope for the 21st century. In A. Batthyany, & J. Levinson (Eds.), Existential psychotherapy of meaning: Handbook of logotherapy and existential analysis. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen.
  36. Wong, P. T. P. (2010). Meaning therapy: An integrative and positive existential psychotherapyJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 40(2), 85-99.
  37. Wong, P. T. P. (2011a). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52(2), 69-81.
  38. Wong, P. T. P. (2011b). Meaning-centered counseling and therapy: An integrative and comprehensive approach to motivational counseling and addiction treatment. In W. M. Cox, & E. Klinger (Eds.), Handbook of motivational counseling: Goal-based approaches to assessment and intervention with addiction and other problems (pp. 461-487). West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
  39. Wong, P. T. P. (2012a). What is the meaning mindset? International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, 4(1), 1-3.
  40. Wong, P. T. P. (Ed.). (2012b). The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge
  41. Wong, P. T. P. (2012c). From logotherapy to meaning-centered counseling and therapy. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 619-647). New York, NY: Routledge.
  42. Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (2013). The challenge of communication: A meaning-centered perspective. In E. van Deurzen, & S. Iacovou (Eds.), Existential perspectives on relationship therapy. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  43. Wong, P. T. P. (2014). Viktor Frankl’s meaning seeking model and positive psychology. In A. Batthyany & P. Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Meaning in existential and positive psychology (pp. 149-184)New York, NY: Springer.
  44. Wong, P. T. P. (2015). Meaning therapy: Assessments and interventionsExistential Analysis, 26(1), 154-167.
  45. Wong, P. T. P. (2016a). Integrative meaning therapy: From logotherapy to existential positive interventions. In P. Russo-Netzer, S. E. Schulenberg, & A. Batthyany (Eds.). Clinical perspectives on meaning: Positive and existential psychotherapy. New York, NY.
  46. Wong, P. T. P. (2016b, July). Self-transcendence: A paradoxical way to become your best. Presidential address for the 9th Biennial International Meaning Conference in Toronto, ON, Canada.
  47. Wong, P. T. P., Reker, G. T. & Peacock, E. (2006). The resource-congruence model of coping and the development of the Coping Schema Inventory. In P. T. P. Wong, & L. C. J., Wong (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural perspectives on stress and coping (pp. 223-283). New York, NY: Springer.
  48. Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York, NY: Basic Books.

PAUL T. P. WONG, PhD

President

Therapist, Supervisor, Educator

My ideal client is willing to engage in self-reflection, explore the deeper existential issues related to his/her predicament, and discover the pathways of actualizing his/her potential and dream. Such a client can be a new college graduate struggling for a better understanding of her self-identity or a senior questioning his life’s meaning. The issues I am best suited to addressing are both the dark sides of the human condition-such as depression, anxiety, anger, loss, suffering, and death-and the bright sides of personal growth and flourishing.

Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, CPsych, is Professor Emeritus of Trent University and Adjunct Professor at Saybrook University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) as well as President of the International Network on Personal Meaning and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. Editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, he has also edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning (1998, 2012). A prolific writer, he has authored/co-authored seven books and more than 300 book chapters and journal articles. He is also one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists in the world.

The originator of Meaning Therapy and International Meaning Conferences, he has been invited to give keynotes and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of the Carl Rogers Award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Div. 32 of the APA) and a member of a research group on Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life, which is funded by a major research grant from the John Templeton Foundation. His vision is to train psychologists, psychotherapists, and counsellors to gain the necessary clinical competencies to work with meaning in life issues.

Registration: 819 Ontario (since 1972)

Clients: Adults, couples, families

Delivery: In person, online, telephone

Languages: English, Cantonese, Putonghua/Mandarin

Intervention Approach: Integrative meaning therapy, also known as meaning-centered counselling and therapy—a pluralistic and evidence-based approach that combines treating problem areas and facilitating personal growth; it includes but is not limited to cognitive-behavioural therapy, humanistic-existential therapy, positive psychotherapy, and cross-cultural therapy. Click here to learn more about meaning therapy.

