"What we do is train mental health professionals with a foundation in psychology, philosophy, and theology to be able to have an understanding of the human person, marriage and family - and we needed to encapsulate that," Tappel noted.
"It's really exciting that we are launching during the Year of Mercy, which is something that is definitely providential, because we are paying special attention to the theme of mercy, what we need as humans, and what the meaning of suffering is," she said.
Unlike many other psychology programs, Tappel believes Divine Mercy University sets itself apart by tackling the deeper, anthropological questions of the human person in light of Catholic faith.
The university can go above and beyond the limits of modern psychology because of its roots in the Catholic-Christian definition of man, she said. This understanding approaches the healing of clients from a holistic vantage, rather than the typical symptom reduction treatments or the "nearsighted band-aid approach."
In contrast, Tappel said, the Divine Mercy psychology and counseling programs explore how a human person can flourish in the midst of suffering by focusing on the deeper questions every human person has, such as: 'Who am I?' 'What is suffering?' and 'How do I attain true happiness and freedom?'
"Our program is very unique because of that aspect," she said, adding that students spend their time learning psychology through the lenses of philosophy and theology, in addition to their rigorous academic and clinical work.
Looking forward, Divine Mercy University hopes to expand their reach in other areas, such as offering certificate programs for those who do not need a degree program.
"It is our responsibility to be able to go out there to reach and train solid, mental health professionals with a Catholic-Christian view of the human person," Tappel stated, saying their mission has been encouraged by the positive responses they have already received.
"Divine Mercy University really signifies the willingness and openness to the responsive demand of human suffering," she continued, adding "we are looking forward to what the future will hold for us and for our place in society."