"Languaging" factors affecting clients' acceptance of forgiveness intervention in marital therapy

Mark H. Butler, Samuel K. Dahlin, Stephen T. Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Forgiveness is a significant intervention for healing interpersonal injury. Yet therapists do not often use forgiveness intervention. Employing a semantic perspective and a survey design (n = 307), this study investigated whether the language used to rationalize forgiveness intervention (set at five levels: personal growth, relationship reconciliation, spiritual issue, others' growth, and pardoning/condoning) may affect its acceptability. Gender, problem type, and choice were also included in the analyses. Overall, forgiveness was found to be an acceptable intervention. A pardoning/condoning rationale led to significantly lower acceptability ratings. Other results are discussed. We conclude that therapists should be less apprehensive about using forgiveness, but need to inform themselves better concerning its purpose, process, and articulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2002

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