The problem under investigation was a gap in the research literature resulting in insufficient insight into and understanding of the lived experience of people who have undergone forgiveness therapy as a counseling intervention. This basic interpretive qualitative study begins to deepen the insight into the forgiveness experience by presenting and interpreting the data obtained by interviewing 11 individuals over the age of 40 who have undergone counseling to try to resolve a personal conflict. The findings revealed that for each individual the forgiveness process was a difficult, complicated, non-linear journey. Although the actual experience was unique to each individual, all participants were motivated in some way to let go of unforgiveness and find freedom from the stress caused by the transgression, and all participants experienced an energy exchange as they tried to navigate a path fraught with obstacles to forgiveness. Participants reported struggling, for example, with anger, rumination, and, in some cases, adverse health responses while employing a variety of means of coping as they meandered at their own pace toward forgiveness. Counselors may wish to note that forgiveness as a therapeutic intervention seemed to aid in the forgiveness process for some people who were eventually able to shed their distress and experience forgiveness, while others had not yet been able to move on from a state of unforgiveness. Several individuals reported that going through the forgiveness process relieved them of various physical ailments. A powerful connection among unforgiveness, forgiveness, stress, coping, and physical health emerged from the findings, suggesting continuing research.
|Advisor:||Worthington, Michael T.|
|Commitee:||Hilliman, Charlyn A., Nelson, Kimberly|
|Department:||School of Human Services|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School counseling, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Counseling, Forgiveness, Forgiveness therapy, Intervention, Unforgiveness|
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