Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Abstract

Problem: Although the concept of forgiveness is very old, it has not been systematically studied until fairly recently. As forgiveness therapies and the empirical study of these therapies continue to emerge, the question of the counselor’s own sense of religiosity and forgiveness has not been considered. This study looked at the religiosity of counselors/psychotherapists and how this influences the degree to which they have forgiven an individual who has hurt or offended them, as well as whether a counselor’s religiosity influences their willingness to encourage a client to forgive someone who has hurt or offended them.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to add to a counselor’s understanding of his or her role in the counseling relationship and how the counselor’s role influences this relationship. It also was designed to enhance the practice of psychotherapy.

Method: Because this study examined the relationship between the independent variable (religiosity of the counselor) and the dependent variable (willingness to encourage forgiveness), a correlational research design was employed. This research looked at the overall concept of religiosity and its relationship to willingness to forgive and encouragement to forgive.

Results: This study looked at the relationship of counselor religiosity and its effect on forgiveness and reconciliation as it relates to the practice of counseling. The quantitative portion found that there was no statistical relationship between a counselor’s religiosity and his or her own willingness to forgive an offender, and that there was no statistical relationship between a counselor’s religiosity and his or her own willingness to reconcile with an offender. Qualitative analysis found that the more religious a counselor believed him or herself to be, the more apt they were to encourage forgiveness of an offender. It was also found that the more religious a counselor believed him or herself to be, the more apt they were to encourage reconciliation with an offender. The qualitative portion also found that counselor willingness to reconcile with an offender did not play a role in encouraging a client to reconcile with an offender, and if a counselor recommended forgiveness he or she was also more likely to recommend reconciliation.

Subject Area

Counselors--Religious life, Forgiveness--Religious aspects, Counselor and client

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