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Psychotherapy: theory, research, practice, training.

Forgiveness has become an increasingly prominent in psychology over the last twenty to thirty years. Along with a growing body of theory and research, a number of interventions aimed at promoting forgiveness have been developed. These applications often focus on identifying and processing one's own feelings regarding the offense as well as developing empathy for the offender; they include techniques such as journaling, letter writing, group role plays, and empty chair techniques.

Wade, Johnson, and Meyer sought to evaluate the concerns about utilizing these forgiveness interventions. Specifically, they addressed the idea that discussing forgiveness will communicate judgment and further victimize the client; Wade, Johnson, and Meyer suggested that this difficulty can be avoided by exploring each client's ideas and perspectives on forgiveness rather than imposing one's own ideas--just as how and ethical therapist would interact with a client around sexuality or some other controversial topic. The theorists also noted that evidence suggest that clients are generally open to discussing forgiveness.

In a similar manner, Wade, Johnson, and Meyer also addressed the concern that promoting forgiveness will encourage clients to reconcile with hurtful people. they noted that in discussing forgiveness with clients, it is important to provide psychoeducation that forgiveness and reconciliation do not automatically forgiveness and reconciliation do not automatically go hand in hand. Wade, Johnson, and Meyer encouraged further research into both of these areas.

Wade, Johnson, and Meyer also discussed concerns that therapists may not have enough training to use forgiveness interventions or that such interventions are simply not helpful for clients in therapy. In addition, they addressed concerns that there is not enough time within therapy to utilize such interventions, that such discussions will invoke religious or moral imperatives, and that such discussions will reduce anger needed to propel people to work toward societal change. Like the topics noted above, Wade, Johnson and Meyer, reviewed literature both directly and indirectly relevant to these topics in order to address these claims. Again, they concluded that although forgiveness research shows a moderate degree of development, further research is needed in specific areas like those discussed above.

Wade, N.G., Johnson, C.V., & Meyer, J.E. (2008).

Understanding concerns about interventions to promote forgiveness: A review of the literature Vol. 45 (1), 88-102

Further readings:

Batson, C. D., & Raynor-Prince, L. (1983). Religious orientation and complexity of thought about existential concerns. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 22, 38-50.

Francis, L. J., & Payne, V.J. (2002). The Payne Index of Ministry Styles (PIMS): Ministry styles and psychological type among male Anglican clergy in Wales. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 13, 125-141.

Hansen, N. D., Pepitone-Arreola-Rockwell, F., & Greene, A. F. (2000). Multicultural competence: Criteria and case examples. Professional Psychology: Research and Pratice, 31, 652-660.

Klaassen, D. W., & McDonald, M. J. (2001). Quest and identity development: Re-examining pathways for existential search. The International Journal for the Phychology of Religion, 12, 189-200.

McCullough, M. E., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (1994). Models of interpersonal forgiveness and their application to counseling: A review and critique. Counseling and Values, 38, 2-14.

Swartz-Kulstad, J. L., & Martin, W.E. (1999). Impact of culture and context on psychocial adaption: The cultural and contextual guide process. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77, 281-293.

Wade, N. G., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2005). In search of a common core: A content analysis interventions to promote forgiveness. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 42, 160-177.

Ware, R., Knapp, C. R., & Schwarzin, H. (1989). Prayer form preference of Keirsey temperaments and psychological types. Journal of Psychological Type, 17, 39-42.

Witten, T.M. (2004). Life course analysis: The courage to search for something more: Middle adulthood issues in the transgender and intersex community. Journal of Human in Behavior in a Social Environment, 8(3-4), 189-224.
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Title Annotation:JOURNAL FILE
Author:Wade, N.G.; Johnson, C.V.; Meyer, J.E.
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2008
Words:621
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