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Vol 22, No 1, Article 5: PDF

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Self-Forgiveness Therapy and Clients’ Changes in Perceived Responsibility: Marilyn A. Cornish

Abstract: Self-forgiveness may be a useful treatment goal for clients whose actions have hurt others (i.e., for clients who have committed an interpersonal offence or transgression). Theoretical conceptualizations of self-forgiveness stress the importance of accepting responsibility as a precursor to genuine, ethical self-forgiveness. The current study therefore examined clients’ (N = 21) changes in perceived responsibility for an interpersonal offence that was the focus of self-forgiveness counselling. Average perceived responsibility did decrease during counselling, but correlations with observer-rated responsibility suggest clients accepted a more reasonable amount of responsibility following counselling. 38% of participants decreased in self-perceived responsibility during the self-forgiveness program. Review of the interpersonal transgressions that were the focus of counselling suggests that decreases in perceived responsibility may be clinically appropriate for some clients.
Key Words: self-forgiveness, counselling, psychotherapy, responsibility, interpersonal transgressions

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