Chapter

Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness in Psychotherapy 

Margaret R. Holmgren

in Before Forgiving

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145205
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848607 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195145205.003.0007
Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness in Psychotherapy 

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This chapter argues that genuine forgiveness and self-forgiveness are always morally appropriate and desirable goals of psychotherapy for those clients who are willing and able to achieve these states. It is always desirable for the therapist to help his or her client work through the process of addressing the wrong. Once this process is sufficiently complete, but not before, it is also always desirable for the therapist to help his or her client reach a state of genuine forgiveness or self-forgiveness. This chapter starts with a brief examination of the moral parameters of the therapist–client relationship. There is also no conflict between counseling and global moral concerns in the area of forgiveness. The chapter argues that when a client has suffered or perpetrated a wrong, the first concern of the therapist must be to help him or her work through the process of addressing that wrong. It is concluded that genuine forgiveness and self-forgiveness are always appropriate goals of psychotherapy for those clients who are willing and able to obtain these states.

Keywords: genuine forgiveness; self-forgiveness; psychotherapy; therapist–client relationship; counseling

Chapter.  12851 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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