Intervention Areas: Resolving problems and predicaments, such as depression, anxiety, stress, pain, injury, abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, adjustment problems, relational difficulties, grieving, rehabilitation, mid-life crisis, aging, terminal illness, and existential crises; also facilitating the discovery and fulfillment of potentials for achieving personal growth and creating a preferred future.

Consultation Expertise: Meaning therapy, meaning-centered approach to positive management and positive education; second wave positive psychology (PP 2.0), existential positive psychology (EPP), servant leadership, meaning research, and collaborative research. Click here to read Paul’s curriculum vitae.

Lilian C. J. Wong, PhD, has over two decades of experience as a psycho-educational consultant and school psychologist in public school boards in Ontario and B.C., working closely with children, families, and teachers. Her roles involved assessment, diagnosis, counselling, and programming to facilitate students’ learning, behaviour, and well-being. She was also Associate Professor and School Counselling Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University (2001-2006) and Associate Professor of Psychology at Tyndale University College (2006-2009).

A recognized expert in her meaning-centred approach to play therapy and multicultural supervision, her research areas include cross-cultural psychological assessment, multicultural counselling, play therapy, resilience, moral and character development, emotional and social intelligence, ethical issues in counselling, and clinical supervision. She is co-editor of the Handbook of Multicultural Perspectives on Stress and Coping (2006), The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Spirituality (2012), and The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery (2013).

She has been in private practice for many years, specializing in children, adolescents and families. She has been invited to lecture and conduct workshops on grief therapy, play therapy, and counselling at conferences, universities, and community agencies. She travels worldwide with her husband, Dr. Paul Wong, speaking on meaning therapy.

Clients: adults, couples, families, adolescents, children

Delivery: in person

Languages: English

Intervention Approach: Play therapy and integrative meaning therapy, also known as meaning-centered counselling and therapy—a pluralistic and evidence-based approach that combines treating problem areas and facilitating personal growth; it includes but is not limited to cognitive-behavioural therapy, humanistic-existential therapy, positive psychotherapy, and cross-cultural therapy. Click here to learn more about meaning therapy.

Intervention Areas: Resolving problems and predicaments such as depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment problems, relational difficulties, grieving, and gender roles; overcoming some handicapping learning disabilities, ADHD, ADD, and behavioural and emotional problems; also realizing potentials for personal growth in areas such as academic/career planning, premarital counselling, marriage enrichment, quest for meaning and purpose, pathways to inner freedom and peace.

Consultation Expertise: Meaning-centered approach to psychotherapy and play therapy. Click here to read Lilian’s curriculum vitae.

LILIAN C. J. WONG, PhD

Vice-President

Therapist, Supervisor, Educator

LILIAN C. J. WONG, PhD

Vice-President

Therapist, Supervisor, Educator

Lilian C. J. Wong, PhD, has over two decades of experience as a psycho-educational consultant and school psychologist in public school boards in Ontario and B.C., working closely with children, families, and teachers. Her roles involved assessment, diagnosis, counselling, and programming to facilitate students’ learning, behaviour, and well-being. She was also Associate Professor and School Counselling Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University (2001-2006) and Associate Professor of Psychology at Tyndale University College (2006-2009).

A recognized expert in her meaning-centred approach to play therapy and multicultural supervision, her research areas include cross-cultural psychological assessment, multicultural counselling, play therapy, resilience, moral and character development, emotional and social intelligence, ethical issues in counselling, and clinical supervision. She is co-editor of the Handbook of Multicultural Perspectives on Stress and Coping (2006), The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Spirituality (2012), and The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery (2013).

She has been in private practice for many years, specializing in children, adolescents and families. She has been invited to lecture and conduct workshops on grief therapy, play therapy, and counselling at conferences, universities, and community agencies. She travels worldwide with her husband, Dr. Paul Wong, speaking on meaning therapy.

