MRM emphasizes a philosophy and guiding approach for delivering holistic, relationship-centered care in practice. A holistic philosophy creates the foundation for the theory and paradigm. Primarily created by Dr. Helen Erickson, a nurse, MRM requires the nurse to listen to the clients’ perspective, identify their ability to cope with life events, and create relationships that have healthy affiliated-individuation; and co-partner with them to plan, implement, and evaluate care accordingly. The goal of MRM is to facilitate clients’ growth, development, and healing.

"All people want to be the best they can be."

(Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain, 1983)

Start Practicing MRM

There are many resources available to get oneself started. They include but are not limited to: reading MRM books and chapters, researching various references, contacting MRM experts, and querying both academic programs and health care agencies that teach and/or utilize MRM.

The MRM Logo

The MRM logo offers a visual image and symbol of the key components of MRM theory. The meaning of the symbol is described by Dr. Helen Erickson.

About the Society

The Society for the Advancement of Modeling and Role-Modeling was established at the University of Michigan in April 1986. The society sponsors biennial conferences and retreats and publishes a quarterly newsletter.

Today, MRM serves as one of the extant theories for holistic nursing.

The theory has provided the framework for numerous dissertations, several research studies, and clinical practice. Holistic nursing is recognized as a specialty by the American Nurses Association with certification available through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory

(MRM; Erickson, Tomlin & Swain, 1983)

MRM is best depicted as a grand theory encompassing numerous mid-range theories. MRM has been applied in a variety of clinical practice settings, educational programs, and research.

All people are alike in some ways and different in other ways. Some commonalities exist among people as holistic beings, including their basic needs, developmental stages and drive for affiliated-individuation. Differences among people include their genetic endowment, unique model of the world and how they adapt to stress.

Purpose of the Society

The purpose of the Society shall be to advance the development and application of the theory, Modeling and Role-Modeling, by:

  • Promoting the continuous study and integration of the theoretical propositions and philosophical foundations through research, practice and continuous education;
  • Developing a network for the support, stimulation and growth of the membership through newsletters, conferences and membership meetings;
  • Disseminating knowledge and information through conferences and publication of conference proceedings;
  • Addressing society needs by contributing to improvement of health care through proactive promotion of holistic health.

Adopted at Chartering Session, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan, April 1986.

Helen L. Erickson

Creator of the Theory of
Modeling and Role-Modeling

Educational Background

  • 1957 - Diploma
    Saginaw General Hospital School of Nursing
  • 1974 - BSN
    The University of Michigan
  • 1976 - MS in Psychiatric and Medical-Surgical Nursing
    The University of Michigan
  • 1984 - 1984: PhD in Educational Psychology
    The University of Michigan
    Dissertation: Self-Care Knowledge: Relationships Among the Concepts Support, Hope, Control, Satisfaction with Daily Life and Physical Health Status.

Clinical Background

  • Emergency Room and Medical-Surgical Nursing: Texas, Michigan
  • Director of Health Services, InterAmerican University, San German, Puerto Rico
  • Independent Holistic Nurse Practitioner: Michigan, South Carolina, Texas
  • Faculty/Administrator: The University of Michigan, University of South Carolina, The University of Texas
  • Professor Emerita: The University of Texas
  • Board of Directors: AGE, TX; AFAR, NYC, NY ; ANCC, TX; MH Erickson Foundation, AZ

Honors And Awards

  • 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, The American Holistic Nurses Association
  • 2012 Holistic Nurse of the Year, The American Holistic Nurses Association
  • 1997 Helen L. Erickson, Endowed Lectureship of Holistic Healing, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 1996 Fellow, The American Academy of Nursing
  • 1996 Honorary Lifetime Holistic Nursing Certification, The American Holistic Nurses Association
  • 1995 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 1993 Nominated to Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing, Excellence in Education
  • 1990 Faculty Teaching Award, The University of Texas at Austin
  • 1989 Phi Kappa Phi Membership
  • 1982 Amoco Foundation Good Teaching Award, The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  • 1990 Sigma Theta Tau International (Rho Chapter) Award for Excellence in Nursing