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Federation for Meaning & Mental Health


Dutch Federation for Meaningmaking & Mental Health (FMMH)



Arjan Braam (KSGV; SPR)

Gerrit Glas (SPR; FMMH ambassador)

Bart Gooijer (CVPPP)

Hanneke Schaap Jonker (KICG)

Rien van Uden (KSGV)

Piet Verhagen (SPR)


Established, 3 June 2016





Already for decades, professionals in mental healthcare have paid special attention to meaningmaking, in particular in a worldview perspective. Assorted psychologists, healthcare chaplains, psychiatrists, nurses, psychotherapists and adjunct therapists are interested in gaining and actualising appropriate knowledge for the benefit of patients from divergent target groups. Interest in worldview issues can also be observed in service users who are active in institutions and in the recovery movement. The Dutch attention to worldview issues is characterised by approaching them from a number of religious traditions. The worldview landscape in the Netherlands is multiform, and this fully epitomises the Netherlands.


Meaningmaking in a worldview perspective also plays a role when thinking about values underpinning professional functioning in mental healthcare. Historically, initiatives stemming from religious quarters have been decisive. The advance of secularisation has coincided with the worldview-linked determination of values becoming more implicit and private. Meaningmaking in a worldview perspective can, for instance, be involved in the development of mental health problems, can be influenced by psychiatric episodes, but can also play a vital role in psychiatric recovery. 


For that reason, a number of initiatives, coming from several worldview traditions and from divergent target groups, have been brought about in the Netherlands. The following associations, foundations and organisations are active:

·       KSGV (Knowledge Centre for Worldview and Mental Health, known of old as Catholic Study Centre for Mental Health) – since 1930 / 1972

·       Christian Association of Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists (CVPPP) – since 1989

·       Foundation Psychiatry and Religion – since 2000

·       Knowledge Institute Christian Mental Healthcare (KICG) of Eleos and De Hoop – since 2014.


An abundant interchange between these agencies has been in existence for many years already. Other institutions have become involved too, such as university departments, for instance in respect of psychology of religion, or where there is a concentration of research regarding pastoral and spiritual care.

This interchange is effectuated by involving each other in study days, conferences, publications and research. Hence, there is a network. The participants’ ranks and files, however, present dissimilarities, for instance in respect of religious origins as well as of professional disciplines.


A structural form of cooperation is desirable, for the benefit of each participant’s own revenue of study days and publishing activities, as well as for the benefit of legitimising the joint focus of attention, nationally and internationally. The participants take their strength from their prominent individual identities. Cooperation will have to pursue clear objectives. Cooperation takes place without losing one’s own identity. For these reasons, cooperation occurs in a federative connection. The federation itself has no authority, only an advisory voice with the participants.



The Federation’s Objective


The Federation’s primary objective is the increase in knowledge and the advancement of expertise in the area of meaningmaking in a worldview perspective in relation to mental health. This advancement of expertise has a scientific, often multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary character, fundamental as well as practice-oriented.

The Federation pursues the realisation of this objective in the following ways:

1.     nationwide visibility of the shared theme

2.     advancement of education and interchange about this between the participating organisations

3.     networking

4.     all agendas to be geared to one another

5.     publications to be geared to one another

6.     increasing international visibility.





In view of the underlying diversity within the Federation, careful thought has been given to a feasible, adequate name, because the terminology regarding meaningmaking, worldview, religion and spirituality is strongly fluctuating. After several consultative meetings with representatives of all the above mentioned participants, the choice was made for Federatie Zingeving & Geestelijke Gezondheid (FZGG) - in English, the name is Dutch Federation for Meaningmaking & Mental Health (FMMH).



Features of the participating organisations and agencies


Participating organisations and agencies (called core members) are explicitly working (a) in the area of worldview-linked meaningmaking / religion / spirituality, as well as (b) mental healthcare, from (c) a scientific viewpoint. New participants must meet these three criteria.

The primary responsibilities for the Federation are resting with the core members. New members can only attend meetings following a group decision.

Around this, federative cooperation is, in principle, flexible. Other participants (called guest members) are welcome, provided that they explicitly concentrate on the area of meaningmaking in a worldview perspective in relation to mental health, and have a scientific orientation. Core members and guest members must represent an organisation, agency or department, and do not participate in a personal capacity. If, in the future, a core member would cease to be occupied with all three of the Federation’s pillars, then the decision can be taken to change its status into that of ‘guest member’.



Actual core members and guest members


The core members giving shape to the Federation’s establishment are the above mentioned organisations: KSGV, CVPPP, Foundation Psychiatry and Religion, and KICG. As of 2019 there are three guest member.





The Federation MMH has a Steering Committee consisting of representatives of the various agencies. Some participants represent more than one agency. In the development stage (2014-2016) of the Federation, there is a rotating chairpersonship. As long as is possible, minutes will be taken by KSGV’s secretary-general. The minutes will chiefly contain a list of actions to be taken, with the agreements regarding activities and the division of tasks until the next meeting.

In the development stage, the Federation is not an independent legal entity. For each agreement, the participating parties assume responsibility within the mandate of the board per participating agency.

The Federation’s core members and guest members contribute primarily by means of time, for meetings, mutual fine-tuning, and other networking activities. The investment for the participating agencies, in terms of time and work load, should in principle be manageable, in order to avoid financial risks. In as far as expenses have to be incurred, for instance for the website, venues for meetings, and practical arrangements, the core members will contribute proportionally. In the meetings, the core members and guest members discuss time investments and financial contributions, and see to a spread of efforts and burdens according to reasonable criteria. 

If the Federation would instigate larger initiatives, such as symposia or congresses, it then will appeal to one or more of the core members or guest members to act as a legal entity.



First activities


The Federation will meet about two times per annum, where necessary and where possible using video links. Fixed agenda items at the meetings will be the mutual fine-tuning of study days and symposia, development of the Federation, e.g. regarding the website, benefits for the paying members of CVPPP and KSGV, and the provision of information.