Clients: adults, couples, families, adolescents, children

Delivery: in person

Languages: English

Intervention Approach: Play therapy and integrative meaning therapy, also known as meaning-centered counselling and therapy—a pluralistic and evidence-based approach that combines treating problem areas and facilitating personal growth; it includes but is not limited to cognitive-behavioural therapy, humanistic-existential therapy, positive psychotherapy, and cross-cultural therapy. Click here to learn more about meaning therapy.

Intervention Areas: Resolving problems and predicaments such as depression, anxiety, stress, adjustment problems, relational difficulties, grieving, and gender roles; overcoming some handicapping learning disabilities, ADHD, ADD, and behavioural and emotional problems; also realizing potentials for personal growth in areas such as academic/career planning, premarital counselling, marriage enrichment, quest for meaning and purpose, pathways to inner freedom and peace.

Consultation Expertise: Meaning-centered approach to psychotherapy and play therapy. Click here to read Lilian’s curriculum vitae.

Testimonials
on therapy

Dr. Wong has been amazing to work with. His approach to therapy is unlike any other. He is very caring and pulls the very best out of people. I am very thankful for his guidance, wisdom, and support.

Durham P.

Therapy, 2017

Dr. Paul Wong is a very wise person—speaking with him is a throwback to a time when people cared about philosophy, qualities of a good life, finding purpose and exploring existential meaning. He is an expert in the field of meaning-centered counselling.

Ryan W.

Therapy, 2017

Thank you, Dr. Lilian, for helping me these four difficult years through my anxiety. I’m very thankful to have you in my life and always reminding me to be myself. You inspire me to do many great things. Thank you so much! Client

Therapy, 2017

Thank you, Dr. Lilian, for helping me these four difficult years through my anxiety. I’m very thankful to have you in my life and always reminding me to be myself. You inspire me to do many great things. Thank you so much! Client

Therapy, 2017

on supervision

Professor Paul is one of the best professors I’ve ever had in my life. He is an example of how to live a meaningful life.

Andy Bao, M.A.

Supervisee, 2017

on training

It was fantastic! There was still so much rich content. I so appreciate the holistic approach you and Lilian bring, acknowledging, encompassing, and embracing both tragedies and triumph. And what I am also grateful for, what possibly some of the other participants don’t know, is that this is not mere theory, but values that both you and Lilian live out. I am a witness and beneficiary of your kindness and gracious hope.

Dean Davey, Ph.D. Candidate

Vice President for Student Development, Pacific Life Bible College

It was truly a pleasure finally meeting you both. The presentation was well done and informative—kudos to both of you! Thank you so much for your time and for allowing me the opportunity to experience firsthand your wisdom and kindness.

Don Laird, M.S., NCC, LPC

Psychotherapist & Owner, Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates

It was a great exprience! I feel I have left rejuvenated and enriched by all of our sharings. I found the questions thought provoking and enlightening: very useful for me to strength my safe and effective use of self. Thank you, Dr Lilian, so much for this invaluable experience!

Stephanie Larrue, M.A., GD, CCC, RP (Q)

Counsellor, Capital Choice Counselling

Thanks again for hosting such a great weekend to explore meaning in life and Meaning Therapy at your Summer Institute. You are both very inspirational to us on many levels.

Scott McCready

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Mobile Health Network

Thank you SO MUCH for allowing me to participate in this wonderful weekend-long journey into meaning. I learned so much and plan on continuing to develop my coaching niche around the concepts and models you taught this weekend. With profound gratitude!

Karen Henry, M.A.

Owner, Henry Healing

Thank you for a terrific and re-affirming conference!

Ronald Seletsky, M.Ed., LSW, LMHC

Associate Director of Mental Health Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Tewksbury Hospital

Thank you for the great learning and sharing during this weekend.

Zheni Nasi, B.A.

Recent Graduate, York University